Using Photography to Entertain Your Kids While Camping and Exploring the Outdoors

A mother and her son take photos together on a walk outside during their documentary family photo session.
A mother and her son take photos together on a walk outside during their documentary family photo session.

Using Photography to Entertain Your Kids While Camping and Exploring the Outdoors

Camping and outdoor adventures offer the perfect opportunity to bond with your family and immerse yourselves in nature. But keeping kids entertained, from kindergarteners to teenagers, can sometimes be a challenge. Using photography as a tool not only engages them creatively but also helps them develop a love for capturing and appreciating the beauty around them.


In this blog post, we’ll explore fun and educational photography activities that will keep your kids entertained during your camping trips and outdoor adventures.



Introduction: The Magic of Outdoor Photography


There’s something magical about the great outdoors that captivates both kids and adults alike. Introducing your kids to photography while camping or exploring nature can be a fantastic way to keep them entertained and engaged. It encourages them to look closer at their surroundings, sparks their creativity, and can even turn into a lifelong hobby. Plus, it’s a great way to get them off their screens and focused on something other than asking, “Are we there yet?” every five minutes.


Here are some fun photography activities tailored for kids of all ages to enjoy on your next outdoor adventure.

  1. Photo Treasure Hunt: Adventure for All Ages


A photo treasure hunt is a fun and interactive way to get your kids excited about photography. It’s simple to set up and can be tailored to suit different age groups.


For Younger Kids:

  • Simple Lists: Create a list of items that are easy to find, such as a flower, a bird, a tree, or a rock. Bonus points if they can find a rock that looks like a famous person.
  • Visual Aids: Use pictures alongside words for kids who are not yet reading. Because we all know they’ll just ask you what it says anyway.
  • Group Activity: Pair them up with an older sibling or an adult to help them find and photograph the items. Sibling rivalry can work in your favour here.


For Older Kids and Teens:

  • Detailed Lists: Challenge them with more specific items, such as a butterfly on a flower, a unique leaf, or an animal track. They’ll enjoy the challenge, and you’ll enjoy a moment of peace.
  • Themes: Introduce themes like “shapes in nature” or “colours of the forest” to make it more challenging. Let’s see who can find the most “interesting” shade of green.
  • Competition: Turn it into a friendly competition with prizes for the most creative or the highest number of items found. Nothing like a little healthy competition to keep the peace.
A child looks over a list of a camping scavenger hunt. Photo by Shirley Sullivan.
Photo by Shirley Sullivan
  1. Nature Photo Challenges for Young Explorers


Nature photo challenges are great for encouraging young kids to explore and appreciate their surroundings. These challenges can be both educational and entertaining.


Colour Hunt:

  • Objective: Find and photograph items of different colours in nature.
  • Learning Aspect: Teaches kids about colours and encourages them to look closely at their surroundings. Also, it might just keep them occupied long enough for you to enjoy your coffee.

Shape Hunt:

  • Objective: Search for and photograph natural objects that resemble specific shapes, like circles, squares, or triangles.
  • Learning Aspect: Helps with understanding shapes and develops observational skills. And gives you a break from the endless “What shape is this?” questions.

Texture Hunt:

  • Objective: Capture photos of various textures, such as smooth stones, rough tree bark, or soft moss.
  • Learning Aspect: Introduces kids to different textures and enhances their tactile learning. Plus, you get to hear them argue about whether that moss is “really” soft.
  1. Storytelling Through Photos for Creative Minds


For kids who love storytelling and creativity, using photography to create stories can be a captivating activity.


Photo Stories:

  • Objective: Take a series of photos that tell a story. It could be a day in the life of a squirrel, the journey of a leaf down a stream, or an adventure with their favourite toy.
  • How-To: Encourage them to plan their story, decide on the “characters,” and think about the beginning, middle, and end. Just be prepared for some truly epic (and occasionally bizarre) tales.

Photo Journals:

  • Objective: Create a photo journal of the camping trip, documenting each day’s activities and discoveries.
  • How-To: Provide them with a notebook where they can print and paste their photos, adding captions or short descriptions. This way, you’ll have a beautiful record of your trip and a handy reminder of what you actually did.
A teen girl sits on the grass with soccer balls experimenting with photography.
  1. Teen Photography Projects: From Landscapes to Wildlife


Teenagers might enjoy more sophisticated photography projects that challenge their skills and creativity.


Landscape Photography:

  • Objective: Capture the beauty of the natural environment, focusing on landscapes and scenery.
  • Tips: Teach them about the rule of thirds, leading lines, and framing to enhance their composition skills. Just don’t be surprised if they start critiquing your own photos.

Wildlife Photography:

  • Objective: Photograph animals in their natural habitat.
  • Tips: Encourage patience and quiet observation. Discuss the importance of respecting wildlife and keeping a safe distance. Also, remind them that sneaking up on a bear for the perfect shot is a terrible idea.

Macro Photography:

  • Objective: Explore the tiny details in nature, like dew drops on a spider web or the intricate patterns on a leaf.
  • Tips: Use a macro lens or the macro mode on a camera or smartphone to capture close-up details. Teens will love the “cool factor” of seeing nature up close.
  1. Sharing and Displaying Their Work


After your outdoor adventure, take time to share and celebrate your kids’ photographic achievements.


  • Family Photo Night: Host a photo night where everyone can showcase their favourite shots from the trip. This can double as a much-needed night in.
  • Photo Albums: Help kids create a photo album or scrapbook of their best pictures. These albums can become cherished keepsakes.
  • Online Sharing: Share their work on social media or family group chats, giving them a platform to receive positive feedback. Just be ready for the inevitable flood of “likes” from doting grandparents.
  • Photo Gifts: Turn their best photos into personalized gifts, like calendars, mugs, or wall art. Perfect for those moments when you have no idea what to get grandma for her birthday.
Photo by Shirley Sullivan

Conclusion: Capture the Adventure


Using photography to entertain your kids while camping or on outdoor adventures is a win-win situation. It keeps them engaged, helps them develop new skills, and provides you with a collection of beautiful memories.


From photo treasure hunts to storytelling projects, there are endless ways to make photography fun for kids of all ages. Plus, it might just buy you a few minutes of peace and quiet.


Enjoy your time in nature and happy photographing!

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Paula Gerein Photography

Documentary photography for families and businesses of Edmonton and Central Alberta, Canada. Available for travel.


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