School’s out for the summer—which means it’s a great time for you to share your photography obsession—err, passion—with the little ones in your life. But how do you teach elementary kids about photography before they’re old enough to understand backlighting and the rule of thirds? And perhaps even more importantly, how do you make it fun? The youngest kids might not be able to grasp big concepts—but you can teach them how to use a camera and the basics of composing a photo. We’ve scoured the web to find the best six activities to teach little ones just how much fun photography can be.

Seek and ye shall photograph

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Scavenger hunts are a lot of fun, but they are even more fun with a camera involved. Instead of having the little ones bring back the item, have them take pictures of them with a kid-friendly camera (i.e. one that’s durable enough to be dropped or one that’s old enough you won’t be upset if it breaks). Practice makes perfect and searching for objects to photograph is a fun way for little ones to learn how to use a camera. If the weather’s nice, take the game outside.

C is for camera

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If you like the idea of a scavenger hunt but don’t have the time to put together a list, add a little twist by asking kids to photograph any objects they find that start with a certain letter. Or, you could also have them look for one item for each letter of the alphabet. If your little ones are a bit too young to know their alphabet, ask them to photograph anything they find that’s a certain color.

Frame it up

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You don’t even have to have a camera to teach kids some of the basics of photography—if you have an empty picture frame, you can teach them about composition. If you don’t have one handy, you can make your own from cardboard or sticks. Tell the little ones that composition is deciding what to include in the picture. Give them the frame and have them frame different things they see. Since it’s easy to see what they are framing this way, you can help guide the older ones with some basic ideas like not centering everything.

Take teddy bear portraits

teaching photography to kids bynicolasbufflerImage By Nick Buffler

Portraits or landscape are a big part of photography—get you little one started by taking portraits of their favorite stuffed animal. Depending on their age, you can help teach them basics like getting the eyes in focus and not cropping off limbs awkwardly. But if they’re a little young for those concepts yet, you can still have fun seeing how many pictures you can get of Teddy in different places.

Learn how the camera works with a DIY pinhole

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There are a lot of DIY cameras out there, but not too many that are easy for kids to understand that have the added benefit of not requiring film. Now this camera designed by Highlights for Kids doesn’t actually take pictures, but displays the image on waxed paper and is a great project for the inquisitive how-does-it-work kids. You can find the full instructions here.

Enter a photography contest

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Often, the easiest way to make something fun is to add an element of competition, so why not introduce kids to the world of photography contests? National Geographic Kids has one and winners are featured on the children’s version of their website. Local county fairs also often accept entries from youngsters in photography.

One of the best ways to connect with a little one—whether your own or a friend’s—is to share your passion and teach them something new. But learning doesn’t have to be boring, and when it comes to photography, it shouldn’t be!

What about you? At what age did you learn photography?

Feature Image by Muha