August 17th, 2011 at 5:00 am
Have I mentioned how much I love digital photography? When my stepkids and twins were little, I was still dealing with film and developing and lots of terrible pictures. I used to take the bad ones, paste them on cardboard and cut them up into puzzles, just so I wouldn’t waste them.
Digital cameras changed all that for me and my two youngest kids. Now I can take thousands of pictures and do all kinds of fun things. We just got back from a three-week road trip that included visiting my stepdaughter, who is a keeper at Zoo Atlanta. We got to visit up close behind the scenes, so I took tons of photos.
Here are a couple of fun, easy ideas I came up with that will let you use your favorite images in creative ways that your kids will love.
Homemade Jigsaw Puzzle
I did this in photo shop with a great set of brushes available for free from Obsidian Dawn. I just downloaded the brushes, added them to my photoshop brush folder and used the full jigsaw template to literally stamp the puzzle on top of my photo. Print it onto some card stock, cut it out and you have an instant puzzle of your child’s favorite animal.
Not that comfortable with Photoshop? Just print this blank jigsaw template onto a piece of card stock, then put it back into your printer and print your photo on top. Same results.
Animal Match Game
Mix and match is a great teaching game. Here’s my version. Print several pictures of animals. Then zoom in and crop a particular part of each animal and print those photos as well. In this case, I chose feet, but you could use ears, tails, eyes, noses or even skin patterns. Again, this works better when you print on card stock. Spread your cards around and have your child match the feet with the animal. For a bigger challenge, turn the pieces face down.
This was always a family favorite. My kids loved the goofiness of seeing their sibling with rabbit ears or a zebra tail. Print several photos on card stock, including one of your child(ren). This works best if the images are the same size and roughly the same proportion. Cut each image into thirds and then let your child create all kinds of imaginary beings.
These games are inexpensive and easy to make. You can repri
nt them when become tattered and, best of all, they’re portable. Put the pieces in a zip-lock baggie, stick them in your purse and you’ll have easy fun on the go. Having a well-stocked bag of tricks was always key to keeping my kids quietly busy in waiting rooms, cars and even restaurants. With more and more businesses banning young children, this kind of quiet entertainment may be one way you can keep your kids, business owners and other patrons all happy. Have fun.