|by Sean O'Neill||Travel Gear, Travel Photography, Family Travel||17|
Help your child become more engaged in your family's vacation by lending them a camera of their own to play with. Kids will savor having their own point of view. And picture-taking will pull them away from their portable game consoles, engaging them in the experience that you're all supposed to be sharing. Here are some tips to enhance the fun.
Keep nagging them to wear the wristband. Don't feel guilty about insisting. They'll drop or forget the camera otherwise.
Buy a Gorillapod for your kids. This clever camera tripod has twisty legs that latch onto anything from fences to car doors to help keep the camera steady for better shots. Your kids will probably think it's fun to adjust the squishy, Gumby-like legs. Kids often have jump hands, so this will help them take steady photos—especially helpful when taking shots of animals in motion. joby.com/gorillapod, recently $7 on Amazon.
Encourage your kids to try unusual views and angles. Demonstrate for them some unusual ways to take photos, such as putting the camera on the ground of an airport underneath a seat looking out a the passengers in the terminal. These surprising angles may make your kids become more aware of their surroundings and could unleash their creativity.
Prod them to photograph other children. Depending on their age, your child may need a push to ask other children encountered on a trip if he or she could take their picture. This is a hassle that's worth it, though, for the potential bonding moment. If your child has a digital camera with an LCD screen, the picture can be shown right away. This picture-sharing is a way of breaking down social barriers and helping children build confidence to talk with peers their own age.
If your child really takes to photography, think about buying a camera as a gift. For under-7s, consider the Fisher-Price Kid-Tough Digital Camera (from $47; Amazon) It has kid-friendly side grips, a two-eye viewfinder, and waterproof casing.
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