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Focus on fun with phones; Help your family discover another use for their mobile phones and have great fun at the same time.

KIDS these days seem almost permanently attached to their phones - so what about putting them to good use instead of taking endless selfies or tapping out tons of texts? They could use their phones for a fun family activity that will click with everyone!

A photo scavenger hunt is a great way to get the kids engaged outdoors and interested in the world around them, and help them become a better photographer too.

We have all heard about scavenger hunts but what's different about a photo scavenger hunt is that instead of collecting the items on a list, you take a photo of them instead. Then you can even print them to create a memory book of the adventure or, even, have them framed to use as gifts (depends just how good those photos are!).

It promotes creativity with the technology they love and will work wonders in enhancing their observation skills, their appreciation of their surroundings and build bonds.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED: A CAMERA phone or camera, scavenger hunt list, pen or pencil, watch or timer, laptop, iPad or another device for viewing photos, prize or snack for the winning team (or person).

WHAT TO DO: YOU can have a photo scavenger hunt anywhere, a park, the beach, a hiking trail or campsite, or even your own back garden.

The aim of the game is to be the first to find and photograph the most items on the list within a given time, perhaps 20 minutes.

Choose a location and then make your list of what you want - or you want the children - to look out for (If children are taking part in teams ensure it is even so ages etc, are mixed).

Create your list and print it out (or write it down). You can make it easier for younger children: a stone, a leaf, a bird and more difficult for the older ones, a smooth flat stone, a leaf with two or more colours, a sparrow, and so on If you are on a hiking trail it could include animals or animal footprints, or you could be more specific and say, fox footprints.

Award points for each item found and two points for more difficult things to find, like a cloud shaped like an object, ants carrying food, a reflection of a sunset on water, and so on You can suggest kids take photos of the strangest thing they see, or something common that they think no-one will recognise. And don't forget a tally sheet for keeping score.

It is always an idea before you set off to go through a few instructions from how to use the camera or gadget, to keeping together.

AND BEGIN MAKE sure all children return to a given spot at the allotted time. If you have a laptop or iPad with you, upload the pictures straight away so everyone can see them and discover what they have found.

Comment on each photo and ask the child who took a particular photo to talk about it, what it is, what they liked about it, how easy it was to photograph.

Encourage the children's curiosity and imagination by asking questions: if you were a bird in this picture where would you fly? Check off the items and award points for each photo. Be consistent - if you can't tell what it is, no points!

As children progress in photography skills, you can suggest searching for people or animals doing things, like a woman walking a dog, a child running, a person talking on the phone. Or choose a colour theme: a red door, a red balloon, a red gate, etc.

So, time to get snap-happy.

CAPTION(S):

Get them taking photos of things besides themselves

Time to have a little snap chat with the family - get them to turn the phone round and see the world
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Feb 2, 2017
Words:643
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