There are many great things you can do with photographs. If you have lots of family snap shots laying around the house, or want some creative projects to encourage a budding photographer; there is lots you can do with those pictures to keep them from languishing in an old shoebox or forgotten computer file.
Many online printing companies allow you to print pictures very inexpensively. Some will even include an offer for free prints. This is a great way to not only see if you like the quality of the printing, but to get some photos for the following projects.
Create Your Own Board Games – For a real creative activity why not create your own family board game? You could base it off of a game you are familiar with and personalize it to fit your family or your hobbies. You never know, it might catch on! For Christmas this year we created a family edition of “Masterpiece” an old board game where you buy/sell and auction famous art pieces. We replaced all of the art with 4×6 photos of our family, special events in our lives and art projects we have made. On the back we wrote a catchy title, caption and who took the picture. To make the pictures more artistic we applied some artistic photo editing effects such as “oil painting” and “Pencil Drawing” This is perhaps one of my favorite Christmas presents ever!
There are many different board games you could use your own pictures with. You could crop pictures of family and friend’s faces and print them off to fit the Guess Who? Game board. You could make a family friendly version of Clue by creating your own characters and weapons and crime such as trying to figure out which family member took the last cookie. You could also cut out pictures of your family members faces and glue them onto a colored character markers and create a “Master Set” you can use with any board games that requires you to keep track of where you are going on a board.
Family Tree/History Card Game – This one is my Dad’s creative idea – thanks Dad! We have been trying to sort through my Grandfather’s old family photos and it has been a challenge and a lot of detective work trying to figure out who is in the pictures.
My Dad suggested that if you want your family to know about their history, why not make a Family History card game? You can have pictures of extended family and on a label on the back write down who they are, how they are related, the age they are in the picture ( if you know) and any fun facts you know about that person – especially relationships. For a Bonus write down where that family member is from.
The players can take turns holding up pictures for each other (Go in a circle) So that one person sees the picture and the person holding it sees the information. Have the player who sees the picture roll a dice. This is the amount of points they are playing for. See if the can guess/remember who the person in the picture is. If they need help have the person holding the picture read off the facts, giving a chance to guess after each. For older children or after you have played the games several times allow the person guessing to ALSO guess the facts on the back and give one point for each they remember. For bonus points, see if the person guessing can also guess/locate the place the person in the photo was BORN on a world map.
Altered Artwork – Have photos that didn’t print properly? Or extra photos you want to get artistic with? You can use photos as a canvas for other artwork. The easiest way to do this is to print off some of your own photos that you have converted to black and white with a photo editing tool. These can then be painted or colored. This is an easy project even elementary school students can do. You can also print off your own pictures and use Mod Podge to decorate a picture frame, binder cover or any surface you like.
Teens who are very interested in photography and art may enjoy Mixed Emulsions: Altered Art Techniques for Photographic Imagery by Angela Cartwright. She offers many different projects you can do with photos as a base. Quite a few of them require special paints and equipment, but even just flipping through the book gets the creative juices flowing, it is a book I often turn to when I feel stuck in my photography and writing because of her powerful and inspiring images.
What do you do with your old Photos? Please share your projects below!