Q: What if My Kids Can’t Sit Still?

posted in: Photography | 3
I’m thinking of scheduling a portrait session for my children but am a little concerned because of their age — I’m not sure I’ll be able to bribe them to sit still or even cooperate. Is this a problem, should I hold off on the portraits for a while until the kids can handle sitting still?

— Mother of 3 Tots

This is a valid concern, honestly. But, not to worry! My style of photography allows me to work with kids that don’t sit still, as well as the ones that don’t always smile when they’re supposed to. Remember, it is a little different for your kids when you bring them into the studio, so you can expect for them to be more excited/active/shy than usual. I am used to being around kids and photographing them — after all, I do have 6 nephews and a niece! So, even if your portrait session isn’t the most peaceful experience in the world, things will be fun, and we will be successful in creating great portraits of your children.

Still not convinced? Well, let me explain a little further. Some things to keep in mind — candy etc. works well as a bribe — but save the treats for after the session. We don’t need the extra sugar when working with an already active child. Rather than trying to force your kids to sit still, which I know can be tough — I often work with them on the move. It allows them more freedom to express their personality, which usually makes for better pictures. Oh, and don’t worry about that not smiling part. I have several tricks up my sleeve that tend to work very well.

In answer to your question, whether you should hold off on having your portrait created: I don’t think you need to deprive yourself of these memories. Kids love new experiences, and I will do my best to make their portrait session fun and stress-free. Who knows, the sooner you get them into our studio, the sooner they may want to come back!

If you are still concerned about your children’s ability to cooperate for even one of our more relaxed portrait sessions, then by all means, please let me know. There are some choices we could make in regards to your session (e.g. choose a location they are familiar with) that may make the experience easier on your children. Above all, I want both you and your children to be looking forward to your portrait experience!

Capturing Your Stories

posted in: Notes | 0

Imagine your life without pictures, or other visual imagery. What would it be like? Well, besides not being able to share photographs with distant relatives, you wouldn’t really know what a place looked like without being there. Photography has modernized the world by allowing us to document life — and more particularly, to help us document our family memories. Without images, instead of pulling out a picture of your kids or loved ones, you’d have to try to describe them. Imagine how much trickier that would be (he’s got brown hair,… blue eyes…). Thankfully, we do have visual aids and photographs to help share our world with others. Read More

Crafts + Activities to Keep Your Kids Entertained!

posted in: Parenting | 0

crafts and activities: easy ideas to keep kids busy - betsy's photography - http://bphotoart.comSo we were watching “Super Nanny” on TV the other day, and I realized that some of these parents don’t realize how important it is to play. Isn’t that one of the best parts about being a kid?

Getting to play, whether outside or inside, is related to many of my favorite childhood memories. Of course, along those same lines, getting to make things, or create, is equally important.

Maybe that’s why I became a photographer — I love the process of creating. At any rate, I’ve compiled some ideas for you that might help you in a pinch if you need ways to keep your kids occupied. Some will depend on how messy your kids are, of course — so do plan for that in advance!

Make Your Own Play Dough

If you have flour and salt on hand, then you’re probably equipped for this project. Depending on the age of your kids, why not let them help MAKE the play dough before they play?

Chances are they’ll love it even more than just playing with the store-bought or pre-made stuff.  I made play dough with my boys, and we didn’t even bother to put food coloring in it. They like it “plain.”

You can also make store bought play dough colors “stretch” further by taking some of your plain play dough and blending it with those tiny colored packages for even more fun.

Don’t have a recipe? Get play dough recipes here.

Make Popsicles

This is another easy activity that your kids will probably enjoy. Making popsicles can be as complicated (or simple) as you want it to be. Just make sure you have some popsicle molds!  We found a set of silicone popsicle molds ad used them to talk about diversity (the popsicle molds were all different colors, but inside they were all the same).

Anyways, from there, you can let your kids make lemonade popsicles, pineapple-orange juice popsicles, or even yogurt popsicles.  My kids enjoyed making applesauce popsicles the other day as well.

If your kids want to make something more creative, why freeze different layers (colors,flavors) into the popsicles!

Make a Map

Get out the crayons or markers and start drawing! Maybe your kids could make a map of the backyard, or if they’re a little older, they could do something a bit more ambitious — like make a map of your neighborhood!

You can even suggest they explore or make “excursions” to the places they’re mapping out — so that they don’t forget the best places!

Make Board Games

If your kids love to play boardgames, why not encourage them to make up their own? It can be based on the traditional board games, or even something more original! Make sure to provide your kids with lots of craft materials, like cardboard, colored paper, and maybe even some clay so that they can sculpt the board game pieces or dice.

An old shirt box, once decorated properly will make a great place to store the new board game and its accessories. Next time you have game night, make sure to pull out the new addition to your collection — your kids will be so proud!

Make a Meal

If your kids are a little older (and responsible), why not teach them how to cook? It could be something simple like a favorite dessert, or they’re ready, even a batch of pancakes (make sure to be careful around the oven and stove).

While it’s up to you to decide what your kids are ready to make, they’ll probably love helping make meals if you can make it fun! Of course, desserts also call for decorations, which most kids particularly enjoy doing.

More Resources

If you’re looking for some crafty websites, why not try a few of these websites…they look promising! And remember, if you run out of ideas, it can’t hurt to ask your kids’ opinions!!

Things to Do This Summer!

posted in: Local | 0

School is out for the summer (or will be soon) — and in case you’re thinking, “now what?” — we’ve got some ideas that will help keep boredom at bay.  Need activity suggestions? We’ve got resources. Want to find something to do as a family? yup, there’s ideas for that. Looking for an online educational game? Check.

We’ve even listed some outdoor activity sites (state parks, trails, and more), as well as some local resources if you’re in the Ann Arbor area. Yes, that includes Dexter, Chelsea, Manchester, Saline, Ypsilanti, and even a little something for Tecumseh. So go on, take a look — and prepare to have a blast this summer!

First of all, why not stop by Homeschool.com to find out 101 Things to do this Summer. Don’t worry, most of them don’t involve “school” — there are things like “Make an Obstacle Course in Your Backyard” (#32), “Have a Picnic” (#2), and even, “Become a Photographer” (#7). What a great resource! If you get through all 101 things, be sure to let me know!

Child Portrait at Mill Creek Park Playground

Activity Ideas

If you are still having trouble finding things to do or looking for something the whole family can enjoy together? Check out these resources that have activities and ideas for having fun!

  • About.com’s Summer Arts & Crafts for Kids. Make big bubbles, Find a recipe for playdoh, and get inspired with more ideas on how to use those art supplies you have around the house!
  • FamilyFun.com has ideas for you! Arts + Crafts, parties, recipes, games, and more! You can even search the site by age group, or by your child’s interest (e.g. princesses, barnyard pals).
  • Kaboose has summer craft ideas, outdoor games and activities, recipes, and more — visit their Summer Guide to get started.
  • DIY has some neat craft ideas, so if you’re stuck indoors or need a quick activity, this might be a good rescue activity!

Online Fun

While I was looking for these resources, I also found some websites that are interactive, educational AND fun.

  • PestWorld for Kids is all about pests, what they are, how to avoid them, and even games and e-cards.
  • Black Holes: Gravity’s Relentless Pull lets you journey to a black hole, and see the night sky in different ways. You’ll learn about the different objects in our universe, and whether they are visible with x-rays, visible light, and/or radio waves.
  • Mouth Power is an interactive site about taking care of your teeth. You’re bound to learn a few things as you complete activities to “earn your teeth.”

Outdoor Fun

Of course, there is always the option of spending time outdoors. While these sites will require you to spend some time indoors (mostly planning), the main focus is to get outside and to experience the world around you.

  • Michigan State Parks — with around 40 state parks, Michigan has plenty of opportunities for you and the family to enjoy yourselves outdoors. Use their “Find a Michigan State Park” feature to search by county, campground type, or activity (e.g. biking, fishing, picnic, wildlife). Also, consider the Explorer Program, where you’ll be able to learn about forests, insects, night hikes, animals, and more.
  • Trails.com is a resource that will let you search trails and trail maps in Michigan — depending on the type of outdoor recreation that you’re interested in. Whether it’s hiking, biking, or fishing, you’ll be able to find some great trails!
  • Beyond Your Doorstep with Peter Schriemer is a great site — your kids will learn stuff about backyard critters and animals, be able to play games, color — and with your help, complete some outdoor activities that will increase their understanding of the wildlife around your home.

Local Resources

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