Looking for some low-cost photo props for your children’s photos? Then these 3 DIY props might be just the ticket. Making props like these will not only save you money, but it is also a great way to creatively engage your children in a project you undertake together. So without further adieu, here are my three picks for essential kids photo props.

The best props are adaptable and allow freedom of imagination. You can use them again in a hundred different ways because they rely on the vast and growing imaginations of your children and you.

1. Blackboards

Kids says the darnedest things! And if you’ve ever found yourself in hysterics thinking “I should write this down, it’s prime material,” well, here is your chance. Adding a blackboard to your photo gives you the opportunity to add text, so don’t hold back, let the one-liners and wisecracks roll (and keep the photos in the cupboard for the 21st)! If you’ve got babies or toddlers, blackboards are also a great way to express the things that they cannot, whether it be “I love my daddy” or “I just pooped myself”, so creating blackboards in the shape of thought bubbles or speech bubbles is a handy idea for the very wee ones.

Child with Blackboard

To make a blackboard, all you need is a base – this can be a scrap piece of plywood or even some thick cardboard – and some blackboard paint, which you can pick up for a few dollars at craft stores or online. Shape the base into any form you like, paint it with the blackboard paint and leave it to dry completely before drawing on it. Other craft supplies like pompoms and pipe cleaners can be used to create colourful borders and decorations – why not make a crafternoon of it with the kids?


2. Cardboard cut-outs.

Cardboard  cut-out characters! Just cut out various character-related shapes and use sticky-tape or craft glue to attach them to sticks (bamboo skewers will do just fine). Let the kids help decide what shapes to make – perhaps “what-you-want-to-be-when-you-grow-up” masks could be fun, or if in doubt, stick with the classics: monocles, top hats, bow ties, tiaras, moustaches, the list goes on. Again, if you’re feeling crafty, you can paint and decorate them (even use some of the blackboard paint to keep costs down).

Child with Moustache

Cutting out hats is another way to elaborate your characters – let your son bring out that moustachioed, be-monocled pirate within, or your daughter the bejewelled cowgirl; there are no barriers. Using props like these lets you create stories and share them with your friends and family through photographs, so get right amongst playtime with the kids (because, let’s face it, everyone looks good in a pirate hat)!


3. Chalk on the pavement

When I was a kid, all of the children in my neighbourhood would get together, divide ourselves into teams and create treasure hunts that followed clues written in chalk mapped across the whole town. We’d follow arrows into the fish and chip shop and through Mr Pollock’s garden and into some shrubbery and usually end up back where we started. The first team to find the treasure at the end of another team’s clue trail was the winning team. Of course, the game was rigged, everybody cheated and the only prize was the prestige of (highly disputed) victory. Still, the excitement of adventure that became possible through chalk drawing has stayed with me, so much so that I can’t walk past a hopscotch outline without having a jump.

Drawing with chalk on the pavement is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to make an imaginative backdrop for your kids photos. You can even let the kids do the drawing and then photograph them with their creations. The best chalk backdrops, in my opinion, are those which take you to another world: landscape drawings. If this sounds like it is beyond your artistic range, remember that even a simple outline of a cactus and some messy shrubs will suffice to make a dessert. And some wavy lines and a simple boat will take you to the ocean.

Boy Painting with chalk

Whether you end up running from wildebeests, sailing the Indian ocean, calling “Superkid to the rescue!” or having a tea party with the Mad Hatter, let your stories overflow with imagination. Let a day of dull photoshooting become a day of storytelling, drawing and dress-ups, because one day these will be your children’s memories of adventure.



PosterCandy can help you tell your story with collages of your final photos. Click on the link to our homepage to find out how.