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You've probably noticed that Montessori schools tend to use real life photos whenever possible - especially in books and activities.

This is because young children are usually more interested in real life images rather than cartoons.

They want to see images and hear stories about things they can experience, see, and touch.

More than anything, most children love looking at photos of people and places that are meaningful to them - pictures of you, your family, their home, school, playground, etc.

That's why we use family photos for a number of different activities in our at-home program. As Katie always says in the program, if your child is not interested in an activity, think about how you can make it meaningful for them.

Family photos are a great way to do that. You can teach counting, sorting, reading, fine and gross motor skills - all using family photos.

Below we've put together a short list of activities you can do with family photos but you can really use them in so many other ways.

8 Fun Activities You Can Do With Family Photos* BONUS most of them are great for travel

1. Hide them under peg puzzle pieces or behind construction paper flaps.

2. Play matching or memory games with the photos.


3. Add photos into a small photo album as a travel activity. Better yet, use new photos that your child hasn't seen before. These soft photo albums are great for travel or as a stroller attachment.

BONUS - If you're going to visit someone, you can add photos of them to the album too. This can help them feel more comfortable with new faces or people they haven't seen in awhile.

4. Use real photos of your family and home to make routine cards. We have this set but to make the steps even more meaningful, you can use real photos of your child/home for each step in the routine - using the toilet, getting ready for bed, going to school, etc.

BONUS - if your child is struggling with starting a new school or daycare, it can be helpful to add a picture of their teacher or school to the routine steps. It creates predictability and can make them feel more comfortable with the routine.

5. Laminate printed photos and turn them into puzzles.

6. Tape photos around the room for a gross motor activity.Ask your child to find the picture of a certain person, i.e. "Can you find grandma?"

7. For emerging readers, print out the names of people to go along with photos and practice matching written names and pictures. This is such a wonderful activity for reluctant readers. There's nothing more special than reading the names of people important to you.

8. Sort people by household. Sorting is an early math skill and this activity is great for developing sorting and problem solving skills.