Camera Chain Letter: Social Skills and Letter Writing Activity

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The other day I was cleaning out one of the many junk drawers in our home. I rediscovered a lot of curious and random things, most of which ended up in the recycling/trash. However, included in my findings were 2 disposable cameras that I remember purchasing awhile ago. My initial impulse was to pitch them; after all, I don’t even know where to have the film developed (It turns out that Walgreens, CVS, and stores like that still develop film cameras.) but I figured if I kept them, my son could have them to play with. Coincidentally, later that day L asked me about chain letters, and as I explained the concept to him his eyes grew bigger with excitement at the idea of starting his own chain letter (NOW I see how they get started!).
 Camera Chain Letter Social Skills and Letter Writing Activity Helping Children to Feel Connected

Camera Chain Letter: Social Skills and Letter Writing Activity

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I suggested we use the disposable cameras to start a photographic camera chain letter activity. We would start the chain by mailing the camera to his cousins in Vermont, ask them to take ONE photo and then mail it off to someone else (who would then also take ONE photo and send the camera on). In the envelope, we included a self-addressed envelope as well as a sheet of paper where participants can share their contact info and what they photographed so that when we get the camera back in our hands we can share the photos with all who were part of the chain. We are super excited to see how far our camera will travel!

* We recently became aware of “scary chain letters” and “scary chain texts”. We do not think that this type of chain letter is helpful for children so PLEASE KEEP IT POSITIVE! 

 **Update: The Camera Chain Letter was a huge success with all the cousins!

Target Skills for a Camera Chain Letter:

  • Building connections
  • Perspective Taking
  • Following Directions
  • Letter Writing

Materials for a Camera Chain Letter:


Instructions for a Camera Chain Letter with a Disposable Camera:

  1. Take a great photo with the disposable camera.
  2. Put the camera and a self-addressed padded envelope in a box.
  3. Include directions to take one photo and pass it on to somebody else, and to send the camera back to you when all of the photos have been taken.
  4. Include a list for people to write their contact info so that you can see where your camera has been and also so that you can share the photos with them once you get the camera back.
  5. Write a letter to go with the camera. This is a good way to practice letter writing skills.
  6. Mail the packet off to a friend.
  7. When you get the camera back, develop all of the pictures to see where your camera has been! Then write letters to everyone and include a picture from the chain.

Instructions for a Camera Chain Letter with a Digital Camera:

  1. Take a great photo with the digital camera.
  2. Email the picture to a friend.
  3. Include directions to take one photo and pass all the pictures you received along with a new photo on to somebody else. Cc everyone who has already taken a picture for the camera chain letter.
  4. Write a letter to the person who sent you a photo. If you start the chain write a letter to the person to whom you sent the picture. 
  5. Once the chain has ended collect all the pictures and make a collage.
 Camera Chain Letter Social Skills and Letter Writing Activity Helping Children to Feel Connected

Ways to Extend this Camera Chain Letter Activity:

  • Have a class or group of children take the pictures then have them guess who took which picture.
  • Write stories about each other’s pictures.
  • Arrange with a “sister class/school” to have each class from the different places take the pictures then trade them with each other.
  • Have a video chat with each other, discuss the photos.
  • Start a camera chain letter where each child takes a picture of a facial expression. Then make a photo collage.
  • You could also try a Sticker Chain Letter. It’s a great way for younger children to feel special and connected.


Camera Chain Letter Social Skills and Letter Writing Activity Helping Children to Feel Connected


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