12 Classic Must Have Props For Your Summer Kid Photos

So…. suddenly it’s August. How did that happen!?! Summer is flying by, like we knew it would, like it does every year.

We can’t stop the passage of time, but we can embrace the moments while they are here. Not in that condescending ‘cherish every moment’ way that induces guilt and anguish in every real mom doing her best to keep it together on a daily basis, but in a way that says ‘when the awesome happens and everyone is happy and having fun, soak it in and smile until the next meltdown, argument or scraped knee’. Even better, while you soak it in with a smile on your face, grab your camera and capture the fun.

Kids have an amazingly creative way of finding and making fun - it happens on it’s own. But there are few summertime classics you can provide to create magical photographable moments. Here are my top 12 classic ‘props’ to provide great fun, bonding moments and sweet photo opps.

Bonus for my Toronto peeps – some ideas on where to get stuff!

1.    Bubbles. Cheap, easy, classic, fun. For toddlers, go big or go home with the Fubbles No Spill Bubble Machine – continuous bubbles with a no spill risk! You can get it at Mastermind Toys

2.    Garden hose and sprinkler. Let them loose with this one. Just keep your camera out of the trajectory and use your zoom lens instead!

toddler-boy-playing-in-sprinkler-toronto-family-photography

3.    Fruit! Cover snack time and fun time in one fell swoop. Watermelon is the classic – but don’t discount your citrus fruits and your tropicals!

4.    Sand toys. At the beach or in the sandbox, a sandcastle is a classic. Get fancy with the adorable Mayan pyramid and Taj Mahal castle shapes from Balafant Boutik in midtown. 

boy-on-beach-with-sand-toys-toronto-family-photography

5.    Flowers. The perfect pretty accent. Try a single wildflower, wrap a bunch together for a headpiece or spring for a posy from Quince Flowers in Toronto’s east end or Willem & Jools in the west end.

6.    Swimming goggles. Adorable. Always.

girl-in-pool-with-goggles-toronto-family-photography

7.    Wagon. Great on a garden path or the sidewalk. Go for wood or metal for more of the retro look! Check out Indigo for a selection - they are so much more than books these days!

baby-boy-in-wagon-toronto-baby-photography

8.    Balloons. Who doesn’t love balloons? Get classy and spring for the helium ones – and get some extras in case of pops. Treat yourself right and get them delivered from downtown Toronto's Balloon Queen. They have a zillion different colours to choose from so you can perfect your palette with bold and bright hues, or go pretty with neutrals and pastels. They even custom print and stuff balloons! So you can use your imagination!

family-with-balloons-toronto-family-photography

9.    Ice cream and popsicles. Nothing says summer like a cold treat. Perhaps a backyard shirts-off drip fest, or maybe a trip to the local ice-cream truck for soft serve. For ridiculously gorgeous frozen treats, visit one of the three Toronto locations of Sweet Jesus (east side, downtown or midtown), order your heart out and have a getaway car ready to book it to the beach or backyard or urban alley for some snaps! 

girl-with-icecream-truck-toronto-child-photography

10. Balls. In whatever format, they’re a basic. You can get balls just about anywhere! I prefer plain, unbranded balls for photos – and I love the feel of the Hedstrom play balls, but hey, anything goes!

toddlers-with-toy-balls-toronto-child-photography

11. Scooters or Bicycles. However your little one prefers to ride – it’s a rite of passage. Check out iconic toy shops Scooter Girl Toys in the west end and Treasure Island Toys in the east end for a sweet selection if your kiddo needs a first set of wheels!

boy-on-balance-bike-toronto-child-photography

12. Hats. The perfect summer accessory! Try this straw beauty from Advice from a Caterpillar, or check out Little White Sneakers for second-hand designer finds.

boy-in-hat-by-grafitti-wall-toronto-child-photography

Next step? Collect a couple of your favourites above and have them at the ready for when the time is right. Try a ‘Photo-Go-Box’ by the backdoor. Make sure you camera is ready to go too (full batteries, empty memory card).

So now that you’ve got all the ideas for classic summer photos, you may be wondering how to get better at actually photographing the moments! One great place to start is with my FREE Guide – 6 Reasons Your Photos of Your Kids Are Blurry (And How To Fix Them!). Grab it here.

Now, just go out and enjoy the moments! No excuses because practice makes perfect and you can always try it again if the first time fails or gets hi-jacked by sudden snack requirements, urgent sprints to the potty, a scraped elbow or one of the many other possible kid and toddler distractions.

Finally, share the love. Send this post onto every other mom you know who would love to slow down and capture the moments. Then hop onto Instagram and Facebook to post your magical pics! Use the hashtag #funlove_bettersnaps and tag the awesome establishment that sold you your perfect props!

Three, two one - go have fun!

Heather Davidson-Meyn

Fun Love Photography, Toronto, Canada

Heather is an internationally renowned family, baby and child photographer offering a luxurious and complete experience for those looking to capture and preserve their memories. She is also a connoisseur of coffee, bicycles and warm socks.