Animation making – an activity for the school holidays
Schools out! The summer holidays are upon us and there are 6 and a half weeks to fill up. No doubt there will be ups and downs to come including times of boredom.
We’ve been reminded by the school that the most important thing to do over summer is play. Parents, carers and kids everywhere will be looking for more ways to keep this time fun.
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I was pleased Toothy came up with an idea for a creative activity for the first day; making a stop motion animation with toy figures. The script and dialogue have been written and the first few scenes set up. There will be twelve scenes in all apparently, but the plan is to pace himself over the next few days.
This is a relatively simple activity to accomplish. If you want to try it:
You will need:
- A child!
- A camera or camera phone
- Some toy figures
- Everyday objects for props as needed
- A computer and animation software (optional – see step 7)
Step by Step Guide – animation activity for kids
- Allow your child to set up a simple scene involving a few toy figures.
- Set up a digital camera or camera phone in a static position. You don’t need a fancy camera, any will do. The important thing is to try to keep it still. Don’t worry if you don’t have a tripod, you can prop it up on some books or just on the floor. Keeping the camera on a flat surface will also prevent blur in low lighting.
- Take a photo, check all the figures are in view and you all like the way it looks. Depending on your child’s age they can get involved in taking the photos and setting up the camera too.
- Now your child can move one of the figures by a small amount, for example extending an arm. The larger the movement the jerkier the final animation will be. But that’s ok we are not looking for perfection!
- Make sure the child (or household pets – see below) is out of the picture and take a photo.
- Repeat step 4 with further movements of the figures and step 5, taking a photo after each move. Keep going until a short story or interaction between the figures has taken place.
- Now for the slightly trickier and less fun bit, but it’s worth it. Download the photos on to a computer and convert the images into an animation. There are a few methods to do this, have a look around to find the software that suits your computer or preference. For example, you can use Photoshop to create a Gif. More simply and for instant entertainment for the kids you can use the tab or scrolling wheel on the camera to create a quick animation effect.
Tips for making your animation
- You may want to make a plain white background, but we have found furniture can represent mountains and villains headquarters pretty well.
- You can use all kinds of everyday objects depending on your child’s willingness to suspend disbelief. The water bottle is a portal – er obviously.
- Though optional, writing a simple script and thinking about dialogue will help the children to think about how to tell a story and to decide the ways they want to get the characters moving.
- Problems to look out for include, the camera getting knocked out-of-place and people or pets straying into the image:
Have fun! Have you got any ideas for creative activities to keep the kids and adults from going crazy over the summer? Please share in the comments below!
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