3 easy animation activities for kids

Animation activities for children
Making your own animations needn’t be a daunting prospect – creating simple but effective animations with even the most basic artistic skills has never been easier! Children (and parents!) can have great fun making up characters and seeing them come to life, and the brilliant results might just surprise you! Trevor Young, author of animated eBook Galdo's Gift, has tips to get you started.

Stop motion is a way of creating a movie from a series of still photographs. There are many free apps nowadays that can help you do this which are easy to use and only require a phone or a tablet; once you’ve found one, here are some great activities you can do.

Create coloured paper movies

Cut up bits of coloured paper that will become the arms, legs, body, head, etc. of your characters. They can be very basic shapes and you can have fun making up crazy characters by placing various parts together on a table top. 

Use your animation app to take a photo of your table top scene.

You might find it helps to weigh down or use masking tape to stick a page to the table that will contain your scene; this is because you can line up the corners of the camera image with one or more corners of the page containing your scene to keep the framing of each photo consistent. This stops the whole scene from jumping around when you play back your movie!

After you have taken your first picture of your scene, move the coloured paper pieces slightly and take another shot. Keep doing this until you have taken ten images or so, then play back your mini movie using the play button in the app.  

Try making a playdough movie

Coloured modelling clay is fantastic for stop motion animation – you have the fun of creating weird and wonderful characters and then seeing them move about! 

Once again it is helpful to have something on the tabletop to help you frame your photos in a similar way for each shot. Creating a stage set from a cardboard box is a great way to do this: just a cardboard box with a hole cut in the side with the interior covered in paper can become the beginnings of some scenery/stage for your characters. It also helps as a guide for positioning your camera view to more closely match up each photo.

Become your own animated movie

That’s right, you can create a stop motion movie with almost anything, including yourself! 

Using the stop motion app, try taking a photo of someone standing upright with their feet together. Then, keeping the camera as still as possible, get them to move just a little bit to one side and put their feet together again and then take another photo. Repeat this about ten times and then play it back on the app and it will look like they can magically move across the floor without moving their feet! 

There’s lots of fun to be had bringing objects to life. Clothes can animate out of the wash basket, cups and saucers can chase each other across the table top... let your imagination run wild!

Free animation resources for kids

Itching for more? Go to www.galdosgift.com/cool-stuff for some fun animating activities which use the characters from the new children’s book Galdo’s Gift. You can access video guides, printable PDFs and links to a brilliant free animation app.

Animate It, Aardman Animations' website, offers free videos, free animation prop kits and links to the Animate It! software, £29.99.

Galdo’s Gift is an interactive children’s book, which is now available from the iBooks store for £6.99.