Stop motion animation is an ingenious way to encourage active play through technology, while fostering creativity and strengthening literacy skills. Through this activity, your child tells stories using their favorite toys. They need to think about things like setting, character development, and sequencing.
Even children as young as preschool age will love getting in on the action! And it's easy for them to do.
You don't need much to get started. Just your favorite toys, a tablet device or smart phone (make sure it has a camera), and a free app. You can get really creative and make a background or piece one together from other toys around your house. Once your kids are bitten by the 'movie producing' bug, you'll be amazed what they come up with!
For this movie, we used Topozoo dinosaurs. Created from 3-D materials by Geared for Imagination, these 3D puzzles invite creative play and are perfect for storytelling.
Here's a quick start guide for introducing your child to stop motion animation:
STEP ONE: Download a Stop Motion App to your tablet or smart phone. There are many free and low-cost apps on the market. We used Stop Motion Studio, a free app with several paid enhancement options.
STEP TWO: Talk to your child about stop motion animation -- the art of using still images to create a moving story. To tell a story, you have to move inanimate objects in small increments and snap a photo of each movement.
STEP THREE: Select which toys you'd like to use and come up with a story. It's helpful to write out the steps in the story, but not necessary.Our five-year-old kid producer decided to make a movie about dinosaurs making friends. She created a story line where an Apatosaurus and T-Rex are playing ball. The Stegosaurus comes over and wants to play, too -- but the other dinosaurs are worried his spikes will break the ball. He is sad and leaves. Then the Apatosaurus has a brilliant idea to play a game everyone can play. So they call the Stegosaurus back and all play hide 'n seek.
STEP FOUR: Create a backdrop for the movie. We used a cardboard display board and construction paper to create a jungle scene -- complete with volcano. Younger kids may need some assistance but older kids can take the background idea and run with it! They may even want to put their toys in costumes.
STEP FIVE: Assemble the first scene. Line-up your device so it's on the same level as your scene and frame. You'll take pictures directly in the app, so launch the app and use your camera to line-up the show.
STEP SIX: Show your child how to take a photo using the app. Move the toys slightly and take another photo. Continue to move the objects and snap photos until your child understands the process. Then let them go! You'll be amazed what they come up with.
STEP SEVEN: Using the app, add music, titles and effects to your movie.
Don't forget the most important part of the storytelling adventure -- the premier party!