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Teaching Animation to Kids !!! Help!

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Teaching Animation to Kids !!! Help!

there is a children's film festival happening later this year. the organizers have asked us to participate in spreading awareness about animation to children of different age groups.

We have volunteered our services.

I was wondering if anyone here had ideas on how we could go about making the program interesting, appealing and informative.

We have 45 minute sessions x 6 days with a different age group each day.

theyre gonna hate animation......:P

lol nah im still in school, but id reccommend staying well away from the technical side of animation for the younger folk, maybe something where you can see results really quickly, like really simple stop motion with maula (sp?)
or jus moving flat pieces of paper around yknow, that sort of stuff

just my opinion, 45 mins isnt a lotta time...

You should talk to someone with a degree in education. They should have a lot of insight into the mind of a child.

Stop motion is definitely the way to go. Jointed action figures, basic clay puppets, or cutout under down-shooters all will work well.

Do a brief demo, and emphasize things like small movements=slow motion and big movements=fast motion. The biggest thing with kids is they spend so much time setting up their next frame, and they think it means they've shot more actual footage than they have. You CAN'T emphasize it enough.

Yeah, I've done a couple of school-age workshops... :D

DSB id like to know a little more.

point simply is to give children an opp to maybe create something even if it is a simple bouncing ball or something that is ideally coming from them.

I'd also go for stop motion. 45 min. is really really short. Maybe you could prepare some cut-out figures or clay-puppets that they can move. A bouncing ball will be too difficult I think. Puppets are more interesting for kids.

I always do a little demonstration like DSB, make sure they understand that they have to move the objects little by little.

Also make sure they can see the result immediately. That makes it much more fun and it will help them to control the speed and timing. I teach them to animate at 8 frames/second. It makes it easier to control and grasp, also it's less work and it still looks fluent enough.

Take 5 is my favorite PC-program for animation workshops, it has onion-skin and is very easy to use. Monkeyjam is not as good, but free. For Mac there's Boinx.

School-age kids are more interested in seeing their work at the end than any of the principles of animation. They don't care if it's good, as long as it moves. Like I said, give a demo that shows what they need to do - move the characters/props, shoot a frame; rinse and repeat, then play back. The large versus small movement coaching is so they end up with something that looks relatively good, but if you show them the difference and they insist on moving stuff large distances every time, let them. They'll see the results when you play back the whole thing.

I did a workshop last year where the backgrounds kept falling over and the camera was kicked and moved at least twice. The twitchy backgrounds and abrupt camera angle changes didn't seem to bother the kids at all - they just loved watching their little clay creations move around.

Drop me a PM if you have any other questions - happy to help!

exactly the principle i was hoping to follow. get the kids to do something, however crude and let them see what they have done. unfortunately i dont have any clay-stop motion experience.

my team will primarily be a traditional animator group

If you're not comfortable doing clay characters, then do a down-shooter with cutouts. Your kids will have more fun with clay though, so maybe do some tests and figure out what works and what doesn't for your presentation. Kids relate better to clay because they've used it before, and most are familiar with dolls and action figures, which clay characters approximate.

Keep the characters relatively small (under three inches tall), keep the bulk of the weight in the character low, and give the limbs a reasonable amount of thickness. You won't need an internal skeleton or any tiedowns if you follow (and tell the kids to follow) those few rules. Think "Gumby"...

Give it a shot; you may find you like it! :D

Be ready to draw them a quick sketch of some popular characters. I was in the middle of a careers presentation when a kid to the left asked for spiderman. It really gets their attention how fast and well you can draw. That's about all I know on the subject of kids...

Don't underestimate the power of simplicity. The ball bounce is a pretty good exercise, getting anything to move that they've done or that you've done in front of them is more exciting than it seems. Don't mistake their silence for boredom.

Great point about being able to draw something fast. It never fails to wow a kid when you blaze out a decent drawing in about two minutes.

If they can be working at the same time as you, that may be a good approach, but may also be distracting. If they can walk away with something in their hands, that helps. This could be something they did--a drawing, a flipbook--or something informational in nature, a how-to.

Even if they learn to draw one thing that doesnt' move while they're with you, that could be cool.

Cartoon Thunder
There's a little biker in all of us...

You can also make 2D animation in clay, just like cut-out.

here's what it can look like...

some seriously good input here. appreciate it. however clay and cutouts dont seem like something i could pull of, simply coz ive never worked with them. anyway i am busy with the film project and this is pure volunteer work so i cant take too much company time out. but i really want to do something of interest for the munchkins.

How about a simple flipbook example. It's amazing that you can make things move without camera or computer. And it just takes some paper and some staples. And kids will go home and make their own. I know I did.

Pat Hacker, Visit Scooter's World.

I helped teach animation at a summer art center once. The lead teacher used the students as props. He took single still shots and moved the student(s) in simple poses. The playback was chopped a little but the students had a great time and everyone got to participate. It was easy for the kids to get the idea of single frames and by shooting using the kids we kept their attention.

Here's my take!


Here's my ideas.....

I have done tons of festival workshops with kids and adults...

Flipbooks work great! I do a simple 7 page flipbook with 3x5 index cards and walk them through a very simple bouncing ball across the card. Then we staple the cards together.

Then they go back and turn the ball into a character!

You and also do a ball bouncing up and down and turn that into a character.

You can do thaumatropes.... fold a 4x6 index card in half- draw a cage on one side and a character on the other side. Cut a hole 1/2 way down on the side edges. and tie dental floss through the side holes. Then the kids can blow the card so it flips around or wind the card and watch their images merge....a very active, physical way to engage the kids.

Instead of clay for stop motion use rice or beans on a background and have them form silhouettes to animate- like a silhouette of a fish swimming or eating something...

Have fun.

The flipbook idea also seems like fun. I remember making one as a kid on a field trip to a children's museum. Plus it was easy for me to create more on my own.

Along with figuring out the activity for the kids to do, you will also need A LOT of patience. Don't necessarily expect to stick to a strict regimen as kids tend to create their own ideas. There should be guidance, but enough leeway to let them have fun.

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