Legos. Stop-motion. A whole lot of imagination. What’s not to love?
This simple exercise is a creative game-changer for kids–and an eye-opener for grown-ups.
Goal: Create a stop-motion movie! Let the kids run the show. Share your work.
What You’ll Need:
- Legos, clay, or anything else you can animate.
- A stop-motion app or kit (more on this later).
- Patience! Support the kiddos, but to resist taking over. This is a chance for them to express creativity
Stop-Motion For Kids Rocks. Here’s Why
Kids love Legos. Kids love movies. It’s only natural that kids would love Lego movies. Want proof? Sing “Everything is Awesome” in a room full of parents and tally the side-eyes. (Brave souls can opt for the one-hour version.) The idea that kids can actually make their OWN Lego movies is pretty darn epic, but when you think about all of the amazing things that happen over the course of this challenge, it’s clear that the neat factor is barely the tip of the iceberg. Some of the biggest perks:
- Making a stop-motion movie reinforces budding planning, project management, and collaboration skills.
- Stop-motion flexes story-building, sequencing, and creative muscles.
- Your kids get to make a movie. A real movie. Maybe even for free. Let that sink it.
- Making something wonderful gives kids a confidence boost and grownups a chance to mentor and bond.
- It’s fun. Period.
Deciding to make a stop-motion movie is easy. Making said movie? Also easy, so long as you snag the right tools for the job.
Kid-Friendly Stop-Motion Apps and Kits
Stop-motion is right smack in the middle of a major popularity swell, and given all of the neat (and affordable) movie-making tech available these days, it’s no mystery why. When it comes to kid-friendly stop-motion options, most families go with apps or computer kits. We use both, depending on the situation. Here’s a quick summary of each.
Stop-Motion Apps for Kids
We use the free Lego Movie Maker app for iPad, but there are several kid-friendly iOS and Android apps available. We find Lego’s version easy-to-use and appreciate that it comes loaded with music and effects.
What We Love: Stop-motion apps are portable, accessible, and typically free. They also have a kid-friendly touch interface little learners love.
Downsides: Let’s face it, few kids will actually set a handheld device in one place or hold it still for the duration of a shot. That movement comes through in the movie.
Kids’ Stop-Motion Kits
There are many different easy-to-use stop-motion kits on the market. We use this one by Honestech. It’s affordable and comes with a poseable dog web-camera, but can be quirky. I’ve heard really positive things about the Stopmotion Explosion kit.
What we love: Computer-based stop-motion kits offer a shake- and movement-free filming experience. You can set it, walk away, and come back, and the software is typically more robust.
Downsides: Stop-motion kits lack portability and a touch-friendly interface.
Let’s Do This: How To Make Your Movie
Want to know how to make a stop-motion movie in
5 easy some steps? A primer:
- Come up with a plan
- Prepare your space
- Set the scene
- Move whatever is to be animated just a tad.
- Take a photo.
- Repeat steps 4 and 5 a bazillion times.
- Ditch the plan.
- Crash things together. Throw in random toys. Forgive potty humor.
- Review your work. Giggle like maniacs.
- Share the fun on Facebook (for a smaller audience), or send it in for us to share on the site.
Easy, right? We’ll share ours down below soon.
Pro tip: It’s a certifiable fact* that the ease with which you make a stop-motion movie with little ones correlates directly with your ability to kick perfectionism to the curb. It will be choppy. Things and characters will teleport. I’m willing to bet that you may not even bother with sound or music. But if you’re doing it right, none of this will matter. Just go with it.
* Okay, not really. But it should be.