DIY Stop Motion Movie For Kids

If you were gutted to hear your son or daughter mutter, “I wish you were cool enough to make movies like Wallace & Gromit” mid-film, don’t fret. Making stop motion movies isn’t as complicated as it looks. Sure, you won’t be making a 2-hour Hollywood blockbuster (look below at my “movie” for evidence), but kids definitely enjoy seeing their own crazy ideas come to life on the screen. And as a parent, that gives you joy, right? Of course it does!

Here’s how to get started with a stop motion masterpiece:

  1. Decide on a story. Keep it simple to begin with (singing Sesame Street fruit might be a tad ambitious at this moment in time—even if it is your kid’s lifelong goal to make an orange sing). Attacking gummy worms, rubber ducky parties or even a Robot Rampage are some simple themes used with things lying around the house.
  2. Once a story is decided on, kids can then plan the entire movie out on a storyboard, just like a real animator. They don’t need to be a Picasso during this stage—just simple pictures to show a rough outline on how the story will unfold.
  3. Fun time! Kids will create the characters and the backdrop. Lego men in an Arabian desert? Rubber duckies in outer space? Stuffed toys in a castle? This is where you’ll really see your kid’s creativity come alive (just ignore those really wacky suggestions where the kids beg you to construct a wooden fort for the project. That can come later).
  4. IN POSITION! So you’re all set. It’s time to finally start filming. Here’s where the kids will learn all about patience. Stop motion takes a bit of time, but it’s well worth it in the end. Place the camera (if you’re using a digital camera/camcorder) in a stationary position. You don’t want it to be moving at all. Then go ahead and set up the scene.
  5. QUIET ON SET! ACTION! Follow the storyboard and take pictures with your digital camera, webcam or camcorder. You’ll need about 10 pictures per each second of film (it’s a lengthy process, I know, but it’s well worth it!). Be sure to remember that each new position needs a new picture. If your character is waving, you need to take pictures of every motion of that wave. Also remember not to get in the shot (you’ll see I don’t take my own advice in my movie below!). Your child will be a pro at taking photos after this activity—you can count on it.
  6. Once all the photos are taken, it’s time to load them into a Stop Motion program. There is plenty of software out there. For my poorly-edited, poor-quality 27 second “movie,” I used a trial version of Boinx iStopMotion (don’t judge this awesome software by the quality of my movie!) which took me about 20 minutes to make (obviously). And with a better camera (my webcam is from the dark ages), imagine the high quality films you and the kids can make when you have a whole day to spend creating.

Why are you still reading? Your future Spielberg is raring to go!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *