With all the high tech computers, 3D glasses, and High Definition technologies involved in many of today’s blockbuster animation movies, you could be forgiven for thinking that animation is costly and requires a huge team of people to accomplish.

That may be true of the big movies, but animation itself hasn’t really changed over the 100+ years that it has been going, and is easy enough for children to get to grips with at home using even the simplest of materials.

Below are some straight forward animation exercises for kids of all ages that are not only great fun but also contain all the secrets of the most complex animations.

Use them to teach your child about the principles of Persistence of Vision (POV) which is how our eyes see a sequence of still images as a moving object. Without this principle we wouldn’t have any animation or even movies or tv.

Why not try some of these animation exercises today?

 

Animation Exercises For Kids

Flip books

Flip books are one of the simplest ways to practice your animation at home and get things moving. No need for fancy schmantzy equipment, just a ruler, paper, pencil, rubber band, and a great imagination and you’re away!

Why not try making a flip book like the one in the video above. Or to save even more time…get yourself some sticky yellow notes and draw on those – no need for the rubber band then as they are already stuck together on one end. 🙂

 

Zoetropes

Zoetropes are a fun way to get hands-on and messy at home while learning the basics of animation. Great for developing your child’s art and craft skills.

Fun Fact!
Did you know that the word “Zoetrope” comes from the Greek words “zoe” (life) and “tropos” (wheel) – literally meaning Wheel of Life.

Also, the first primitive zoetrope was invented almost 2,000 years ago in China but didn’t really become popular until the mid-19th century with the developments in photography.

 

Pixilation

Pixilation is an animation technique that uses live actors as subjects, changing their poses slightly with each frame to give the illusion of movement. This is kind of like a stop motion technique (think Wallace and Gromit) but using people instead of plasticine models.

(A famous example of pixilation is Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer video from the 80s – watch it above)

All you need is a video camera that can take still frames, and it’s best to use a tripod because you want to make sure the camera angle is as stable as possible throughout, otherwise you’ll end up with a jerky playback.

Tips

  • Do a few tests to get the hang of it at first.
  • Remember, you have to make sure you are motionless when you take each frame, then you move a tiny bit more, hold it, take another frame, move again, take another frame, and so on…
  • Best to have someone working the camera while one of you acts.
  • Try planning out your actions before you do them…it will make it a lot easier.

Give it a go, it’s great fun.

Claymation / Stop Motion Plasticine Animation

Claymation exercise for kids

This is a really fun way to spend a rainy afternoon or keep the kids quiet during the holidays.

Check out the website above as he explains everything you’ll need and how easy his kids found it to produce some great little animations.

Check out our stop motion software recommendations if you’re unsure about what equipment you’ll need.