Stopmotion animation project ideas for kids
December 29, 2011 2:31 AM   Subscribe

Give me ideas for stop-motion animation projects I can do with my young daughter.

I would love to do some animation projects with my daughter (4), but need some ideas.

These will probably be films under 5 seconds and doable in under 30 minutes, but with the maximum reward / entertainment value – something that makes it seem achievable and make her want to try it again.

So I'm looking for gag ideas, visual illusion ideas, prop ideas. I can handle the technicalities as long as we keep it simple, but am stumped when it comes to story. I don't mind copying someone else's idea if it's just to get us started. Links to videos we could emulate would also be welcome.

I'm new to this myself, although I understand the technique. I'm considering toys (e.g. we have Lego and PlayMobil), or Norman McLaren-style pixilation using humans, or playdough, or collage, magnetic board or blackboard.

Right now I'm just using the StopMotion Recorder app on the iPhone/iPad. I'm also thinking of getting Boinx iStopMotion. Tips regarding technique would be welcome, but what I'm really looking for here is story ideas.
posted by snarfois to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: When I say "story" I obviously mean something ultra-simple. No narrative arcs. Here's a test I did in about 10 minutes. That would work if it were somehow funnier.
posted by snarfois at 3:03 AM on December 29, 2011

Best answer: I teach a stop motion class, and while my students are a bit older, we use this SAM Animation gallery for inspiration. I've linked to the 'Just For Fun' projects but note the different subject channels.

I love your nutcracking one!
posted by atlantica at 3:57 AM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Toy Story meets The Elves and the Shoemaker:

Scene one:
Your daughter starts colouring in a colouring-in picture, then yawns, and goes to bed.
Scene two: (stop motion)
Her pens and pencils sneakily escape from her pencil case and start colouring in the rest of the colouring-in picture.
Scene three:
Your daughter wakes up, stretches, gets out of bed, goes to finish her colouring-in and - gasp of surprise! She finds it complete!

posted by -harlequin- at 3:57 AM on December 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: That clip is really cute! You could have the nuts run into something that scares them and do the nut equivalent of running away screaming and waving their arms, whatever that is. She's 4, so slapstick in general could be a hit. There's Tom and Jerry-type routines: a nut and a nutcracker are looking for each other, maybe chasing each other around the bowl, switching directions and eventually colliding with unexpected results; a cross-door hallway chase; one character follows another, and every time the one being followed senses it and turns around to check, the follower stays behind its back; etc.

It might be interesting to animate household objects. Maybe your lamp is secretly a Pixar lamp at heart? Pin some eyes/nose/mouth/eyebrow features on a couch and have it react to things? Cute might be as good as funny: one character gives another a holiday gift, to their delight; a Lego structure enthusiastically builds itself; a house grows legs and walks somewhere else, or wiggles around to shake off snow; the blackboard or magnetic board can be an empty room that someone peeks into, walks into cautiously, and starts to dance in or whatever; birds or butterflies can fly around on the walls...

This is a really nice project!
posted by mail at 4:10 AM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think you need to get a packet of googly eyes.
posted by emilyw at 4:17 AM on December 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: When I first tried stop-motion (with a Super-8 camera, waaaay before digital), I made Play-Doh sculptures of Easter Island heads, then had a bug walk around them. One of the heads' mouths opened up, a big tongue came out, and the head ate the bug.

The kids I knew thought it was hilarious.
posted by xingcat at 4:27 AM on December 29, 2011

My kids and I did one years ago which went like this:

[scene 1] Dad hollers off-screen that "it's time for school!" kid 1 runs into scene and drops a fire-engine, kid 2 runs into scene and drops a bendy Pinocchio doll.

[scenes 2-x] Pinocchio doll jumps on fire-engine, rides over to toy basket, lifts the ladder and proceeds to encourage all the other toys to "escape" from the toy basket. One by one they climb out.

[scene x+1] toy parade, led by Pinocchio on the fire-engine.

about 40 sceonds of video that took almost 2 hours to make. But boy did we have fun doing it!
posted by bricksNmortar at 5:16 AM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: These answers are all great. Thanks so much everyone! @xingcat: that sounds like a winner :)
posted by snarfois at 7:01 AM on December 29, 2011

snarfois, if you film it, please upload and let us know. I'd love to see how it compares to my "masterpiece" of 1988.
posted by xingcat at 7:06 AM on December 29, 2011

My buddy Dave and his daughter made this video together. Some stop motion, some live action, some computer animation. Tons going on, very trippy and dreamlike:
My Robot Drives My Rocket Car
posted by mollymayhem at 12:32 PM on December 29, 2011

Mrs brilliantmistake and I do the odd stop motion film clip with her extensive collection of dolls which work pretty well and are super easy to make (if time consuming!)

Christmas Tree Decorating

Sindy in the Kitchen
posted by brilliantmistake at 6:23 AM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: @mollymayhem, @brilliantmistake - those are great! Bit too ambitious for the stage we're at; maybe in a couple of years.

So here's my first try, based on @xingcat's idea. Actually, it's my second, as on the first night the iPhone's battery gave out right at the end, destroying the whole hour's work :( I'm sure it was better than the re-make, especially since I managed to knock over the tripod halfway through. I did a quick second one with the same model.

Those were done on my own, as family were visiting and I couldn't monopolise my daughter's attention. But she liked them. Today she enthusiastically co-sculpted and co-directed this one. (The snot-eating and hair coming to life devouring the man was her idea. Forgetting to remove the screwdriver was my fault.) Next one will probably involve poo. But I'm still keen to try out out @mail and @-harlequin-'s ideas too.

I'm quite keen now to get a better app (like iStopmotion – just noticed they have an iPad version) – and do some editing on the Mac. Adding sound effects should be half the fun.
posted by snarfois at 12:37 PM on January 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Wow, those are WAY better than my meager efforts way back when! I love them!
posted by xingcat at 2:42 PM on January 1, 2012

« Older If a pop song is used on an advert, who gets the...   |   Begone Norton Security Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.