Stuck at home? Let’s make the most of it!

Let’s make the most of staying at home. 

This week on Make it! DIY, it’s all about the magic of movie-making. From developing storytelling skills to creating stop motion animation, you’ll soon be on your way to producing summer’s blockbuster hit.

For activities that will keep your kids even more engaged and connected, check out our Make it! Summer Camps. Camps only run until mid-August, so don’t miss out on the fun! Find your favorite KID camp here.

Lights, camera…action!

Movie Makers

1. Flip Books

Flip books and other analog animation toys have been popular since the Victorian era. The basic principle is simple: by stringing together a series of still images, animators can create the illusion of movement! Make your own version of these early animation techniques by creating a flipbook, simple two-frame animation, or even a Zoetrope to bring your still pictures to life!

Suggested Materials:
– Paper
– Binder Clip or Stapler
– Scissors
– Marker or Pencil
– Optional: CD, and this template if you are making the Zoetrope

Tips and Thoughts
– Making a simple two-frame animation? Think of a simple movement that repeats itself, like an eye blinking or a bird flapping its wings.
– Want to make your animation look like it’s really moving? Making small, instead of big changes in between each frame will make the motion look smoother.
– Try holding each frame up to a bright light to make tracing new frames (and getting the placement of your drawing) easier.

Potential Resources
Video for Younger Students
Video for Older Students
Written Instructions

Take this challenge to the next level: DIY Zoetrope with a CD

2. Storytelling

Good movie-making requires good storytelling skills. You can get started by using a homemade story cube. Make sure your story has a beginning, a conflict, and a resolution. Then plan out the sequence of each shot using a storyboard.

Suggested Materials:
– Story Cube template
– Pencil
– Paper
– Scissors
– Optional: Markers or colored pencils, post-its or index cards for story boarding

Tips and Thoughts
– One easy way to get an idea for a story is to use a story you already know and make it your own. Try re-writing a famous fairy tale with a modern twist, or retelling your favorite book but with different characters.
– Every good story needs a protagonist (the main character), a setting (the when and where), and plot (a clear beginning, middle, and end).
– Write from what you know! Even if you are inventing an imaginary world, you can always add your own personality and familiar ideas.

Potential Resources:
– Step 1: Get ideas for your story using this DIY Story Cube
– Step 2: Think about Story Structure
– Step 3: Make a Storyboard and plan out your movie! 

3. Character Creation

There are lots of ways to create characters in movies. Sometimes the characters are animated, sometimes they are acted out by real people, and sometimes they are made with puppets. Create your own puppet character for your movie, or create your own costume pieces out of cardboard using household materials.

Suggested Materials:
– Paper Plates
– Toilet paper tubes
– Cardboard
– Colorful paper
– Tape
– Scissors
– Markers
– Anything else around the house that will help add to your characters “costume”

Tips and Thoughts
– Draw a picture of your puppet or character before building. What form do they take, what do they wear, and what are they like?
– To help get a better idea of what your characters personality is, write down adjectives that describe them. Are they fun? Brave? Shy?
– Another fun way to develop a character is to think about how they speak. Think of your favorite character from a movie. Will your character have a similar way of speaking?

Potential Resources:
Video for Younger Students
Video for Older Students
Written Instructions

Take this challenge to the next level: It may not be Halloween, but these three DIY character Costumes sure look fun. What kind of character costume could you make using what you have around the house?

4. Stop Motion Animation

Make your own unique movies using this KID Museum classic. Stop motion animation uses a similar principle to the analog animation technique: using still images with small changes to create the illusion of movement. This free version of the Stop Motion Studio App can help you bring any household item to life!

Suggested Materials:
– Mobile device downloaded with Stop Motion Studio App (available for all Apple and Android devices)
– Small toys or other household items you’d like to animate (check out the videos below to get ideas)
– Optional: Clay, paper, markers, scissors, tape for making characters and sets

Tips and Thoughts
– Set up your camera before you start taking pictures to make sure that all pictures will be taken from the same angle. You can use a tripod or create your own set-up
– Remember to make small changes in between each frame to get the most fluid looking motion.
– Experiment with different frames per second to get motion that appears slower or faster

Potential Resources:
Video for Younger Students
Video for Older Students
Written Instructions

Take it to the next level: Check out this simple video to get inspiration about materials you can bring to life! 

5. Intro to Video Editing

Finished your storyboard and costumes? Already written a script and filmed your scenes? The next important step in creating a live action movie is putting it together. Cue our video editing tutorials. We have attached tutorials for two of our favorite applications for video editing: Imovie and Animotica

Suggested Materials:
– Device downloaded with either iMovie, Shadow Puppet Edu or Animotica

Tips and Thoughts
– Remember you don’t have to film your movie all in one take. Consider splitting it into scenes to make it easier to film.
– Want to make your video more like a real movie? Add an intro and credits at the end.
– No movie is complete without music or sound effects! Many apps have built in music options, but you can also download free music and other fun sound effects for video from 

Potential Resources:
– For Younger Learners: Create a slideshow with video, pictures and voiceover in the Shadow puppet Edu App (for Iphone/Ipad)
– For Apple users: Intro to iMovie 
– For Laptops: Animoticar

We'd love to see what you make!

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