Why Stop Motion is So Great for Kids
Stop motion animation is absolutely brilliant for children. I’ve long thought it should be part of the school curriculum, especially having seen the benefits when I was a primary school teacher. It uses so many different skill sets, enables meaningful learning, and there is an enormous payoff when you watch everything magically come alive – hugely motivating, not to mention incredibly satisfying!
1. So many skills
One of the many reasons I love stop motion so much is that it encompasses so many different skills and roles.
Let’s look at these roles:
As a director you make decisions on the whole project – what to to make, how to animate, and any additional extras such as sounds.
Whether it’s a story in the traditional sense, or something very simple, making an animation really gets you thinking about how you present it to your audience.
There’s a real pleasure and lots of creativity involved in making models and puppets by hand.
Lots of IT skills here – from using your stop motion software/app for making your animation, to editing, adding titles and sound effects.
You’ll be dealing with how the image looks on screen. Is it in focus and has the correct exposure (how much light there is)? Where to place to camera for a close-up, medium or long shot.
Your set is just like a miniature theatre stage on which you can design your backdrop and scenery.
Adding sound effects and music really brings your films to life. You can also make voice recordings which is a skill in itself.
Animating requires patience, focus and lots of problem solving. The reward of watching your creation magically come to life is very motivating and satisfying.
2. Meaningful Learning
Using stop motion to teach, just like using music in lessons, creates lasting memories. With all of the different processes you go through to make a stop motion film, not to mention the finished animation itself, it promotes truly meaningful learning.
When I was a teacher I got my class to make stop motion animations of the water cycle, as a lot of children can find the concepts tricky to get to grips with. After a couple of weeks planning and making their films it was joyful to see how much it helped their understanding, not to mention the great teamwork and how proud they were of their creations.
3. Accessible for all
Everyone can shine and there is something for all ranges of ability.
Stop motion worked especially well at the last school I taught at as a high number of pupils had special needs and/or EAL (English as an Additional Language).
4. Enrich cross-curricular links
All subjects can come into play with stop motion animation: Art, literacy, numeracy, IT, History, Geography, Design and Technology…and more!
Many of StopMoGo’s workshops have curricular themes, so do have a look. There’s more to come too, so be sure to sign up to my newsletter!
5. Life Skills
Stop motion is fantastic for kids as it’s an opportunity to learn skills such as teamwork, cooperation and creative thinking. Making stop motion films also give kids the chance to build relationships with each other and develop their social skills.
In summary, stop motion really is an fantastic activity for children. At all of the workshops I’ve run it’s been a pleasure to see how much it encourages creativity and skills to develop. Now that I’m bringing all of my workshops online, you can share in this too!
Illustrations by Emma Dougherty