In the days before digital effects, filmmakers had to rely on more old-fashioned techniques for creating movie magic. Stop-motion animation is a filmmaking technique that makes inanimate objects appear to move on their own. Today, we'll go back to the days of stop-motion filmmaking to try our hands at this technique from the past.
what you’ll need
- A computer, tablet, or mobile phone and access to the internet
- A sketchbook or a journal with blank paper
- Post-It notes
- A pencil
- A mobile phone or tablet with a camera
- Crayons, colored pencils, or markers
- Small toys or action figures
- Any kind of play-dough (here’s an easy homemade recipe)
Ask About Today
What can you tell me about stop-motion films? How do you create stop-motion animation? (And make sure they show you one of the many stop-motion clips they made today.)
If you created a stop-motion film about something that's happened this year, what would it be about and why?
Skip the Ads
Unfortunately, online videos often start with short advertisements. Remind your campers to click the "Skip" button as soon as they can to move ahead to the video.
What is stop-motion filmmaking, anyway? Before you can become a stop-motion filmmaker, dive into what it is and how it all works.
Lost + Found
Start by watching this award-winning stop-motion short film.
Remember: Online videos often start with advertisements. (Annoying, we agree!) Click the "Skip" button as soon as you can to move ahead to the video.
Behind the Stop-Motion Scenes
Wait, how did they do that? Visit a stop-motion animation film studio to find out.
Stop-Motion at Home
In this short clip, you'll learn how you can start making stop-motion films right at home. (We'll get to that shortly!)
Teach Yourself Stop-Motion
Stop motion animation makes inanimate objects appear to move on their own. Now, you'll try making your own.
Stop-Motion In Action
Place an object in front of your camera and snap a photo using your Stop Motion Studio app. Then, you'll move the object a tiny bit and snap another photo. Repeat this process twenty times (or twenty-thousand times!). When you play back the sequence quickly, the object will look like it's moving.
Flip Book Animation
No camera? No problem! Flip book stop-motion is just as cool. All you need is a pen, a pack of sticky notes, and these instructions.
For younger explorers
Choose your favorite toys, like small action figures, dolls, or cars. They'll be the stars of your movie. Set them up in a scene, then ask a parent, caretaker, or big sib to help you use the Stop Motion Studio app to take a photo. Move them just a little bit, and take another photo. Do this as many times as you want! Then play it back and watch your very own "Toy Story."
Discover the art of stop-motion.
Stop-motion animation has been used since long before more contemporary, computer-generated animation techniques. Find out how it's evolved over the years.
For younger explorers
Red: A Crayon's Story
This short stop-motion read-aloud of Red: A Crayon's Story by Michael Hall is animated by fourth grade students.
For younger explorers
The Most Magnificent Thing
This read-along of The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires was animated by a class of elementary students using stop-motion techniques.
You don't need a party for this favorite party game.
Make a list of your top 10 favorite movies. Set a timer for 3 minutes. Act out each movie without speaking. Your teammate(s) should try to guess the title of the movie. Try to get through as many movies as you can before the timer is up.
Need a Team? Charades works really well over Zoom or FaceTime. Make a date with a few friends or relatives to play a round.
Turn your walk into a short film.
What if the most mundane activities could become stop-motion films? On today's walk with a sibling or family member, give them simple tasks to do—things like picking up a leaf, moving a stick from one spot to another, or just climbing the front steps. Using your stop-motion app, turn each task into a mini stop-motion film.
Stay Safe: Remember to stay socially distanced while you're out and about.
more to explore
Not ready to stop stop-motion? Explore some more!
Draw Your Own Movie
Bring Your Drawings to Life
Watch your drawings come alive with frame-by-frame animation in this cool art game. Use your mouse to click on the “dot” icon next to the “trash can” icon. This determines the thickness of your pen. Choose your colors at the bottom, then use your mouse to create a picture. To add a new frame, press the “plus” icon at the lower left. Once you’re done, press the “play” icon to see your work of art!
Drawing on the computer isn't your thing? Try creating cartoon animation from a library of stickers and background designs, instead.