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March 28, 2022

Montessori Elementary - Stop Motion Video Activity

One thing that has been an unexpected joy of parenting kids is watching their interests unfold as they get older. Their own unique opinions, personalities, interests to every project they undertake. They approach problems in new ways, have creative visions, and the energy to really put it all together. I'm finding that I'm learning from them, and really taking joy in seeing them share their passions. 

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One interest that is all the rage in my house for my older kids, particularly Henry, is making stop motion videos. As you probably know, these videos are composed by taking hundreds of pictures, and slowly moving the characters around. When placed together the pictures appear to be moving. Then add some sound effects, music, or voice overs and you have yourself a video. 

Henry and Nora create this video with the LEGO city Town Center set. 

Why We Love Stop Motion Activities for Montessori Elementary

There are a few reason that I really love and encourage this passion for my Montessori elementary aged kids, even being a low technology household. They include: 
  • Creative Outlet: This is a perfect creative passion for kids, especially those that might not be into more traditional "art" based activities - like painting or drawing. And, it really does require a lot of creativity. From designing the sets, to picking the characters, and figuring out how to make the special effects, every step of the process stretches their imagination and requires creative problem solving. 
  • Story Telling: The ability to write and tell stories is such a great skill for a child to have. For a child who might struggle with traditional writing prompts, I've found this to be a great way to sneak writing in. The story has to come from the child's head and often I see Henry far more willing to write - even if it's an outline - to prepare for making these movies. He's learning about other concepts of story telling and writing too. Stories need a beginning, middle, and end. They need a protagonist and antagonist - things like that! 
  • Technology: I love that this activity incorporates technology but in an active and engaging way. It's not just staring at screens, but involves so much more.  
  • Patience: Patience is not necessarily a strong suit for many of us in the Kavanaugh household, but wow, does stop motion taking patience. It takes hundreds and hundreds of pictures to create a video of any real length. Every piece must be moved carefully. And, instead of work, it all feels like fun. 
  • Movement: Stop motion is not a sedentary activity, it requires getting up and down, carefully moving the pieces. It can include set building, creating the scene, and all sorts of tricks to get the right effect. Henry once constructed a whole baking soda volcano just for the right shot. I love that this is again using technology but in a way that he is still using his body. 

Tools for Creating Stop Motion Videos

I'm not going to pretend to be an expert here, but since I know people will ask I wanted to share what we use here to make them:
  • Objects: Generally my kids prefer using LEGOs as the characters, but anything works - dolls, other action figures, or stuff like that
  • Camera: We use an old iPad to take the pictures. I think an old phone probably would be easier, but this is what we have and it works fine for our purposes
  • App: I'm told the app is called Stop Motion Studio - I don't know the ins and outs of the app, but Henry likes it and can use independently. 
  • Resources: We have this Lego Stop Motion Book which helped share some tips and tricks. We have also consulted youtube from time to time for information on how a specific effect might be created.

All in all, stop motion has been a great activity in our Montessori home with our elementary aged kids. And, I look forward to all the ways they use it in the months, and years, to come! 

Do your older kids like stop motion? 

A look at how we use stop motion videos in our Montessori home with our elementary aged children and why we love it as an engaging activity


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