Animating Kindness: Building Global Connections Through Stop-Motion Animation with Kids

Stop-motion Animation: Help Kids Build Global Connections

As an independent filmmaker, parent, and arts educator, I see first-hand on a daily basis just how powerful media is. Moving images are engaging and meaningful to audience members of all ages and, it seems, particularly so to children. There is something magical about a moving image.

Through my production company‘s arts education programs, I’ve seen how empowering and eye-opening it is when youth begin to create their own films. We run filmmaking programs for students ranging from 5-25. Creating their own films – animated or live-action – gives children, teens and young adults a greater understanding of how the media they watch is crafted. It is a fun, hands-on way to teach media literacy and to encourage youth to think critically about the media they watch and how it has been created.

SEE RELATED: Acts of Kindness for Kids

Building Global Connections Through Stop-Motion Animation with Kids

One of our anchor arts education programs is Spotlight On Hope Film Camp, a free film camp for pediatric cancer patients and their siblings. Through these programs, I’ve seen how filmmaking can take participants away from their daily struggles as they battle cancer. They get caught up in the magic of creating their own films and stop-motion animation is always a big favorite. It’s something that the students can successfully complete in a short amount of time.

Many of our students come from different cultural backgrounds, yet have a shared experience around cancer. Many also speak different languages, as their first language, so I’ve also come to appreciate the universality of animation. Most of the films contain no spoken words, just the moving pictures themselves that tell a story that can be understood across boundaries. It demonstrates the unique power of animation. This is one of my favorite films from our programs, created by a quiet, shy student, who was rarely comfortable talking publicly, but who embraced communication through artful animation.


Youth Made Play-Doh Stop-Motion Animation: Things

The piece is short. The story is simple and accessible to any viewer, no matter what country they live in or what language they speak.

How Your Child Can Connect With the World Through Stop-Motion Animation

Recently, another MKB blogger, MaryAnne from Mama Smiles, and I joined forces to create Kid Vid Fest, an online stop-motion animation film festival for youth. We wanted to create a festival that was accessible to youth around the world and that built upon the universal accessibility and appeal of stop-motion animation. As an online film festival, anyone, anywhere can participate. Our inaugural festival’s submission period just recently opened and our first festival focuses on the theme of kindness as we ask participants to “Choose Kindness. Be a Friend.”

If you have a child already creating stop-motion animation, they can submit their short animated film inspired by this topic here. On our website, we’ve got resources to get you started with stop-motion animation and Kindness Prompts to inspire your child to create a fun film to submit!

We would love to hear about how your family fosters kindness and creativity or about your experiences with stop-motion animation. Share in the comments!

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Jennifer Fischer

Jennifer Fischer is a writer, mediamaker, and teaching artist whose work has been featured by NBCLatino, ABC, Univision, Fusion, NBCBLK, etc. Her film “THE wHOLE” premiered at Amnesty International’s 50th Anniversary Human Rights Conference. Recent publications include pieces in Ms. Magazine, Last Girls Club, Literary Mama, Oranges Journal, Barzakh Magazine and Under Her Eye from Black Spot Books. An essay of hers appears in What is a Criminal? Answers from Inside the U.S. Justice System, an anthology from Routledge, published Jan. 2023.
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