Animation Programs for Young Kids

I have a coworker with a couple of preschool kids. She asked me if there was a program that they could use to make animations. I’d say that Blender is probably not a good choice yet, and I’m not sure Anim8or is either, given their young age. Any suggestions for something, preferably free, that she could check out? I assume we’re talking about a Windoze environment. :rolleyes:

Preschoolers are really too young to understand the principles of animation. I think about the youngest you could possibly start teaching is maybe 2nd or 3rd grade. If you really insist though, Daz3d has that cool puppettering tool, which might be useful for the young 'uns.

Pencil would be the best for traditional animation, and it’s open source. Regarding preschoolers’ qualification, my 4-year old brother knows how to use GIMP quite well for a kid, so I think that something even more straightforward, like traditional animation, shouldn’t be out of their grasp.

I too think 3D is too much for the preschoolers, nevertheless why stop the fun…

How about Pencil 2D?
Free nice oldschool animation proggy. Maybe with an artpad or simply with a scanner then they can do funny stuff.

Great minds think alike huh?

Yeah, pivot is great for really young kids, I’d recommend it over Pencil(which I think is still a bit too advanced).

@arexma: Seems so. :wink:

@Free_Ality: I don’t think anything gets much simpler than flipbook-style animation… :confused:

The problem is that Pencil requires you to draw each frame, and at that age, a lot of kids lack the motor skills/knowledge to produce a series of drawings that look the same with minor changes.

Pivot is a stick figure animation app that just has you move the joints etc, so you get the ideas behind animation without having to draw the same image over and over.

There is “paint” that comes with windows (windoze)
3D made for kids.

I’m thinking something like the old Mario Paint program that was on the SNES way back when might work, but even that seems sort of advanced for preschool kids. I dunno if there’s a similar app for the PC, but Mario paint was so popular back then (and even today people are still using it for stuff) that it wouldn’t seem too strange a notion. I’ll go google for some really quick :smiley:

I think that they may enjoy physical interaction more than using a computer. (When I was in preschool, I was using System 7, so my view may be skewed. ;)) If you have a camera and tripod, you could have them make stop-action movies, be them paper, clay or whatever. Much more fun I think, especially claymation.

Pivot or Easytoon.

really easy interface.

oh, I GOT ONE! i just remembered:
teddy 3D.

you actually draw stuff out.
i tried it a long time ago. you can’t make detailed models, but its really simple.


smooth teddy (color version):

STOP-MOTION IS FUN! is my favourite windows stopmotion program - they have a free beta version up at the moment.

It’s a research project into creating an “informal animation” app - for quick and easy animation. This might be suitable.

Thank you for all the great suggestions!

I may also suggest some of these to the staff at the American Visionary Arts Museum. My son attended a stopmotion animation camp there a couple of weeks ago, the first time the AVAM has run camps, and enjoyed it even though it seemed aimed at younger kids. He’s 14. So we’re going to provide some detailed feedback, because both my wife and I have some experience with camps and general educamational stuff for big and little peoples.

OT, if you’re ever in Baltimore I highly recommend a visit to AVAM. Strange and inspirational stuff.