It can be difficult to find enough activities to keep kids busy over the school holidays, especially when it’s raining and you’re stuck indoors. Although my two younger children would happily watch Netflix Lego shows on repeat if they could, I try to limit their screen time and encourage more imaginative play.
I had been keeping some boxes of new LEGO – LEGO Bionicle and LEGO Friends – on hand for when I heard the choruses of “We’re bored!”.
These particular LEGO sets tie in with the LEGO shows they had been watching on Netflix, so it made for a seamless transition between screen time and play time.
It was a joy to watch them work together to build the sets, and then to see the imaginative play that naturally followed.
To extend the play, I encouraged the kids to make their own LEGO animations, using the shows they had been watching as inspiration.
It’s really simple to do, and it provided hours of entertainment. It required the kids to work together, and they were so chuffed with the outcome.
Below are the steps to create your own LEGO animation – either using Picasa or the LEGO Movie Maker app.
Create your own LEGO animation using Picasa (or other photo editing program)
- Arrange your LEGO scene and develop your story-line. Some children will enjoy creating a story board before they begin. Others will like to “make it up as they go along”.
- Photograph your LEGO scene, taking care to keep the camera in the same position if possible. Keep moving the LEGO pieces a little for each photograph. This will provide the frames of action for your animation sequence.
- Download the photos from your camera to Picasa. Within Picasa, select the photos that you want in your animation. Be sure to select them in the sequence you want them to play in.
- Click on Create, Video, From Selection.
- Choose how many frames per second (how fast) you want your animation sequence to move.
- Click Create Movie. Your movie/animation is now ready to be watched, saved and shared!
Here’s an example of an animation my eight year old made independently:
Create your own LEGO animation using the LEGO Movie Maker app
- Download the free LEGO Movie Maker app to your smartphone, if you haven’t already.
- Follow the instructions in the app – it is self explanatory. Add photographs of the Lego scene, moving each piece a little each time, to create the movie frames. Again, some children will enjoy planning the story line beforehand, while others will prefer to leave it open ended.
- Save your movie within the app, and export it to your smartphone’s video storage. You can now share it with your friends and family.
Here’s an example of an animation that my 10 year old and four year old put together:
Create your own LEGO animation using PowerPoint
It’s also possible to create Stop Motion Animation using PowerPoint. Check out the full instructions here.
LEGO Friends and LEGO Bionicle – the inspiration
If your kids are wanting some inspiration before they create their LEGO movie, check out LEGO Bioncle and LEGO Friends shows on Netflix. They are both original series that premiered on Netflix in 2016.
In LEGO Bioncle, the story line takes place on the mythical island of Okoto, where the forces of darkness are o the move and evil Makuta is working to cast the world into darkness. The desperate island inhabitants enlist six heroes to help save their beloved island. Only when the heroes are united, are they able to defeat Makuta and save Okoto!
The LEGO Friends series follows the adventures of five best friends – Stephanie, Emma, Olivia, Mia and Andrea – around their hometown Heartlake City. From summer camp to the basketball court, saving their webcast or helping take care of a friend, their adventures are made all the better by having their best friends by their side.