This is the animation software and camera that we use in our Introduction to Animation class. It’s perfect for creating stop-motion animations. The software is intuitive, and the kids have no trouble using it. The camera has a bendable arm, so it’s easy to position for shots from a variety of angles.
ScratchJr is an app for younger kids, ages 5-7, to learn basic programming concepts. It’s currently available for Android and iOS devices. It’s currently not available for the Amazon Kindle, which is, quite frankly, very disappointing, but it works well on the Galaxy Tab A that we have at the office. I’m going to try side-loading it on one of the Kindles if they don’t release an officially-supported version soon!
We use Scratch in many of our introductory programming classes, especially for kids in the 7-12 age range. It’s so easy to use! Kids can create fun animations and interactive games with a drag-and-drop interface. There’s some typing, but it’s minimal, and the commands are easy-to-read, so most of the younger kids can keep up with the class. Scratch comes with a great built-in library of graphics (called Sprites) that kids can use, or they can use the drawing tools to create their own. Some of our kids will also download images from the web to use in their Scratch projects.
Depending on the length of the class, we usually teach kids how to make the following with Scratch:
- Simple animation that “draws” on the screen
- Interactive, keyboard-controlled animation
- “Apple catcher” game that combines randomization, looping, events, and variables
- Web cam controlled music generator
- Keyboard-controlled “maze” game
- Virtual pet
You can see some of the class projects that we’ve uploaded here: https://scratch.mit.edu/users/coderkidsclub/