With the school holidays coming up, it is always a challenge to keep the kids entertained. Often drawn to their screens, getting them to do something different can be tricky. But why not encourage them to make their own videos?
Making their own short films not only keeps them occupied in a way that engages them, but it is a strong form of self-expression, which has been shown to ease stress and anxiety, as well as boredom. Creativity is really great way to increase confidence and self-esteem, especially when they get to share their videos with family and friends. The key to this is to really let them loose to do things their own way. By all means discuss their ideas if they want to and help them with the camera or computer if they need it, otherwise sit back until show time!
They can use anything to film with, a camera, a phone, iPad or tablet, it doesn’t matter the quality, what matters they are doing something they enjoy. And if they don’t have anything to film with, they can use photos and set them to music or record a voice over. Both PCs and Mac come with a free video editor. PCs sometimes have Windows Movie Maker, and Macs and iPads have iMovie. If your PC doesn’t have Movie Maker, you can download GoPro Studio or VideoPad
All are very easy to use, allow you to add music (for royalty-free music which can use on the internet go to Purple Planet or Free Music Archive), put in your own titles, import photos and video, and add a voice over. If your children don’t have their own photos, you can download some photos for free from a site like Pixabay, Pexels or Unsplash. (These have creative commons licenced images so can be used freely on the internet, but check the individual licence for each image).
If they don’t know where to start, ask them what they are interested in, what do they like about Pokémon, sport or ponies? How would they explain it to an alien or someone who has never seen it before? What are the best things about their favourite thing? What would they do if they were a toy designer or zookeeper? How would they make the world a better place?
Sharing their interests in this way not only builds their confidence, but you might find out something new about your child that you never knew before! And sharing their video with family and friends gives children a real sense of community and connection. Not only this, they are learning about digital technologies, planning and organisation, their teachers would be proud!
Lotti Kershaw is a former integration aide/education support officer who has a background in broadcast television and runs her own video production company. She started Rock Paper Video to teach filmmaking and animation skills to children, so they can tell their own stories and make their own movies.
She is passionate about bringing video, special effects and animation into schools, and linking her incursions and resources to required curriculum outcomes, enabling teachers to teach media arts and cross-curricular activities through filmmaking.
Lotti has worked in broadcast television in the UK, on programs for the BBC and major network television channels. She has credits on various TV programs, and has worked in many genres including documentary, drama, music, entertainment, live talk shows, reality TV, music programs and feature film, at different stages of the production process from pre-production to post production and even broadcast.
Rock Paper Video runs film making and animation workshops for children. See our latest workshops here