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Monday, October 6, 2014

October 6: First motion picture (1889)

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On October 6, 1889, Thomas Edison showed the first motion picture. Why not have kids make their own films?

Stop-Motion Film Making


  • video camera
  • action figures, dolls, or other toys with movable arms and legs
  • other props to use with the toys (vehicles, furniture, etc.
  • paper
  • pencil


  1. If you have access to a video camera, this can be an amazing activity for kids. It gives them a chance to be filmmakers and see firsthand the kind of work involved.
  2. Stop motion film making is what is used to create a kind of “live animation” style. Actual objects are moved just a little bit at a time and captured on video. When run together it makes it look like the actual object is moving.
  3. It will take lots of time, but you can get kids to create their own stop motion films. You may wish to have them “story board” their ideas first; that is, draw what they want to happen in their film.
  4. Then, kids will move a figure’s arm or leg just slightly and you will hit the record button on the video camera for just a second. Then immediately hit the pause button. Set up the next shot and continue.
  5. This will take practice before the timing is down right.
  6. Also, it may be necessary for the adult to work the camera simply because of the expense involved.

Note: this project obviously preceded digital cameras and phones. See how children can adapt this project with today’s technology.

Source(s): Toolbox Training book 100 Drama Activities for Kids (activity B10).

Check out the full October calendar. It includes floating holidays, specialty weeks, and specialty months.

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