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Stop Motion Animation Kits for Kids – Creative Ideas for Kids

Stop Motion Animation Kits for Kids

If you are looking for creative ideas for kids gifts these stop motion animation kits are just the thing. There are three options for this. First the complete kits, everything you need in a box – except the computer, you will need a Mac or a PC. Next are the kits that require use of a smart phone and they usually offer a free app too. Finally the kits that require no electronics at all, these are the zoetrope type kits, and they are just as much fun, but you won’t be able to make a whole film.

There several on the market and I’m reviewing the most popular ones here. (These are affiliate links, I haven’t been asked to review them, some I recommend, some I don’t. I use affiliate links as one of the ways to pay for the running of this site, and I always review and offer products that I think would be genuinely interesting for my readers.)

Complete kits

A complete kit may be a more pricey option, but the alternatives require the use of a smart phone. Whilst this is a good option if you just want to give it a quick try, you have to know that if your child enjoys this activity and wants to make a whole film, then that phone may be tied up for quite some time. In fact it could be in use for days! So if you think this could be a serious hobby for your child, then I highly recommend a complete kit. Its everything you need in a box, except a computer.

Here are 5 complete kits to compare and have a look at.

 

Hue Animation Studio (in Blue, Red, Green or Black)

This is the complete package in a box. If you don’t want your kids using your phone, or if you don’t have a suitable one, this is a great option. This kit is recommended by teachers and used in schools, and home-schooling, after-school clubs, and STEAM activities.

This is what you get in the box:

  • HD camera with microphone
  • Mini stage with green-screen and different backdrops
  • Stop Motion software (and time-lapse) for PC and Mac
  • Sound Effects
  • Printable activities
  • 60 page animation activity book
  • Tutorial videos

You also get direct access to Creatubbles the global community for safely sharing, discovering and interacting with films. So your kids can have an audience for their creations, as well as learn from other children.

It has great reviews and was featured in the Good Toy Guide. I would highly recommend this as a great gift to encourage creativity in children.

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Zu3D Animation Kit

Another great complete package, including its own camera, software, sets, book and even clay! This is also used in schools, and has great reviews too. It was developed by the same people who developed the Hue above, before going separate ways, so the two may have plenty in common.

What you get in the pack:

  • Webcam on a stand
  • Mini set
  • Green cloth for green-screen chroma key
  • Animation Handbook by Helen Piercy (she has her own product in the next section)
  • Modelling clay
  • Zu3D stop-motion animation software (PC and Mac)

The software does time-lapse too, but also has the extra ability to create drawn animation and to draw over captured frames (so could be used for rig-removal too). The software also has a video editor too, which is nice, and offers some effects too.

This is another really nice kit with everything you need, and a bit more.

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Stopmotion Explosion

A complete kit with everything you need this time including a better HD camera. This camera even has a manual focus right up to 3mm away, you can also control the exposure. For the higher price it does give you more control. The flexi stand can wrap around objects helping you get the camera in just the right position.

This is what you get in the box:

  • HD camera with flexi stand and internal microphone
  • Software (PC and Mac)
  • 290 page book with step by step guides
  • A library of effects (explosions, rocket launches, light sabres etc.)

Although it doesn’t have a set or backgrounds, the book is a fantastic resource and will show you how to make your own backgrounds, and covers everything you need to make films including scriptwriting, editing, sound, and how to animate. It also has example projects for children to follow, taking them through the entire process from start to end so they get to learn the entire process of making a film.

The product has great reviews, and is very easy to use.

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I Can Animate Studio

This one isn’t the best value. Probably the best thing is the software, and that’s the key selling point of the product.

What you get:

  • HD webcam with stand
  • I Can Animate Software, chroma-key any colour, and time-lapse
  • Draw over frames
  • Plasticine and a flip book
  • Green-screen

The downside is that there is no book, although there is help on their website.

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OGOBILD Animate Set with Camera

Another complete set, ideal for children who like constructing characters with mix and match elements. You can build extraordinary creatures with the OGOBILD System, then animate them with everything you need from the box.

What you get:

  • Webcam on a flexible stand
  • 108 OGO BILD construction pieces
  • Software to download (Animate It! From Aardman Animation)

Maybe this is not the best value product reviewed here, but, if your child already loves OGO BILD then this is the perfect choice for them. Besides if you already have a better camera, you can get the essential kit for less.

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Kits that require a mobile phone and app

This is a great option if you just want to try this out for the first time and so don’t want to spend too much money at the start. Many of these packs are branded to games that your child may already be very keen on so it’s a great way to introduce them to a new activity, through something that they already enjoy.

Here are 5 kits to compare and have a look at.

 

Animation Studio, Helen Piercy

This is the best kit in the range, by far. It’s made by a professional animator, who runs workshops for kids and knows how to teach it. It’s also excellent value, and a beautifully made product. So thumbs up all round I highly recommend this one.

What you get:

  • 32 page Directors Handbook
  • Fold out stage set
  • Press-out props

Although this doesn’t appear to come with much (no stand, clay etc) it is actually much better value to buy you own modelling clay, phone stand and holder. There is also no recommended app or software, but you can see that there are a very large number of free stop motion apps out there to use, so it’s not necessary to develop a branded one for this.

Published by Walker Books, it’s really more of an activity book. The real benefit of this product is in the quality. The illustrations are beautiful, the stage is thick hardback board so will stand well, lots of ideas of things to make, different types of stop motion to try, storyboarding and editing. It is well designed, informative and fun. Excellent value.

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Klutz Lego Make Your Own Movie Craft Kit

This is next on the list as the branding will attract any child who likes either Lego™, or Lego Films. In fact, Lego films are so popular that stop motion is sometimes called ‘brickfilms’ or ‘legofilms’. There are lots of Lego movies on YouTube for kids to watch, and of course the Lego feature films (which are made in with Computer Graphics, not stop motion). So this makes a great gift idea, and it will encourage kids to spend even more time playing with their Lego™. Not bad all round.

What you get:

  • 78 page book
  • 36 Lego elements
  • Fold out paper backgrounds
  • Punch-out animation frames

The app doesn’t seem to be supported anymore, but any free app will do. In my apps review I cover various apps, the Mega Construx™ Stop Motion Builder free app might be a good match if you want it branded to brick based toys, otherwise the StickBot Studio app is better and free, but my favourite is Stop Motion Studio.

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Minecraft Stop Motion Animation Studio Playset

If your child loves Minecraft and you want them to spend less time playing on the computer, then this might be a creative solution for you. You do pay extra for the branding but all Minecraft toys are expensive, so there’s nothing new there, this however is very expensive for what it is. The figures are the same size as those sold in the mystery boxes. So if you want to give a gift that will appeal, this is a great addition and can get your Minecraft crazy kids doing something in the real world for once!

What you get:

  • 15 props and 4 mini figures
  • 4 backgrounds
  • Stage
  • Free app to download

Again you can use any stop motion app for this.

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StikBot Animation Studio Pro by Zing

This is a fun package for kids that like film making with stop motion, it really encourages you to make a complete film and add sound, titles, effects and then share to the community. You have everything you need in the box (apart from the phone) and then you will need to download the StickBot Studio app for free, and its a great app. Most of the packages that require a phone and app, don’t have a phone holder included which is a real pain, but this one has a mini tripod with phone holder, which is really helpful. It is a little cheap (and I’d recommend securing the tripod to the table with a bit of blutack), but for the price it’s fantastic value.

This is the box set containing the following:

  • 2 characters
  • a mini tripod with phone holder
  • a reversible green-screen/blue-screen background

What’s really nice about this product is the community of StickBot enthusiasts who regularly upload their films to the  Stikbot Central on YouTube. So you can share your film, and watch other’s to get ideas.

The characters have little suction pads on their feet and hands so that they can stick to a surface, making it easier to animate. You can also buy a wide variety of StickBot characters, including animals.

If you already have a tripod and holder, why not just get the characters, you can download the app for free, or any other free stop motion app to use with them.

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Ani-Mate,  Make Your Own Movie

Winning the Independent Toy Awards in 2014, it’s not the best product in the range now. The phone stand is cardboard, so will likely move when you take a picture. However it’s not expensive, so it could be a gift option if you are on a budget.

What you get:

  • 8 blocks of modelling clay
  • Props
  • Backdrops and a stage
  • Instruction booklet

All in all it is a bit flimsy, so it’s worth paying a bit more for one of the other kits. If you are on a real budget I’d recommend simply buying a pack of plasticine and downloading a free app!

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Zoetrope and Praxinoscope Toys

Animation Kits that require no gadgets at all! If you want to get your kids away from the screen, but they are interested in animation this is the solution for you! It’s also a great way to introduce a bit of history too, as it’s based on a Victorian toy… and science, it’s a great illustration of the persistence of vision optical illusion. Some kids can spend hours watching these spinning actions before creating a new one to watch.

What’s the difference? A Zoetrope requires you to look through slots to see the image move, whereas the Praxinoscope uses mirrors.

 

BusyBody Animation Toy by Eye Think

A lovely kit for learning about character movement.

What you get:

  • 10 bendy characters
  • Easy to follow visual guides
  • Mirrored turntable

This is a very immediate kit, just position the characters and spin the turntable. It’s a great way to learn about movement and the science behind how we see, as it clearly illustrates how ‘persistence of vision’ works.

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Kidz Labs Animation Praxinoscope

This is the same principal as the previous toy but uses drawings instead of bendy characters. It also features a lightbulb so that you can view it at night which is fun. It would be nice if there was a booklet with ideas, and an explanation of the science and history, but as it is its simple and fun and good value.

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Zoetrope Animation Toy by Toy Replica

This is a lovely small Zeotrope toy with 18 pre-printed animated strips to watch and 6 blanks to make your own. Very simple and effective, and nice to have plenty of examples to watch before making your own.

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I hope you have found this review of stop motion animation kits for kids useful! Please leave a comment to let me know which kits you have used.

Thank you.

Lucy Lee

6 Comments

  1. I have a little granddaughter who would probably have a ball stop motion animation. She is very much into technology and she’s only five years old. I wonder what kind of imagination she would use to create her own stop motion animation puppets.I read you other article and was quite pleased and decided to browse, this article caught my attention due to my little granddaughter.Thanks for providing information on how I can build a stronger relationship with my granddaughter as well as have some fun time.

    • Thanks Jag, so glad to have been able to help! Animation is great for kids, it brings together so many different skills and things to learn about. She can have fun making puppets out of clay, and then see them come to life, which is amazing for a five year old! Then she can be learning about optical illusions too, since thats what it is, and she can use technology to create things. Art, science and technology all in one – better still its fun, and magical. The great thing is that, like you say, by finding an activity that brings together interests that children already have, and have fun doing it together, we build stronger relationships. Thanks for the comment!

  2. So it seems stumbling onto your site is now something I may be able to use.  I have a seven year old grandson that loves stuff like this.  I am seeing a Christmas present coming from here.  All I need to do now is re read your reviews and see which one I will buy or how many I will buy.  Thank you for taking the time to write such great information.

    • Thanks Dale, so glad I can help. Seven is a great age to learn about animation! As you can see some kits are better than others, and some are great value too. There is a range here so I think there is something to suite each family and child, as we are all different. They do make great gifts, and if your grandson enjoys it, thats a hobby that can grow and grow, as there is so much more that can be done with stop motion!

  3. Hi, Lucy–thanks for the post. I appreciate you sharing all of this good information. I had no idea that such a product line existed, let alone that it was available for kids. Sounds like a great mom/dad son/daughter project to try out. It also sounds like this could be the kind of thing that could quickly turn into a hobby, either for the parent or for the kids. And, as we know, hobbies can sometimes turn into careers. For example: Steven Speilberg, Stanley Kubrick. Your post was enlightening. 

    • Thanks for your comment Kevin, yes these products are relatively new. Stop motion animation is getting quite popular now that there are apps and smartphones making it completely accessible to people. But there are loads of people who still don’t know about the creative things you can do with phones now. The lovely thing about the kits are that they make lovely gifts and some are branded to products that children already love, which is great for easing them into other creative fields. As you said hobbies sometimes become careers! Thanks for the post!

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