Looking for a way to keep the kids busy? Make a movie. Everyone’s got a digital camera (or mobile phone) with movie function these days so the equipment is pretty much covered. The props, costumes and background can be as simple or as complicated as you want them to be. With younger children, I would suggest going easy on the detail. If it takes too long to create, they may lose steam before the project is over. As always, follow your child’s interest and you won’t go wrong.
We stumbled on this one by accident but I’ve discovered it’s a great way to keep the kids busy for a few afternoons – and it will also teach them a thing or two about what goes into making the movies they enjoy watching. It does help if the kids are all old enough to participate but we managed to get it all done with Hercules thwarting our every effort as he tries to steal and destroy all our props.
Once it was completed, I suggested he re-enact some scenes from Jurassic Park which then prompted him to request that I record it just like I did for his puppet show. One thing led to another and soon we were re-making the Jurassic Park Trilogy.
The recording of his trilogy gave me the window to talk to him about how movies are made – the role of the director, producer, etc. Somewhere along the way, Aristotle wanted to make DVDs of his movie which meant having artwork for his DVD covers. I did recommend that he draw them but he said he wanted to take photos instead. This was all done on the spur of the moment so we had to improvise a lot with materials – thread to make the helicopter appear as if it’s flying, a board we happened to have lying around for the backdrop, etc.
Making movie is also a great way of helping children to address their fears when watching anything deemed “scary” on TV because you can talk about how the directors create the effect on camera. Some time back, Aristotle watched Star Wars and he found the character Darth Maul scary. To help him address the fear, I took him through a Youtube video of how Darth Maul’s makeup is put on. With Darth Maul unmasked, Aristotle was no longer afraid.
There is really no end to the options you can get into when making a movie. Depending on your child’s interest, you can cover those areas with more detail while you skim over the other areas deemed less interesting by your child. The best part of making a movie is probably the part where your child gets to watch themselves on camera – young children are ego-centric and rarely tire of watching videos of themselves. Siblings and other relatives can also get in on the action by participating in a “private screening” of your child’s movie.