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Kid Movie Making Ideas: 3 Question Interview with Daddy STOP MOTION Animator, Dave DiBartolo

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When it comes to Kid Moviemaking Ideas, Lego Stop Motion is super, super high on the list. Not only does it allow our little ones to generate fun stories that can be easily captured, but it also extends the creative thinking to constructing worlds, and engaging problem-solving skills in not only the child, but parent as well.

After fellow parent, David DiBartolo completed his Fine Arts degree he landed in the world of video, and now applies these skills at home with his son Drew. Below he shares some tips and tricks for parents looking to get into Lego moviemaking. Also, don’t forget to comment for free access to the film Creativity in Education: Exploring the Imbalance.

See Also: 3 Question Interview with Professional Stop Motion Animator Alex Kobbs

How did you get into making Lego videos with your little one?

When my son Drew was four he got his first Lego set, a Star Wars spaceship of some kind. I noticed he had some really imaginative play with just the ship and the three characters that came along. I thought it would be a great idea to film him and capture some of the great stories he was telling. As his/our passion for Lego grew we began watching some really great stop-motion Lego movies on YouTube, and it was Drew who suggested we try to make our own.

Like any creative endeavor, it began very basic. I wanted to find a way to make it easy for a four/five year old to make his own movies as well as keep his attention so he doesn’t get board of the monotony of the stop-motion process.

We had no lights or tripod. I chose the brightest room in our house and suggested we shoot on my iPhone as appose to the DSLR cameras that many of the YouTube videos are shot with. As for a stop-motion app, we landed on the “LEGO Movie” app. It has some canned effects, stock music, and a pretty simple UI for a four/five year old to grasp.

Kid Moviemaking Ideas: Dave and Drew setting up a shot in one of their movies.
Kid Moviemaking Ideas: Dave and Drew setting up a shot in one of their movies.

Can you tell us a little about the Lego Stop Motion App? How easy is it to use? Do you need to know about Stop Motion and Movie Making?

The “LEGO Movie” app is pretty simple. It gives you the option to chose your focal point, turn on the flash on your phone, and use it as a light. An “onion layer” option so you can see the previous shot for a fluid sequence. As well as some pre-canned effects and music to help make the post-production of the video a little easier.

What advice can you offer parents looking to make Lego videos with their kids?

Start simple and plan out the story before going into the shoot. Drew and I have a “pre-production” meeting where I try to limit his grand ideas into a simple story. He has a great imagination and sometimes imagines stories that would rival most summer blockbuster films.

The best thing I learned is to give him rules to work within, otherwise he’d either get frustrated, or bored, and not want to finish – or we’d end up working all night!

I have him choose a hero, a villain and some supporting cast. I also have him choose one location and work the story around that location. I ask him what problem his hero has to solve. If the solution begins to get a bit too violent I ask him what his hero could do to avoid the violence. Asking questions about his story really helps hone in on the core of the story he is trying to tell. I let him create the story I just guide him in a positive direction.

Sometimes he gets really excited about his idea and I suggest we draw storyboards so when we go into filming I can refer to this so he stays on task.

As for useful equipment, using a tripod and/or a studio light help. The main reason is to get a level steady shot and try to even out the light, so the shadows don’t get too heavy.

Check out one of Drew and David’s films below.


COMMENT BELOW for FREE FILM on Creativity in Education

You can also view the entire film for free by simply commenting on one of our articles. Anyone who shares or contributes content via the comments below* will receive a FREE download to Creativity in Education: Exploring the Imbalance.

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3 Question Interview with Kids Cooking Activities Blogger, Debbie Madson

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Whether it is creating food that looks fun and appealing or discovering what spices go with what flavors, cooking is a great way to practice your creativity.

 – Debbie Madson

I am extremely lucky to live within an Italian family that takes great pride in making and preparing food. My eldest has observed these creative acts in the kitchen with great interest, and now enjoys any opportunity to make and create in the kitchen. Unfortunately, I am still pathetic when it comes to cooking, and am at a lost on how I might better support and facilitate Kids Cooking Activities.

Debbie Madson is a Web Publisher and Author, who has published several sites and books on the subject. Most of her time is spent at kids-cooking-activites.com, a site dedicated to teaching kids cooking skills and easy to do recipes (and this is a fantastic blog – I can only hope that one-day mine will be half as successful!). In this 3 Question Interview, Debbie shares her ideas on how to engage children’s creative thinking in the kitchen.

SEE ALSO: Creativity for Everybody: 3 Question Interview with Creativity Export, Jane Harvey

 

1. Cooking and Creativity – what’s the connection?

Whether it is creating food that looks fun and appealing or discovering what spices go with what flavors, cooking is a great way to practice your creativity. If you can make cooking fun and bring in a level of creativity kids will learn to enjoy working in the kitchen. One of my favorite ways to do this is to give kids a plate of chopped vegetables for a vegetable platter and ask them to create a masterpiece. They’ve made turkeys for the Thanksgiving dinner, a house design with flowers and trees as a landscape and even Picasso like designs.  

Cooking also provides opportunities for problem solving and learning without children even realizing it.  By teaching kids how to half or double recipes you are showing them how to use math skills in everyday life. Or learning how to read a recipe carefully so you don’t forget an ingredient or skip a step gives them practice in reading skills. There may be mistakes made while cooking and being able to have kids stop and figure out what went wrong and how to make it better or do it over can provide great problem solving skills as well.

2. In what ways can parents introduce young children to cooking?

Getting children interested when they are young is a great opportunity to get them more involved in healthy eating. However, don’t feel it is too late if your kids are older.

When you are beginning allow your child to work alongside you by stirring food, adding ingredients into a mixing bowl or choosing recipes to try. These simple tasks will help them feel like they are making and creating meals.  Also talk to them while you are cooking. Teach them about the different ingredients you are using, where they come from and what kind of food our bodies need.

As they gain experience add on more age appropriate tasks such as whisking eggs, peeling carrots or measuring ingredients.

Lucas and the four stages of Pizza Making. Disclaimer: This activity was led by my wife. I was just an observer.
My eldest demonstrates the FOUR STAGES OF PIZA MAKING. Disclaimer: This activity was led by my wife. I was just an observer.

3. I confess I can’t cook. I burn everything and make a huge mess in the process. What advice do you have for Dads like me?

If you are a beginner cook start with some basic ideas such as boiling water for pasta and adding a sauce. Starting with prepared ingredients can also build your confidence. To make a basic chicken soup you could start with a can of chicken broth, shredded chicken (I like to use the Rotisserie chicken already cooked from the grocery store) and chopped carrots. Keeping it simple when you are beginning sometimes is a great way to ease yourself into learning how to cook.


 

COMMENT BELOW for FREE FILM on Creativity in Education

You can also view the entire film for free by simply commenting on one of our articles. Anyone who shares or contributes content via the comments below* will receive a FREE download to Creativity in Education: Exploring the Imbalance.

If you choose to comment via social media be sure to sure to include reference to #dadsforcreativity or share from our Facebook page. We’ll follow up with details via a private message.

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Creativity for Everybody: 3 Question Interview with CREATIVITY EXPERT, Jane Harvey

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‘Too many people think creativity is exclusive to the arts and don’t understand that creativity is about a way of thinking and seeing’

-Jane Harvey

‘I’m not creative – I don’t know where they get their creativity from!’ I’ve heard this sentence uttered far too many times from fantastic and highly creative adults – many of them parents. We are all creative! We have natural characteristics that help us think creatively, and the challenge is to continue to develop and nurture these natural characteristics as we grow. As parents one of the ways we can support this effort is by developing a better understanding of creativity and challenging some of the misconceptions that exist within society. In this 3 Question Interview, Jane Harvey who recently co-authored a book called ‘Creativity for Everybody’ will challenge this misconception and explain how creative thinking expands far beyond the arts.

SEE ALSO: Parent Partners in Education: A Beginners Guide to Creativity

What do you consider to be some of the greatest myths about creativity?

Myth: Some people are born creative and some are not. I would prefer to say that it varies in how people find their way into (or out of) creativity.

Myth: Creative people are the odd weirdo-types. Yeah, thanks.

Myth: Too many people think creativity is exclusive to the arts and don’t understand that creativity is about a way of thinking and seeing. I have heard from parents “you can either choose a career that will earn money, or you can choose the arts and not make money”. Why is it either/or? Why can’t the arts be integrated into everything, so our brains get play time and freedom of expression for the full benefit for learning?

What advice do you have for parents who what to cultivate creative thinking skills at home?

Encourage multiple perspectives of a situation. Not everyone thinks the same or sees the same. Have your children get into a habit of considering different views and then talk about it. To build fluency and flexibility for creative thinking, kids need to try out alternatives. There is no one right answer, but we all get caught up in the mindset of efficiency and immediacy. Have your children think beyond a fast answer, and play along yourself. Reward imagination, curiosity, and deep thought.

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Jane with her daughter, Molly Gibbs (who took the photo above) Jane says she encourages her twin daughters to think for themselves and honor their need for freedom to play and think and explore.

What are some of the creative characteristics that you’ve seen in your children and how have you tried to nurture these skills at home?

I don’t see myself as intentionally nurturing creative skills in my daughters (age 17 identical twins). I encourage them to think for themselves and honor their need for freedom to play and think and explore. I support their interests and strongly believe in variety and diversity and making ‘newness’ available to them. I am accessible when they have questions. Teenagers are a different kind of creature. I don’t have the same influence or access as when they were younger, so it’s hard to take credit for their creative characters now. They both have a great sense of humor and clever wit, are perceptive and intense. Deep thinkers, curious, thorough, they do have artistic sides. I mostly try to fan the flames of their creativity and just get out of the way!

SEE ALSO: 3 Question Interview with Kathryn Haydon, co-author of ‘Creativity for Everybody’

Creativity for Everyone is available to buy on Amazon. Alternatively, simply comment below or share this article on Facebook* for a chance to receive a FREE SIGNED COPY.

Jane Harvey is a freelance designer, graphic recorder, artist, and creativity consultant. She is valued for her openness, empathy, and humor, and skills in simplifying and designing content. She earned a Master of Science degree in Creativity, Creative Problem Solving, and Change Leadership from the Center for Studies in Creativity at SUNY Buffalo State, and has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Parsons School of Design.

*Remember to tag us in the share so that we know how to contact you.


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PLAY and CREATIVITY: 3 Question interview with Play Expert, Jeff Smithson

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‘Play is a space of discovery. It is how we originally approach the unknown: with a sense curiosity and wonder.’

– Jeff Smithson

Our writing on this blog primarily centers on the recognition and celebration of childhood creativity. We look for ways to identify and nurture creative thinking skills at home, and often find that many of these characteristics will manifest when kids play. In this 3 Question Interview with Play Expert Jeff Smithson, we explore what we mean by play, and how we as parents might better create the opportunities where it can flourish.

What do you consider Play? For instance are we talking about rough and tumble play, imaginative play, and the ‘playing’ of video games in the same sentence?

The word Play is similar to the word Love in that it covers an enormous spectrum of possibilities: from the mundane to the sacred. Like the word Love there is great value in a person or a family examining what Play means to them.

Play is a space of discovery. It is how we originally approach the unknown: with a sense curiosity and wonder.

My definition of the word Play changes depending upon who is in the room. Play has an openness that encompasses what and who are present in the moment. While it may be helpful to learn the appropriate developmental (play) stages for a specific age, learning to be in the playful space for one’s self, discovering Play as a state of being is of great benefit; you teach play through sharing your own playfulness and through mirroring what your child shares.

Optimally, Play is a space of freedom, a space of discovery that allows you to both be who you are AND, simultaneously, who you are becoming. In imagining, pretending, stretching and striving kids and adults develop themselves and each other. 

In what ways does play support childhood development and the cultivation of creative thinking skills in your children?

In working with professionals in the field of Early Childhood Education I learned about 3 ways that parents/educators can engage their children in play (in increasing levels of involvement):

  • Observation: Set up a safe play area and allow the child to explore and discover on their own. Self-facilitated play offers opportunities for self-discovery. While they play ask yourself some questions:
    • What if your child is your teacher?
      • What are you able learn from your child?
    • How do they approach new experiences?
    • What have they learned from you? vs. What have they discovered on their own?
  • Direction: Most children appreciate structure and rules. From the sidelines we can offer instructions, suggestions or encouragement. In instances of play, I believe it is important that we share without an insistence upon it being done the “right” way. I once met a poet from Northern Ireland who’s goal as a parent was to pass as few of his own neurosis on to his children.
  • Participation: Be a partner in Play. Take off the “Parent hat” and get on the same level as your kiddo. Shifting your physical perspective to that of the child is not only helpful in bonding it also offers insights into how they see the world.
  • Feigned Ignorance is a fun way to empower your child to be your teacher. Try using an object for something it is not (think banana as a telephone); This can elicit both laughter and learning.
  • Don’t be afraid to be Silly! Play with sounds, facial expressions, repeated gestures.
  • Use “I don’t know. What do you think?” or “Let’s figure it out together.”
  • And, keep in mind, the wonderful “What if…?”.

SEE ALSO: Creativity for Everybody: 3 Question Interview with Kathryn Hayden

How might parents better facilitate and guide the type of play that is particularly conducive for Creativity?

Imagine Play as a state of being accessed by a connection with breath, a deep listening and curiosity without agenda.

  • Alphabet Animals (“the car ride game”):
    • An Angry Ant in Atlanta that Ate Apples at Airplane school.
      • It doesn’t have to make sense!
      • [Structure: adjective, animal, (job?) who verbs in a place]
  • Story structure:
    • Once upon a time there was a _________.
    • Every day ___________.
    • One day ____________.
    • Because of that __________.
    • Because of that __________.
    • Because of that __________.
    • Until finally: ____________.
  • What’s in the Box?

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As parents we are both conscious and unconscious models of behavior for our children. Play allows us to highlight transparency in our own learning process. By sharing both what and how we discover our kids will witness a parallel to their own experience of learning and becoming.

For many years Jeff has worked with kids with chronic and life-threatening illnesses as part of The Big Apple Circus Clown Care program and Paul Newman’s The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp: Hospital Outreach Program. He also teaches in the Physical Theater department at Trinity Rep/Brown University, and founded Proponent of Play in 2011. You can more about Jeff and his work at Proponentofplay.com, or alternatively check out his awesome TEDX talk below.


FREE FILM for parents and educators

You can also view the entire film for free by simply commenting on one of our articles. Anyone who shares or contributes content via the comments below* will receive a FREE download to Creativity in Education: Exploring the Imbalance.

If you choose to comment via social media be sure to sure to include reference to @dads4creativityor share from our Facebook page. We’ll follow up with details via a private message.

 

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