“Charley says…” BFI kids online

The British Film Institute have put up a collection of films for under-5s online. It’s a real mixed bag! Some of them I remember from childhood – LOTS of public safety films for children, the best ones being the “Charley Says…” series.

I’m not sure many 21st Century Children will really enjoy some of them – black and white is a hard sell to under-5s these days, but the Charley films are funny and informative, with messages that are still relevant to children now. Take a look πŸ™‚

Oh yes, and they are all free to view..

The Brilliant Book Trust

I’ve posted about the Book Trust’s resources earlier, but they are adding loads of great stuff to their site, including e-books and drawing tutorials with some of the best children’s illustrators.

Have a look, link below! (Ooh, that sounds like something a pirate might shout!) πŸ˜‰


And here’s a video tutorial from the Book Trust’s website by their Illustrator in Residence Ed Vere:

Stay home, stay well, have fun and learn stuff! πŸ™‚

X Claire

Make your own 3D stop motion animation

How to Make your Own 3D Stop Motion Animation

Suitable for age 8 and up.

Hello! In this activity I’m going to show you how to make your own 3D stop motion animation using a mobile phone, the brilliant and easy-to-use Stop Motion Studio App, plus a few things you have around the house!

3D means “three dimensional”, which means that you can see round the sides of the characters and objects you’re filming. The Wallace and Gromit animations are a great example of 3D stop motion animation.

If you were making a “flat” animation, say like the Simpsons, where the characters and objects are drawn on a flat surface and you can’t see round the sides, this would be a 2D (two dimensional) animation.

You will need…


A smart phone (iphone or android work fine)

A desk lamp (don’t worry if you don’t have one, it’s not essential)

The Stop Motion Studio App – go to the App Store on your mobile and download it for free. Look for this logo:

A stand for your phone. If you don’t have one you can make one – here’s a video with some ideas: The coffee cup one works really well πŸ™‚


If this is your first 3D animation you can use lego characters, sylvanian families, or any little ready-made dolls or figures you have at home.

You can also make your own using plasticine or playdough. Plasticine is also called “modelling clay”.

Or you can get creative and improvise: Sea shells, stones, fruit and veg, acorns or pine cones can be adapted to make simple characters too πŸ™‚

You can also make a simple background by drawing it onto a piece of paper

Have a look at my example below using a  piece of paper, some card  and a cone for a hedgehog:

Make your animation!

Open Stop Motion Studio on your phone and click on the box called New Movie (it has a small cross in the middle) to start  creating your animation

Pop a few pieces of blue/white tack on the base of your stand to keep it stable and stick it to a table, worktop or shelf

Put your phone on your stand

Put your character on the table in front of your phone so you can see it on your screen

Click on the red button twice on the right of the screen. (Clicking twice slows down the speed of your animation, so if you want your characters to go fast, just click once)

Well done! You have just captured the first move of your animation.

Move your character a little bit (say 0.5 cm).

Click on the red button twice to take your second move.

Move your chacter a little bit and click the red button twice again. Then just carry on: move-click-click, move-click-click, move-click-click until you’ve finished filming what you character is doing.

To play back click the arrow under the red button. You have just made your first animation!

To see all the brilliant things you can do with this app, click on the ? button in the bottom right hand corner of the screen, also go to the settings logo, which is a cog-shaped icon.

Things you can do now: Save your film then send it to your friends!

Here’s a photo of the setup I used to make my animation – I used an ipad mini to make mine as my smart phone isn’t too smart!! :/ But it works the same.

I folded an A3 sheet of paper in half and drew a background on the top half and the ground on the bottom half, then used white tack to stick it to a big book to make it stand up.

I made a hedgehog from a cone, with stuck-on eyes and nose, then put a bit of white tack on the hedgehog’s bottom to make it stay upright.

I also made some trees from pieces of folded cardboard which I coloured in. They aren’t in this photo, have a look at the animation to see them)

Here’s my final animation – “Hedgehog in the Woods” πŸ™‚ It’s a bit wobbly in places, so see if you can do better.

Stay well, stay home, have fun and make an animation! πŸ™‚

Polar Bears and the Northern Lights

Creative learning activity – ages 8 and up

More bears! Well, they really are very cute and interesting! πŸ™‚

I’ve been researching polar bears for some prints and drawings I’m making, and was excited to find this resource at Polar Bears International

Here you can find out amazing facts about Polar Bears and their daily lives. And the resource they have that blew me away is Polar Bear Tracking,Β where you can actually click on a particular bear and its family and follow its route round the sea ice on Hudson Bay in Canada. Take a look!

They also have videos of the wonderful Northern Lights, including a live Northern Lights cam. See if you get lucky enough to view some live.

Check out the National Geographic website for more Polar Bear facts

Find out more about the Northern Lights here

Now over to you…

Use the Polar Bear International and National Geographic websites to find out as much as you can about Polar Bears. Write down all the things you think are most interesting about them.

Lots of artists and illustrators are inspired by Polar bears. Have a look at the gallery below for just a few examples of Polar Bear art..


Which one do you think is the most realistic? “Realistic” means like it is in real life. What is realistic about it? List the details. Which one is the least realistic? Why isn’t it realistic? What makes it look not real?

If you’re not sure, have a look at the photos of real Polar Bears below and compare them with the drawings.

Get Creative!

Have a look at the photographs above (or find some online) and choose one that you really like. Copy it using pencils and crayons. You can paint it if you like.

They are quite white, so you might think there is not a lot to draw, so make sure you draw the texture of the fur.

It’s also true that they are not pure white, they are kind of yellowy against the snow, and even a little bit pink-looking in some of the photos. (Why do you think they might look pinkish? I can’t be 100% sure, but maybe they are photographed at sunrise or sunset, and the colour of the light is reflected in their fur.) You can show this in your picture too.

Do a background too. You could maybe draw the Northern Lights as the background


There is a famous book called “Northern Lights” by Philip Pullman. It is the fantasy story of a girl called Lyra Bellacqua and her journey to the Arctic to find her friend Roger, and features a talking polar bear called Iorek Byrnison. It’s a great book, but a bit scary in places, and suitable for children age 10 and up.

Here’s a clip from the BBC adaptation of Lyra riding on Iorek’s back! – very cool but not very realistic! πŸ˜‰

That’s all for now, guys!

Take care, have fun, learn lots and stay safe! πŸ™‚


Booktrust – online activities for kids

The Book Trust in the UK have loads of great activities related to all things books on their website, take a look here, including drawing tutorials of Hiccup and Toothless by Cressida Cowell! Amazing!

There’s also competitions, quizzes and loads of great book recommends, specially good for this time when so many kids all over the world are at home.

Have a look at the Cressida Cowell drawings, then compare with the “How to Train Your Dragon” animation. Which do you prefer?

Here’s a brilliant clip from the movie… Take care and have fun πŸ™‚

Into Film: film-based activities for kids at home

Into Film is a brilliant organisation promoting film for Primary and Secondary age school kids in the UK, and they have sent out some downloadable cinema and film-based activities for kids stuck at home. (And there are a lot of you!)

A lot of them sound really fun and interesting (the ideal combo!) and are very doable at home πŸ™‚

I’ll post more links to cool at-home arts stuff as I get the info.

In the meantime, and on a film theme, take a look at this: “Steamboat Willie”, the First Mickey Mouse animation from 1928. It’s a bit crude in places but hilarious (specially if you’re five or six years old, as I have found when I showed it in a primary school!)

I’ll be posting info about how to make your own animations at home next week – animation has got a lot easier to do since 1928!



Make Your Own – Rocket Comic Book!

Make Your Own

Rocket Comic Book!


This latest downloadable make is now up on my DIY page

It’s a simple creative make for kids 7 and up, using basic, inexpensive materials. ClickΒ  to go to the DIY page and click on the Rocket Comic Book heading to download.

This fun make can be used to explore Science and Outer Space themes with children. Here’s a link to the NASA website to get you going!


I ran this workshop last year at a library. Here are some pics from the day – more inspiration! πŸ™‚

Samurai Warrior Costume

Here’s another make you can do at home. To find out how to make it, go to to my DIY pageΒ  and download the instructions there.

Have fun!

Make Your Own

Samurai Warrior Costume!



Easy make. Some help with stapling and cutting from a grownup required.

Suitable for ages 5 and up.

If you are educating at home, then use this fun activity to do research into Japan and Japanese culture. Here’s the Wikipedia link to get yopu going. Have fun and learn LOTS!


Just to let you know, there were women samurai warriors too. Go girls!