Creative ways to boost home learning
September marks the return to school after the holidays, an exciting time where children are meeting new teachers, new classmates and being introduced to a new learning curriculum. However, being faced with lots of unfamiliar and challenging things can also be daunting at times, especially after a break from classroom learning.
As parents, we want our children to have the best chances possible to improve their learning and understanding. Rather than piling on the pressure to practice their skills, there are fun and creative opportunities we can give children at home that allow them to re-engage their minds and take ownership of their learning.
Creative activities can help them to boost their development in ways they won’t even realise, equipping them with important skills in communication, leadership, scientific exploration, thinking, questioning, and observation. These are all integral parts of STEAM, which represents learning in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Maths.
STEAM learning is important because it involves coming up with creative solutions to real-life problems and leads to your child gaining a full understanding of how and why things work, which will help them succeed in the future.
Benefits of creative projects for learning
Creative activities, such as animation projects, are so great because they can provide innovative ways to boost children’s learning without being overtly academic. While for some children, taking on a complex science or engineering project is a fun challenge and a fantastic way to develop their logical thinking, others may be keener to express themselves creatively.
This is where creative technology toys can bridge the gap between science and technology knowledge and art, design and performance. It’s a great way to make the most of screen time too, because instead of being passive, it is providing active, social and creative play. For example, while children are producing their own TV show, they are developing key skills in leadership, communication and storytelling.
Investing in interactive and creative kits can encourage your child to create their own projects, while providing them with all of the equipment they will need.
HUE Animation Studio is an all-in-one movie-making kit for ages six and over, which includes everything you need to make your own film project, including a HUE HD camera with a flexible neck, HUE Animation software, digital resources such as sound effects, backgrounds and printable puppets and a 64-page book packed full of ideas and step-by-step instructions for creating your own animations with the software.
Additionally, the HUE HD Camera is compatible with video conferencing and video recording applications (such as QuickTime, Zoom, Google Meet, Facetime and Skype) which means children can use it in remote lessons or for filming plays and puppet shows.
The kit is also ideal for children to work together with friends or siblings to complete a project, improving their social and communication skills as they coordinate who does what. There are fantastic learning opportunities whether they are the performer, director, scriptwriter, sound designer or editor!
Below we have listed some creative project ideas to help you get started and allow your child to get the most learning benefits out of their filmmaking activities.
Ideas for projects that will boost STEAM skills
Film seeds growing over one week
Plant some seeds and use the time-lapse feature to take photos of them every day over a week, as they grow (beans and cress work well as they grow quickly). At the end of the week, they will be able to playback the video and see the changes that have occurred each day, which also teaches them about observation and cause and effect. Similarly, if you have a drooping houseplant, have your child water it and film the plant ‘coming back to life.
Create a stop-motion animation of building blocks or shapes
By using the camera to take a series of photos whilst building or creating patterns with shapes or blocks children can make a stop-motion animation. Working out what they need to change in each image capture to create an animated sequence also helps to develop their visual and logical thinking skills. Watch this video for an example of a stop-motion animation featuring composite shapes using pattern blocks:
Produce and present a TV show
This gives children the opportunity to take the creative lead on a project while expressing something that is important to them. Mini Attenboroughs could present facts about animals while exploring the garden, football fanatics could perform different ball tricks, while foodies might enjoy filming their baking attempts.
Direct a short film
Using the camera, children can create their own film, casting their friends, toys, or unwitting family members(!) and record different video clips for the ‘scenes’. Coming up with the main points of the plot and a beginning, middle and end teaches children valuable storytelling skills which help with their literacy, communication, and logical thinking skills. This video shows an example of a stop-motion animation describing a summer holiday adventure:
Create a learning video
One of the best ways we develop our understanding of a concept is by explaining it to others. Using stop-motion animation, children can boost their knowledge of scientific concepts such as the water cycle or the changing of seasons. Watch this video for an example of a stop-motion video project presenting the water cycle:
HUE also offers free Activity Guides to help children with their projects at home or in the classroom, providing inspiration and instructions to create a video or animation project from start to finish.
If you are looking for ways to kick-start your child’s learning from home as we enter the new school year, creative projects can provide a way to increase their engagement without piling on the academic pressure.
Encourage your child to experiment with some of the creative project ideas above and explore what they are interested in and would like to create. This will allow them to take ownership of their own learning while providing opportunities to develop their confidence and communication alongside other important STEAM skills.
Using hands-on technology such as HUE Animation Studio in their creative activities also offers ways to make screen-time more interactive and beneficial, by combining storytelling, arts, and creation with technology and filmmaking.