Online Animation

Create a short cartoon that tells a story. 

Every member will need a computer with Internet connection for this project. It is helpful if youth begin this project with a story in mind, perhaps from the beginner-level project Storyboarding.


Before leading this project with a group, create a free account on and share the login information with your members. This way, each member won't need to create an individual account.




What Will You Animate?

What do you think this video and this video have in common?

What is the simplest way you could describe animation? Do you have a favorite animation style? What are some examples? Now watch this video and listen for the main character’s definition of animation or read this article about different types of animation. What is one interesting thing you learned?

What would you enjoy making a short animation about? If you’ve completed the Storyboarding badge, you could animate the story from your storyboard. If you don’t have a storyboard yet, brainstorm some ideas for your animation.

Having trouble thinking of ideas? What if you made an animation about... 
-- A time when you overcame a challenge
-- A funny story that your family likes to tell about you
-- All the things that make your Club great
-- An alternative ending to your favorite book or movie
-- Your advice to youth thinking about joining the Club

You don’t have to write out every word for your script, but be sure to think about:
-- Setting: Where does your story take place?
-- Characters: Who is in this story?
-- Plot: How does your story begin? What happens in the middle? How does it end?

Begin the session with a quick warm-up by asking each member to share their favorite animated movie or TV show. Ask: What would you like to make animation about? Let members think of a few ideas on their own. Then use the idea prompts on the left to get their creative juices flowing even more. Next have members narrow their lists down to the one idea they are most excited about.

The next step is to write the story and make a storyboard. Remind members to keep it short and sweet.

Bear in mind, as an alternative, members could do this project as a follow-up to Storyboarding, in which case members would use the story idea from that project.


Animate It

Open the online animation program PowToon. Sign up for a free account or ask your Club staff to create a Club account. Once you have confirmed your account through your email, start creating.

You can get familiar with PowToon by using one of their templates. The key to figuring out any new program is playing around and experimenting with it as much as possible. If you like to learn a little before diving right in or if you get stuck while using the program, PowToon has a lot of tutorials.

You might create a PowToon account for the entire Club and let all of your members log in with the same username and password.

Say: "The key to figuring out any new program is playing around and experimenting with it as much as possible. If you like to learn a little before diving right in, or if you get stuck while using the program, PowToon has a lot of tutorials." Share the PowToon QuickStart Guide page.

You could watch a tutorial or two as a group or let members begin playing around in the program and refer to the video tutorials as needed.

Maybe you would like to create an example animation of your own to share with students. This blog post has some great examples using the PowToon templates.


Get Some Early Feedback

Instead of waiting until you’re completely finished to show off your work, it is a good idea to ask friends for feedback on what you’ve done “so far.” When you have made some progress on your animation, share it with someone else. You might ask, “What do you think about this?” or “Do you think it would be better if . . . ?” Use the suggestions and ideas to edit your animation.
When members are about halfway done with their animations, call for a time out. Ask them to partner up and watch each other’s work-in-progress animations. Tell them to ask each other questions. For example:

-- What do you think about ...?
-- Do you think it would be better if ...?
-- What was your favorite part?
-- Was there a part you didn’t really get?


Animation Options

How did your animation compare to other animations you’ve seen? What’s the last animated movie you saw? Animation today is mostly digital, but people have been trying to make their drawings “move” for hundreds of years. Check out the History of Animation to see how animation has changed over time.

If you really like to draw, you could try out the old-school animation technique of making a flip-book. Want to try it out? Check out the tutorial How to Make a Flip-Book.

If that sounds like way too much drawing, maybe you’d prefer stop-motion animation.
After members have finished their animations, ask what everyone thought about making digital animation. Ask if they know of other ways to make animations. Two other options are drawing and stop-motion.

If youth are interested in drawing, check out the tutorial How to Make a Flip-Book. If they want to give stop-motion a try, line up the project Producing a Stop-Motion Movie.


Share Your Work

Gather a group and show your video. Upload your finished PowToon to YouTube and upload your video’s URL to earn a star.
If several members do this module, make a special event of screening the videos. Invite other Club members, facilitators, parents and even community members. Use a projector to show the videos. You could even serve popcorn.

 Module Completed?

Notify your staff that you've completed this activity!

Ready to share your project?

Upload your favorite project to be featured!


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