Most children love to watch movies, but some have the creativity and drive to make their own movies. Children can make movies with a video or film camera for live-action shots or by using computer software to produce animated movies. If you believe you have the next big Hollywood director at home, there is software out there to help your child take his first step toward fame.
The ParaToon Movie Series
The ParaToon Movie Series is designed for children aged 7 to 12. This software allows children to create three-dimensional interactive virtual worlds. Your kids create their own storylines and give life to virtual characters. ParaToon allows friends to share and edit one another's movies, or work together to complete their movie.
Magic Theatre and Haunted House
The Magic Theatre is designed for children who are 4 years old and up. This software brings together illustration, animation, narration and music to help your child begin her storytelling future. According to the software's web site, the Magic Theatre can be downloaded for free.
Haunted House is another software program, for ages 6 and up, available from the same manufacturer. The folks behind the series Rugrats, The Simpsons and Duckman have assembled animations to entertain your child and help him to put his own story together. Haunted House may be downloaded free, or purchased on a CD-ROM. Both Magic Theatre and Haunted House are made by the Instinct Corporation.
Kids Animation Maker
Another animation moviemaking program for kids is the Kids Animation Maker 1.1.1. This product can be downloaded for a free trial, and the full version is available for purchase. This beginning animation program is appropriate for children up to age 12.
Schools use this program to teach kids about animation, according to the software's web site.
Windows Movie Maker
For live-action movie making, there's Windows Movie Maker. If you already have Windows XP or Vista installed on the family computer, you don't have to buy anything. Import footage from the video camera and allow your child's creativity to come to life. Just select the software from your "Programs" folder in Windows. The Windows Movie Maker is appropriate for kids 10 and up.
For more realistic movies, and as an educational tool, try the online movie maker from National Geographic. The software, titled Wildlife Filmmaker, allows children to take live-action, pre-recorded footage of animals and use them to create their own movies. Your children can also add background music and animal noises to their creations, according to the software's web site. This software is appropriate for children ages 6 and up.