WOW!

MARQUETTE- The Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum has a lot of fun programs for children to enjoy throughout the year, and this year it’s adding one more that will give children of all ages a chance to learn the ins and outs of animation.

WOW Animation is a new program at the U.P. Children’s Museum for children in kindergarten through 12th grade. The program will focus on stop motion only. The children will work with different animation techniques and will create different pieces, like animated movies and films, said Masha Kakhova, WOW Animation program coordinator.

“In stop motion, every frame is a picture. You have to move an object, take a picture, move an object, then take a picture,” she said. “You run the sequences and then you have an animation on your screen. This is what we’ll be doing.”

The children will have an opportunity to do 2-dimensional animation, claymation, brick filming and pixelation. The 2D animation will be shot from the top and use flat objects made of paper. Claymation will be shot using special modeling clay that doesn’t dry up.

Brick filming uses different building toys like Legos for the animation. Pixelation is animation done with objects. For example, the children can take recycling materials and do something fun or artistic with the materials, Kakhova said.

“Let’s say you have a cup and a phone and they’ll be talking to each other or you have a banana and you cut a piece and take a picture and cut a piece and take a picture, so in the end you have a banana that eats itself,” she said.

According to Kakhova, the program is still in the beginning stages, but right now there is a class focusing on cutout puppet animation scheduled. The class will run from 5-6:45 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays starting April 22. Children 6 to 8 years old can attend Tuesday classes and those 9 years old and older can attend on Thursdays. The class is $80 per student.

“It’s a paid program, but we’re doing as much as possible to make it affordable, so we had a couple of fundraisers to get started with the equipment,” Kakhova said.

Kakhova said the hope is to eventually make the classes self sustainable so it can a free program for children. This class offers something that the schools don’t and gives children opportunities to learn more about how animation works, she said.

“It’s a very good subject to teach kids because you’re doing your own film and learning to do your own thing,” Kakhova said. “It’s storytelling art, it’s intelligency, it’s verbal skills and it’s a way that kids can express themselves creatively. We are also talking about crafts. It’s art, we’re crafting, it’s motor skills and maybe even learning a little bit about color theories and composition.”

The children will learn about the technology that’s used to create these animations and will be able to use a user friendly program to put the project together, she said.

“Working on an animation project like this, a child can go out with a pretty good set of skills and knowledge, and not just how to press the buttons,” Kakhova said.

For more information about WOW Animation visit www.upchildrensmuseum.com or email to animationwow@gmail.com. An open house is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 12 at the UP Children’s Museum.

Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243.