Make Your Own Minecraft Stop-Motion Movie

Minecraft Stop-Motion Animation Studio

Do you ever get a cool educational toy or game and it sits in the box for a really long time because, well, you’d have to read the instructions and you simply cannot imagine putting one more thing into your overloaded homeschool parent brain?

Uh-huh.

Well, that happens to our family A LOT.

So I felt pretty accomplished last Sunday when I pulled one of Jack’s birthday gifts off the shelf. It was this uber cool Minecraft Stop-Motion Animation Studio ($24 on Amazon.com ). 

Minecraft Stop Motion Movie Maker Screen

The boys and I were spending a Sunday alone together while Daddy was away teaching. The kids get pretty excited about “mommy days” because I am a bit more lenient toward electronics play. Let me tell you we played with the Minecraft Stop-Motion Animation Studio for the better part of three hours and electronics were completely tossed aside.

Hello?!

The boys set up the movie scene while I read the instructions. This is so easy it’s shameful I didn’t take it out of the box before!

Image result for minecraft stop motion movie creatorAll you do is download the Minecraft Stop-Motion Movie Creator App to your phone or iPad. It’s FREE, btw. I chose my phone because it’s easier to balance on the frame provided in the kit. You can use your iPad, however.

The first couple of films were crazy-fast until we learned to slow down the frame-rate in the edit feature.  We also had to learn to make small movements for each shot. Otherwise, the film looks too jerky. You can also choose music, sound effects, and backgrounds for your title cards. Too cute. The boys quickly got the hang of it and made a batch of films. Here is one Eli made for you to see:

 

I love finding offline adventures that support the boys’ online passions. Now I am off to figure out how to make  three headed Wither Boss and massive Enderdragon Halloween costume. Sheesh!

Hope you enjoy making movies. Happy Homeschooling!

Kate

PS: Some of the links above are affiliate links which means at no additional cost to you I earn a small commission on those links where you click and purchase. Thank you for your support in this small way!

More Minecraft Offline

How We Made a Life Size Minecraft Nether Portal

We do a project every summer. One year it was a life-size Angry Birds game. Another year we made a pulley and weight system using the swing set. This year we decided a Minecraft Nether Portal fit the bill.

Why not, right?

As you may already know, my boys are crazy for  Minecraft and we use Minecraft quite a bit in our homeschooling.

I love taking online concepts and turning them into offline projects. It’s captivating for the kids and a challenge to move from a two dimensional world to a three dimensional creation.

Our Minecraft Nether Portal project began simply enough. I purchased a quantity of 14 boxes measuring 14 x 14 x 14 at Walmart for $0.60 each along with two cheap rolls of black duct tape for $1.99 each.

We closed all the boxes with the black duct tape and the boys helped me spray paint them solid black. We did this in batches, maybe four or five at time. I think I actually finished these in our living room on top of craft paper.

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Crazy, right?

Next, I had to figure out how to add the cube texture. I am a big fan of creating repeatable processes so I cut out a 14 x 14 cardboard square from some scrap cardboard that I am sure came from Amazon.com (egad, we sure have a lot of Amazon.com boxes, lol!).

I then used a ruler to trace the cube pattern, using an image on the Internet as a guide. It’s important to note that this doesn’t have to be exact. Once you paint the boxes the overall effect will be there, so don’t strive for perfection.

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We pinned the cardboard template to each box with straight pins and Eli globbed on the purple paint. For a little guy, he’s got pretty strong fingers and was able to get the boxes sprayed well! After box number three, we ditched the straight pins because they took too long to insert and remove. By that time our template was pretty heavy with wet paint so we didn’t get any bleeding under the edges.

DIY Minecraft Nether Portal boxes drying in back yard

All those pretty boxes sat in my dining room, stacked to the ceiling for about a month. That was the less appealing part of this project I have to admit. Cardboard doesn’t store very well outside and takes up A LOT of room inside.

Our next challenge was how to connect the boxes. Stacking the vertical columns was easy enough, but floating the top section made the boys think.

We tried duct tape and the boxes fell right apart.

We tried pins and they weren’t strong enough.

Finally, we decided to use PVC! We had a nice section left over from a PVC project and it fit perfectly across the four upper row of boxes. I used a super-sharp exacto knife to trace a hole around the PVC pole and made sure the hole landed in the same spot on every side of every box.

Homemade Minecraft Nether PortalNow we had to add our purple “haze” that Minecrafters must walk through to enter and exit the portal. We tried a purple sheet, but it was too difficult to navigate. We looked at cutting out purple construction paper spirals, but that seemed pretty work intensive. Finally, we decided on purple crepe paper streamers which was ideal! This gave us the effect we wanted, yet still allowed the boys to walk through the opening with ease.

Sweet! The boys were pretty psyched and also proud of the weeks and week of hard work they put into this.

I was, too! Now the boxes are sitting in my front entry way. Sigh. Hopefully this weekend we will move them to the attic to wait for Halloween. What an epic decoration this will make for our front porch! Yeah!

If you’re making your own Minecraft Nether Portal please share the resulting pics in the comments below!

Happy homeschooling,
Kate

Minecraft Offline: Activity Books

Have Minecraft, Will Travel!

We learned the hard way from our first trip to South America that we have to bring more stuff for the kids to do. A week or so before the trip, I searched Amazon for small travel games and activity books that would be easy for the boys to carry in their backpacks.

Whilst searching Lego Star Wars theme, I somehow stumbled across these awesome Minecraft activity books

Score!

Although we had a laptop and wi-fi available in our Medellin apartment, I found both the boys picking these books up instead of playing Minecraft online. Huh, who-knew?

Stampy

 

Neither of my boys are huge fans of Stampy Cat, yet this $7.00 book they were crazy for.  The full color inside includes fun facts about Stampy and  his friends. I like how the book represents everything in graphs or charts that make it interesting to read and also shows my boys methods for representing data.

There are loads of silly jokes, hunt and finds, personalization questions “Would you rather “X” or “Y”” which my guys adore.

You’ll find mazes, craft ideas, cartoons and spot the differences.

Older kids will like the drawing tutorials (how to draw stampy) and crazy cartoons that ask the kids to add captions.

All in all for less than $10, we got a lot of mileage from this activity book and it certainly  kept Jack and Eli entertained at restaurants and waiting in lines.

Click to check it out: Stampy’s Lovely Book

 

Our next epic find was an even more hands-on book that comes in a series. I think we bought Volume 2 for $9.50.51mFWJERvHL._SX381_BO1,204,203,200_

Inside there are plentiful pages of mazes, very doable crosswords and Jack’s  new favorite: dot-to-dot.

The inside is black and white, so you could easily make copies for a whole group of kids or simply pass it along as your littles mature.

Eli is my little wordsmith and his favorite are the word scrambles! I loves decoding letters and figure out what they’re supposed to spell.

My favorite page was called “Fun Maths Coloring.” It required Jack (and me) to perform basic math for a multitude of little boxes. As we solved each box, the answer was color coded and Jack had to look at the key, and color the box respectively. By the time we finished all 300 math problems, we had a cool looking Wither Boss staring back at us.

Nice!

Click to check it out: Amazing Minecraft Activity Book Vol 2

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The last book I’ll list here is a comic book.

We didn’t happen to get this one, but I’ve just ordered it for the boys.

I don’t know what it is about comics and graphic novels, but my two boys cannot get enough of this genre! Especially, Eli. I swear that kid will read a monster size book as long as it’s a graphic novel. Huh!

It says over 350 color pages and the Amazon reviews are good. I’ll give it a whirl. For only $8.00, I don’t mind giving it a try. Me thinks this stuff will someday be collectors items anyway!

Click to check it out: Minecraft Comic Book Collection

 

 

So there you go! Taking that Minecraft Mania offline once more, we enjoyed several amazing dinners and quiet nights while the boys puzzled away in their activity books. Sigh…now if I could just fine some of that amazing South American steak and wine in Gainesville for only a few dollars…lol.

Happy homeschooling!

Kate

NOTE: This page contains affiliate links to Amazon.com. This means at no additional cost to you I earn a small commission on those links where you click and purchase. Thank you for your support in this small way!

 

Minecraft Homeschool Ideas

Creating Minecraft Homeschool Magic with Minecraft Mods

The Saturday just prior to Christmas 2012 I locked myself in my office while my hubs took the boys out for the day. My goal? To download the Fossils and Archeology mod and get it working on our new Minecraft PC game.

It took me five hours. Yes, that’s right. FIVE HOURS.

OMG!

Back then, Minecraft Mod Installers, like Skydaz,  didn’t exist, and because all the mods were created by different people, there wasn’t a standardized method for installing them.

Sigh. It was painful.

Computers are not my strong suit, but I did it. For any of you who have a Minecraft Homeschooler in your own home, you will appreciate what happened next.

On Christmas day, Jack played Minecraft with the Fossils and Archaeology mod for maybe 45 minutes. Then he turned his big, sweet head and politely exclaimed, “that was fun, may I have another mod now?”

I nearly died on the spot!

Yet, I wanted so badly to support Jack’s passion for technology. He had begun to play Minecraft at the age of four on my iPad. I downloaded the game after hearing it was similar to playing Legos, which Jack loves.

Minecraft Skydaz Bibliocraft Installer

Jack’s passion for computers drove him to adopt a fairly high skill level at a young age. Although other activities frustrated Jack immeasurably, the failures and missteps Jack experienced in Minecraft were simply challenges he wanted to figure out. Not sure how to navigate the “technology jungle,” I simply stood back and watched as Jack created amazing Minecraft worlds for hours at a time.

Our Minecraft Homeschool journey had begun!

I quickly got up-to-speed on modding and saw how these mods could change the learning experience of Minecraft to match our homeschool learning.

Studying ancient Egypt? Cool, try the Atum mod which adds pharoahs, pyramids, and holy smokes…sand storms!

Minecraft Atum Mod

Trying to understand biomes and a variety of natural environments? Check out the Twilight Forest mod, one of my all-time favorites filled with dense forests, butterflies, flowers and a large variety of forest creatures.

Minecraft Twilight Forest Mod

Curious about tornadoes? Experiment with a variety of twisters in the Weather and Tornadoes mod!

Minecraft TornAado Mod

 

Our younger son, Eli, has caught the Minecraft bug and roday we have two boys enrolled in our Minecraft Homeschool “academy.”

The boys’ zeal for Minecraft has most certainly supported their skill as early readers. Every block you place has a name you can read. One of Jack’s very first read aloud words happened to be “Amethyst,” which is one of the various minerals in the game. No kidding.

Minecraft has also helped our boys appreciate math. In the middle of an epic Minecraft build, Jack will sing out, “Mom, did you know that 64 x 12 is 768?” Or Eli will bellow, “Hey, 12 +12 is 24!” I LOVE learning play that reinforces math concepts.

Jack is now learning to write his own mods and there are so many free and low cost modding programs out there right now! I’ll write more about those in the next Minecraft post.

Until then, happy homeschooling!

Kate

Minecraft Offline: Perler Beads

Minecraft Perler Beads Homeschool Art

The passion for Minecraft came early to our home. My oldest was four when we first installed Minecraft on our iPad. Within minutes, Jack began creating these awesome worlds full of colorful blocks, rollercoaster minecarts, and epic mining adventures.

We learned about lapis lazuli. We learned that coal is more precious than cobblestone. We learned that trees are cut down to make houses and that natural resources are precious.

I knew right then and there that we had found a significant, homeschool learning tool.

Now my younger son, Eli, has joined the fun and you’ll find us playing Minecraft faithfully almost every day.

As unschooling homeschoolers, our family approaches learning by supporting our kids passion. Art isn’t always my boys’ passion, yet for some reason Perler beads really resonates with them and when you combine Perler beads with Minecraft…well, can you smell something epic cooking?

Yeah!

If you don’t know about Perler beads, may I recommend that you purchase the name-brand Perler beads and not a knock off? The knock-off brands are brittle and don’t seem to stick together and that just leads to tears (mine and my kids!) down the road.

We started our Perler bead collection with a tray of different colors Perler Bead Color Assortment and some simple Perler Bead Pegboards.

We then found some fun Minecraft Perler Bead ideas on the web and started “crafting” our own!

Minecraft Homeschool Perler Bead Art

The colors in the Perler Bead assortment tray, didn’t quite meet our Minecraft requirements, so we added the following colors to make sure we had flesh tone for Steve’s face, the best green for a creeper and zombie pigman, a light pink for the pig, and gray for the skeleton and ghast: Perler Bead Flesh Tone, Perler Bead Green, Perler Bead Gray, Perler Bead Light Pink.

Each of the Minecraft heads shown above are only eight beads across, which is nice because you don’t need a special size pegboard. Just use a regular square. The Minecraft swords we create on an extra large Perler bead pegboard, which I like because we can make several at once and the design just seems to work better with that sizing.

Minecraft-Perler-Beads-Home

As we iron our Minecraft figures, we like to leave at least one bead only slightly melted so that we can thread a string through and create necklaces and ornaments. These we give out as favors at birthday parties. It’s awesome!

Hope this gives you some inspiration for taking Minecraft-mania offline in your homeschool house. We love Minecraft and having offline activities helps us transition from PC to tabletop with ease!

Happy homeschooling,
Kate

NOTE: This page contains affiliate links to Amazon.com. This means at no additional cost to you I earn a small commission on those links where you click and purchase. Thank you for your support in this small way!