Flip Books for Fun and Learning
Kids Will Flip For Animated Flip Books
Flip books are low-tech fun that still appeal to kids today, especially if they are creating them themselves. It's not as difficult as you might think to make a flip book. Here I'll give you several easy ways to make them with normal office supplies that you probably have sitting around.
If you need a creative idea for a homeschool lesson plan, maybe making a flip book would work. Although very small children will probably find flip books too difficult to make, children in grades fourth grades and up can easily visualize and plan the frames needed for a small animated book. Younger children can play with pre-printed flip books that they cut out and assemble.
Cute Flip Book Example
How to Make a Flip Book
Choose Your Paper
You need at least 25 pages for your flip book. The more pages you have, the nicer it will be, so don't be afraid to go for 40 or 50 pages. The pages don't have to be large. Small strips or squares are best. You want something that is easy to hold in your hand and flip with your thumb.
Small pre-purchased notepads and notebooks can be great for flip books. Sticky note pads in the traditional two inch square size are perfect. And as a plus, they can be easily taken apart and re-aligned together. If you don't have little note pads, you'll have to cut small pieces to size.
A heavy weight paper works best for flip books since they are going to be handled a lot. Don't use flimsy paper.
Plan Your Action
Do some planning on scrap paper. Make some preliminary sketches, especially knowing where you will start and end and a few of the frames in between.
Use an example flip book like the big fish eating a smaller fish here to see how the changes in the art create the illusion of motion. Watch some of the videos linked below for more ideas. Make sure the flip book artist has an understanding of how the flip book works.
Draw Your Pages
Draw on one side or even in the bottom corner of your pages. Remember that one side will be bound or clipped together. You want your animation to be on the other side. Don't go past the middle of the page towards your bound edge. Keep all the art on the open side.
Start by drawing your beginning frame and ending frames on the first and last pages. Then draw some some in-between images. Continue filling in the action with transitions of action until your pages are filled. The formal word for filling in the frames in an animation so that the transition is smooth is tweening or morphing.
Loose pages are great for being able to move your drawings around and re order them if needed.
An easy option is to use rubber stamps or stickers. Your image will be static, but you can move it up and down the pages to give the illusion of motion. Try stamping partially off the page as a starting or ending point.
Check Your Work
Look at your action by flipping through the pages. Does it work? Where does the action jump too much? Add transition frames in those bad spots. Edit as necessary to make your animated flip book smooth.
Bind Your Book
When you are satisfied with your animation, Make a cover page and secure one side firmly with a binder clip. Enjoy your flip book!
Supplies For a Simple Flip Book
The standard two inch square post-it note is perfect for flip books. Choose a color that you can easily draw onto.
Clip one edge or securely with binder clips. They are far superior to simple paper clips when it comes to holding power.
Applications for a Flip Book - Or When Could I Use Flip Books for Homeschool?
Let me say right off the bat that flip books can be made purely for the fun of them. Even without tying them to a lesson plan, making a flip book is a critical thinking activity (more on that below). And it's crafty. So you can count the flip book as your art lesson if you'd like.
You can also study the history of movie making, animation, and the science of optics.
But if you want to tie a flip book into an academic subject, here are some ideas that work well.
steps in process
a seed germinating and growing
life cycles such as egg, larvae, chrysalis, and butterfly
growth and movement
an animal's motion
a ball hurtling through the air
a vehicle moving forward
an event from history
For a more advanced artist or a high school student, a flip book could actually recount a snipped of history. Imagine the apple falling on Issac Newton's head, Columbus's ship landing on the coast of Hispaniola, or the Great Chicago Fire starting in a barn.
A Flip Book How-to Manual Plus Supplies
This kit (perfect for gifting) contains not only directions for making flip books but also some reusable clips to hold the pages together and some markers.
Free Printable Flip Book Templates - Cut and Assemble
This collection of links is a hodgepodge of academic printables plus just for fun printables. But they all create flip books simply by cutting and assembling. Although they may not suit the topic you wanted to make a flip book for, at least they will give your children a clear idea of what a flip book is.
- Moon Phases Flip Book
This printable flip book has a movie of the moon's motion around Earth.
- Flight of the Short Nosed Fruit Bat
Forty-nine frames feature the motion of a flying bat.
- Flip Book Coloring Page
An animated crayon draws a heart in this printable flip book.
- Cosmic Kanga
A fantasy styled black and white flip book with a kangaroo.
- Realistic Moon Phases Flip Book
Another moon phase flip book
- Mitosis Flip Book Template
This template is nice because it's just the outline and requires the student to fill in the details.
- Gerald McBoing Boing Flip Book
This Dr. Seuss character flip book moves his arm and calls out "Boing."
- Plate Tectonics
This science flip book shows the motion of the continents from 190 million years ago (mya) through the present. (Obviously has evolutionary content.)
- Surfer Flip Book
A silly surfer flips on his surfboard.
A Flip Book Made With Rubber Stamps
A Flip Book With Index Cards
Educational Benefits of Making Flip Books
Although flip books are very fun, they are not a silly waste of time. There are many academic connections that can be made with creating flip books.
To make a flip book, you've got to plan ahead (and sometimes even backwards) to make the action work.
Imagining the action you want to capture and then putting that on paper requires a mental ability to visualize.
Once the problem spots are identified, the flip book creator must decide the best way to smooth them out. That can require trial and error and plenty of critical thinking.
Animation Bible - Taking Flip Books to the Next Level
If your child shows a real interest in flip books, he may want to go on to study more animation. This reference book is a great place to start learning the principles and even how they apply to digital animation too.
Flip books are just the beginning. Learn about the principles of animation with this comprehensive guide. The ideas transfer into digital flash animation as well.