My kids have been having fun with the Toon Creator Awards. This is a collaborative effort between HP and Cartoon Network to "promote self-expression and inspire creativity amongst young children in a fun and exciting way". I don't usually recommend computer-type games, but this one is actually creative and interesting.
Maya, who is 9 years old, took charge of this challenge, although 6 year old Ben was eager to get his hands on the mouse. They can enter as many times as they want, so it will be interesting to see if Ben can cope with the technology.
Basically they are using the computer to create their own Ben 10 cartoon. They can choose the background, the characters in each scene, the dialogue, action, background music and special effects. After a bit of experimenting, the children soon learn the tricks and easily maneuvered the action. They can review and edit the scenes over and over until they are satisfied, then save and enter it into the competition.
For our generation of children all this is totally within their range of understanding. Once the cartoon is monitored, it will be available for others to watch and rate. You can also view other entries and rate these. If you want to take a peak at Maya and Ben's first effort, it is here. You can become a fan and rate the cartoon- 5 stars please!!
We had a good laugh working out all the controls. Funniest were all the sound effects we could choose from. We were looking for something like you hear in B grade action movie during a fight scene. A good POW! or WHAM! would have been good, but instead there were many funny sounds of roosters crowing, cows mooing, dogs panting and tigers roaring. There was one good ZAP! sound which was good for Gwen's laser gun, and we found that you could lengthen the sound and easily adjust the beginning to coincide with the action.
Some of the cartoons kids have made are quite sophisticated, with scenes panning, zooming, fading in and out and making use of all the special effects. If your kids are looking for something creative to do on the computer, then this will be great fun for them. They may even win a great prize.
They have until the end of September, 2009 to enter and rate the other animation in the viewing gallery. The top animations will be chosen based on their rating and number of times viewed. Registered users will then be invited to vote for their favourite animations. Overall winners will be selected based on the number of votes received and Cartoon Network's assessment of the most skillful and creative animations.
The contest is open to participants aged 6 to 14 from Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. There will be one individual winner from each of Australia, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand will receive an HP TouchSmart™ PC and a Cartoon Network Digital Pack.
There will be one grand prize winner from the overall Asia Pacific region will receive an HP TouchSmart™ PC and up to 2 HP desktop PC+Monitor set(s) and a Cartoon Network Digital Pack.
So have some fun, make a few cartoons and you never know, you may win some fab prizes. Register at Toon Creator Awards and get started.