A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents needs to know that this imaginative movie-making site lets users create animated short films using predetermined characters, expressions, actions, and backgrounds. Users can fill movie frames with still drawings, speech bubbles, and transitional words (such as “Meanwhile…”), then string them together to create their very own custom animated movie. It’s simple to make a movie from scratch or complete pre-designed starter films. Kids must register to comment on movies, and the site is moderated daily and uses text filters to ensure content is appropriate. Paid "VIP Members" can share their movies, review other member's movies, and unlock exclusive animation clips. Comments by paid users can be flagged if inappropriate, but are generally positive, supportive, and constructive. Site administrators seem to be diligent in enforcing the site's code of conduct. Some of the best movies (from those with paid memberships) are even selected as “YouTube picks” and uploaded there.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Zimmer Twins is a safe, engaging place for kids to exercise their imagination and create entertaining animated movies. Using an array of simple tools, kids can choose characters, backgrounds, facial expressions, and movements, and then type in words to create dialogue. There are many options for telling stories, though the options become more limitless with a paid membership that unlocks access to additional features.
Is it any good?
Animation is made simple thanks to the Zimmer twins, Edgar and Eva, the animated young characters who star over and over again in the mini-movies on this site. Users can piece together clips of the twins interacting and speaking (through typed words in speech or thought bubbles) through whatever adventures their imaginations create. Choose a theme, create an ending to a “starter,” or simply create from scratch by piecing scenes together. Young animators can save their work for others to watch, rate, and comment on. Educators will also find (paid) classroom memberships that let students create in their classroom. At home or in school, Zimmer Twins is a safe, satisfying romp into the world of animation that lets kids exercise their creative muscle and hone their storytelling skills.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about other ways to create media on your own. What types of media do you wish existed? How can you create something to fill that void?
Talk about why learning about art of all types is important. What types of art-related activities do you learn in school? How can kids use computers to explore art outside of school? What can kids create using the computer?
Talk about how stories can be told in countless ways -- even when all the creators receive the same tools. Is it easier to use predetermined pieces -- like expressions and specific actions -- to put together a story, or would you prefer to create something entirely from your own imagination?