DIY Video Project: The Story of the Hokkien New Year

For Chinese New Year this year, I wanted the kids to learn more about their Hokkien heritage. One of the stories I shared with them was about the Hokkien New Year. Unlike the Story of the Chinese Zodiac and the Legend of Nian, there aren’t any youtube videos about why the Hokkiens celebrate Bai Ti Kong (at least, none that I could find). So I had this brilliant idea to get G1 to create his own video.

Being a child of the iPad generation, creating videos is something quite familiar to him. He has worked on projects for school as well as his own personal ones at home, including:

What’s Great About a Video Project

A video project offers numerous benefits for kids. Here are some of them:

  • Video projects make kids think about the movies they watch and how these movies are created.
  • Before creating the video, they must research the subject in detail so they can weave the facts into a story. The process of re-wording the facts into a story for the video is a known method for reinforcing the learning.
  • The process of making a video can be quite involved, as you will see below, and requires the kids to consider a variety of factors when they plan their own video project:
    • What form will they use to tell the story?
    • The layout of the story – what dialogue will be included, will there be background music, what sort of images will they require, how the story will flow, etc.
    • Which apps will they employ to create their video – for instance, green screens, stop motion, editing program, etc.
    • If the video involves real characters, they will also need to think about assigning roles, costume designs, and video locations for background settings.
  • A video project is a terrific exercise in creativity.

Getting Started

The kids can get started by reviewing how animation movies are created so they can get an idea of the process they should follow when planning their own video.

The Process of an Animation Movie

  1. Create a storyboard – animators and directors discuss the film.
  2. Storyboard presented as a story.
  3. Record dialogue.
  4. Rough sketches for the characters.
  5. Inking department copies rough sketches.
  6. Painting department for finishing.
  7. Backgrounds are added.
  8. All images are photographed and recorded on film.
  9. Dialogue is added and film is edited.
  10. Movie is released to public.
video project
Image Source: Huffington Post

Types of Animations

Researching the Story

Think about:

  • Who you can speak to for information – in our case, grandparents who may know more about the traditions and beliefs for the Hokkien New Year.
  • Online research – what web resources are available? Think about the reliability of the information? Since we were recreating a traditional story, factual sources were less relevant.
  • Books – can you find information through books in the library on culture and history?

Planning the story:

  • Can we make it more exciting? How much of the story will we embellish? When creating a video, we want to capture the audience. A story that is too dry witih facts may appear dull and boring.
  • How will the video start? How will it end? Consider what you will include in the opening and end credits.
  • Telling the story – what will you use? Puppets? Animation? Live characters?

Apps for Making Videos

What apps will you use to make your video? Here are a few apps we have used before:

Stop Motion Studio

Create movies like Wallace and Gromit or LEGO. Everything you need to create a beautiful stop motion animation on your device. No computer needed. Simple to use. Cool themes, titles and sound effects are easy to add, too.

Puppet Pals

Video Project

Create your own unique shows with animation and audio. Simply pick out your actors and backdrops, drag them on to the stage, and tap record. Your movements and audio will be recorded in real time for playback later. Put your creativity to the test as you act out a story of Pirates on the high seas, fight as scary monsters, or play the part of a Wild West bandit on the loose. You can even combine any characters however you want!


With a streamlined design and intuitive Multi-Touch gestures, iMovie lets you enjoy your videos and tell stories like never before. Browse your video library, share favorite moments, create beautiful movies, and watch them on all your devices in iMovie Theater. And with the iMovie extension, it’s fast and fun to make every video more memorable — right in the Photos app.

Green Screen

“Green screens” are used movies to make it look like the actors have landed on an alien planet. On TV, it is used to make it look like the local news announcer is standing in front of a weather map. The green screen effect works by combining images from multiple sources into a single video. Green Screen by Do Ink makes it easy to create incredible green screen videos and photos.

See also: 10 Apps for kids to create their own videos from iGameMom

Putting It All Together

This was the end result that G1 presented to me:

Well, I suppose I did tell him to feel free to embellish the story to make it more interesting.

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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