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If the young artists in your life love movies, chances are they’ll love flip books. These books, which build on the foundations of old-school animation, are made up simply of sheets of paper whose images appear to move when their pages are riffled at a steady pace. Due to their simplicity, making a flip book is a great activity for creative kids, encouraging them to explore their drawing, narrative, and construction skills. And their small size makes them easy for little hands to manipulate. For convenience, purchase a flip book kit, which comes with pre-sized paper and other materials to make a memorable piece of animated art. We review our favorite kits below.
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1. IttyBitty Flip Book Kit
This kit comes with materials needed to draw and assemble flip books using a little help from technology. You get 480 sheets of A5 paper, each featuring pre-punched holes so you can assemble them with posts—you get four dozen of those, too. Also included are six pencils in different hardness grades and two sharpeners. But the highlight is the slim light pad, which comes with three brightness settings. Kids can use this to trace designs while incrementally changing details as they move from page to page. The paper is thin enough to see through when illuminated, yet thick enough to prevent bleed-through when used with wet media. Perhaps most important, stacks of these sheets are easy to flip.
2. Lomida Blank Flip Books
If your young artist doesn’t need an illuminated drawing surface, encourage him or her to draw freely with this no-frills option. It comes with 10 blank flip books, each with enough pages to fill 60 story frames. The brown covers are flexible yet sturdy and invite their own customization; the sheets themselves feel thin, but they stand up to markers and ink. Get started with the set of mini pencils and good-quality pencil sharpener that are included.
3. Fliptomania Flip Book Animation Kit
Sometimes creativity needs a little prompting. This kit comes with two pre-drawn flip books. Kids get to color in the images, assemble the pages (which are pre-numbered), and use bulldog clips (included) to hold it all together. When they’re ready to embark on their own narrative journey, a third flip book with empty panels awaits. Fliptomania sells a wide range of these to appeal to different interests, with sets featuring a butterfly and a frog, a rocket and a robot, and a couple of dinosaurs, among other pairings.
4. Andymation’s Flip Book Kit
Similar to our top pick, this kit comes with drawing material and a LED light pad. It’s a great option if you’re looking for a slightly nicer and smartly designed option. Sold by Andy Bailey, a YouTube personality famous for his flip books, the papers are acid free, have a luxuriously smooth texture, and come in two sizes; they’re also pre-punched to accommodate binding screws (included, in two sizes, with an attractive gold finish). The light pad offers two levels of brightness and features pegs that hold paper in place for drawing, which helps to improve consistency across the book.
5. FlipBooKit Maker Kit
In a twist on the format, this crafty kit makes a hand-cranked animation machine that plays your flipbook in a loop. Draw on the provided cards, or use the linked website to turn any video into printable frames. Each frame is divided horizontally, so be mindful of the image you choose (a centered face, for instance, can end up looking funky).