Thinking about gifts and how much they are used and enjoyed, probably the best gift I ever gave to my grandsons, ages 10, 8, and 6, was an i-Mac. As soon as they set it up, they realized they could make movies. They immediately made a “movie” using the camera in the monitor, making funny faces and adding music and rolling credits.
Before long I could see that they needed a camera, so got them a small hand-held video camera smaller than most of today’s phones. The oldest child would envision a script, and then direct the others and himself in making a movie, telling them what to do and say. They would get their cousins and friends and other family members involved, sometimes filming all summer.
One movie, called “Trigger Happy,” which centered around a paintball contest, took a full year to film (some shots in the snow!). By that time the oldest child was in high school. When he was a junior, he and the others won a local contest with an anti-bullying video called “A Good Day,” and when the middle child was in college, he entered their high school “Trigger Happy” movie into a college film contest and won.
This gift kept around eight kids entertained all summer, as they would gather as soon as school was out, figure out what kind of movie they wanted to make, and start filming. They worked hard to make it funny and to entertain their audience.
They made up their own special effects. For “Trigger Happy” they wanted a paintball to “float” in the air, so we used a needle to thread one with clear plastic thread so that it wouldn’t show on film. They bought a fake leg that they could detach, and used editing techniques to work in humor.
Besides the summer fun, these kids benefited in other ways. First, they all learned to use the computer and to do video editing. The two oldest are extremely confident and have no problem doing public speaking, while the youngest has his own video editing company along with being a wedding videographer. The cousins—boys and girls—have that same confidence. Two of their friends are trying to break into modeling and movies.
As for grandma, I can go to their youtube channel and watch their videos and remember the children at that age and what they thought was funny. So whenever you think of gifts for creative youngsters, consider an iMac as it contains all the programs necessary to start young filmmakers on their way. Buy a refurbished, used one.
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A USA Today bestselling author, Nancy Radke grew up on a wheat and cattle ranch in SE Washinton State. She attended a one-room country school through the eighth grade. She learned to ride bareback at age 3 (Really! It was a common practice.) and when she got off or fell off, she would pull her horse’s nose to the ground, get on behind its ears, and the horse would lift its head so she could scoot down onto its back. Nancy spent most of her childhood exploring the Blue Mountain trails that bordered the ranchlands. She and a friend once took a trail that turned out to be a two day trip. They always rode with matches and pocket knives, so made camp and returned the next day. These long rides worried her parents, but provided plenty of time to make up stories. Her first novel was set in the Blues, and is entitled APPALOOSA BLUES. TURNAGAIN LOVE was the first one published. It rated a four star review from Affaire de Coeur. Scribes World said “Turnagain Love has some fascinating twists and turns, unexpected complications, and charming scenes.” It is light and humorous. Nancy currently has over 30 books written, both modern and western. All her stories are sweet and wholesome.