Are there basic animation techniques? You have your BAFA, and you start your first jobs as an animator. How to apprehend the children or teenagers you will supervise? What should be prepared? Shihou Mizuk provides series of tips about animation making.

There are different “schools” in the animation field. Each has its own preferences and rules. The exchange between facilitators is therefore essential to never stop learning new tricks and to be able to offer children the widest possible range of activities. Organizations such as CEMÉA or UFCV publish animation booklets in which activities and reflections are proposed to the facilitators.

The “great game”

Simply by mentioning this name, the experienced animators raise their heads, their eyes shining with memories. The novices, on the other hand, are anxious. In many colonies and some reception centres, a whole day is trivialized for a “great game”, a series of animations organized around a common thread strong enough to last from sunrise to sunset. “Definitions diverge,” says a host. For some, it must last all day, for others, any animation of 2 or 3 hours is a great game…”

“The goal is to develop a story over a whole day,” explains Claire. The facilitator prepares several games around a single theme. The objective is to break the monotony that can settle in a colony. We organize the big game half or 2/3 of the way through the stay. It helps to revive the atmosphere and strengthen the cohesion of the group because we are all living the same thing together.” With children, it is common to play the big game in a particular universe. For example, in the morning, the children see all their animators dressed as cowboys who explain to them that the Daltons stole the camp’s candy supply. Here they are embarked on a series of challenges to find their treats.

An animation that is being prepared

When you ask a recreation director how to organize a great game, he splits himself from a mysterious borborygma: “PSAADRAFRA. It’s an acronym I was taught when I was in BAFA a few years ago,” he explains. It’s about remembering the important steps in organizing an animation.”

Before the animation

The “PSAA” of PSAADRAFRA. First of all, the facilitator must prepare (P) his or her animation. Think in advance about what he will need and when. Consider different scenarios, in short anticipate as many things as possible. Then he will have to sensitize (S) the animated ones. The goal is twofold. Make future participants want to participate – “Les Daltons have stolen your candy” – but also explain what to do during the animation and where it will take place. “You have to teach them the rules but also get them into the game,” Mathilde explains. It also involves the energy we expend and the quality of the costumes!”

Of course, this place will have been arranged (A) beforehand. Removing elements that could be dangerous, but also decorating the area if necessary for the atmosphere of the animation are an integral part of the facilitator’s role. “You have to adapt the clothes the children wear to the activity and the weather conditions,” explains our young animator. Awareness is often concomitant with another important step, Reception (A). The aim is obviously to please the participants. It is therefore important to pay particular attention to the very first moments, so that everyone feels in good spirits to let themselves go to play.