We want to get kids interested in the magical world Animation, where you can make anything come to life! This is a fun introduction to some important animation principles. This is something you would easily learn in college but I’ve broken down the steps to make it easy for any elementary student to learn. For this simplified version of a bouncy ball, there’s only 16 drawings needed to make this fun animation because the ball only bounces once, right onto the snowman’s body!

I recreated this snowman bouncy ball demo this past week from a version that my good friend and 2D Animation classmate Kristy Gordon and myself (Angela Meilleur) came up with to help kids learn how to animate many moons ago. We thought it would fun to include a snowman into the bouncing ball scene when we taught this snowman flip book to children at a booth during the Ottawa Animation Film Festival, while attending the Animation Diploma Program. For the record, Kristy Gordon is now an accomplished Painter and Art Instructor worth knowing and following. She mentors Artists and Teaches amazing painting workshops, Her website is www.kristygordon.com. We are confident that even the youngest learners can animate this bouncy ball animation but older children will also be equally interested in learning some of the principles of animation and how to apply them to create cool 2D animations, like this snowman bouncy ball!

A fun way to create a short animation is with a flip book. That is when you staple together blank pages that you draw an animation on to, so that you can flip the pages and watch your animation come to life in your very own hands. When you create a flip book you have to work backwards in the book. So you must draw the first image on the last page, follow each image after that and finishing the last image on the first page. For the bouncy ball, start with it coming into the frame like a half circle. The ending (that will be your very first page in the book) is of the snowman with his head as the bouncy ball. You can print our free snowman flip book from our printables section or use blank pages to create your own.

Watch this video of the bouncing ball in action that you will learn to animate:

Animation has several principles, they are basic rules that animators follow. Here are the ones to know to create a bouncing ball and some animation vocabulary;


The Animated image on each page is called a frame. Each frame will be numbered a certain way so that you can keep track on your animation scene. You won’t need to worry about numbering your flip books, but if you plan on creating further 2D animation you may want to number the pages. Often it will be a letter indicating a scene, let’s say it’s a bouncing ball, you would add a B for bouncy ball and then each frame would be numbered like this: B -1, B - 2, B - 3.. etc. Indicating the scene for B and the frame number in sequence order.

Key frames:

The key frames (or key frame) are special because they help you determine your line of action and help plan the rest of the animation frames like the inbetweens. They are important for figuring out the timing, because in animation timing is important. A key frame is the frame that always begin and end any smooth transition, like any time the animation changes direction. As you will notice in the image of the key frames in this bouncy ball animation, the begin and end ball is a key frame but also when the ball hits the ground and changes direction. See the image below of the key frames.

Key frames

Inbetween frames:

inbetweens (inbetweening or tweening or tweens) are the frames between two images called the key frames. They go along your line of action between your key frames.

In-betweens are black and key frames green

Line of action:

You must follow a line of action when animating, that keeps things aligned and moving smoothly. Choose a path that you want the ball to go along and create each circle and oval shape making sure the line of action is in the centre. For a bouncing ball that bounces once, you would create a line arching towards the ground where it hits the ground and goes back up. Creating a V line of action.

Line of Action

Stretch And Squash:

Animated objects and people don’t stay the same size and shape while they are moving. An object, like a ball will either stretch or squash while it is moving to create the illusion that it is flexible and life-like. If you don’t apply this concept to your ball it will look rigid.

Stretch and Squash

How to add “stretch” to the ball:

stretching the circular bouncing ball would mean adding an oval shape instead of a circle in the frames where the ball would have the fastest speed. Notice how the ball from the image above looks when it is falling fast towards the ground and back up. The ball would thin-out and become longer as it reaches the ground and when it bounces back up. As it starts to slow down it regains it’s regular circular shape.

Adding squash to the ball:

When the ball hits the ground it will squash, look at the image below of the ball hitting the ground to see how to create the squash.