UPDATE: Sadly, Xtranormal shut down July 31, 2013. However, I am very excited about the potential of Muvizu, amazing animation software.
Psst! Want a cool place where kids can explore creating and making stories? Try Xtranormal. It's a web space where you choose cartoon characters, type in your script, choose actions and camera angles, and add voice, sound and background. Once you're satisfied, you can publish your movie. My first effort is below. (In case you can't see it, try here.)
The free option is a little limiting, and the paid option seems to offer much more. I also found the voices difficult to hear clearly, but that could be a sad comment on the state of my hearing! Pixar it isn't - however, what Xtranormal does is gives kids another avenue for constructing text, and using it to communicate with an audience.
It didn't take me long to work out the Xtranormal interface, which basically means a seven-year-old would blitz it. I made one movie, watched it, then figured out it would be easier to understand if I added some pauses, and more interesting if I changed a few camera angles. Here's my second attempt (link):
The site gives you the opportunity to remix what you've made, and to remix what others have made. I can see that last feature being great for two young friends who want to collaborate on a story until they're happy with the final product.
There are all sorts of little movies available for viewing at Xtranormal, and like all web sites, I would recommend parental guidance. There is a blog and a forum - I find the educational uses of Xtranormal fascinating, and you can read about them on the forum, too.
Some other Book Chook articles about movie makers: Zimmer Twins and iMovie. You could also try Dvolver, Creaza's Movie Editor, and Masher. (Posts coming soon.)