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Supported by Raspberry Pi

Pixel art bugs

Animate a creepy crawly using a simple, free programme.

You will need

  • Access to a computer
Notes and handout (Pixel art bugs)
PDF – 1.6MB

Before you begin

  • If you don’t have enough computers for one each, people could work in pairs, or you could run this activity as one base, so groups visit one at a time. You could also look in to visiting a local library or school to use their computers.
  • You’ll need PiSKEL on each of the laptops or computers.
  • If your meeting place has internet access, you can use PiSKEL online by opening a starter project in a web browser. Just follow this link.
  • If your meeting place doesn’t have internet access, don’t worry! You can download and install PiSKEL beforehand here. Open the starter project before the meeting.
  • If your meeting place doesn’t have internet, it’s also useful to open the animated bug for the example.
  • It’s best to spend some time getting to know PiSKEL before you begin so you can help anyone with questions. Why not see if you can follow the instructions to create an example? If anyone else has used similar software before, they could help answer questions too.

Chat about bugs

  1. The person leading the activity should help everyone remember everything they know about pixels – the tiny dots that make up computer screens.
  1. The person leading the activity should ask if anyone knows what mistakes in computer programmes are called. They’re called bugs!
  2. Everyone should chat about animation. Does anyone know how an animation’s created? Animations are made by putting together lots of images (frames) – small differences between frames come together to create movement.
  3. The person leading the game should show everyone the example animated bug here.

Animation time

  1. Everyone should open the starter project in PiSKEL. Depending on whether there’s internet access, they should either visit this link in a browser or open the project tin the installed PiSKEL app.
  2. The person leading the activity should make sure everyone can see a ‘Notes and handout’ pack.
  3. Everyone should work through the steps on the ‘Notes and handout’ pack to create their own animated pixel bug.
  4. Once they’ve finished their animations, everyone should take it in turns to share their creations. How does their animation compare to the movement of a real bug?


This activity was all about developing skills. Do people feel more confident about animating now? How well did their animation mimic the movements of a real bug? Did anyone make any mistakes? It’s really hard to learn something new without making any mistakes. People who work digitally (for example, computer programmers) often find mistakes in their work – they’re called bugs. It’s OK if bugs exist; the most important thing is that the programmers work together to fix it and solve the problem. How did people fix any problems they found when making their bug? Did they learn more about their project (or the app) when they were fixing mistakes?


All activities must be safely managed. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Online safety

Supervise young people when they’re online and give them advice about staying safe.

For more support around online safety or bullying, check out the NSPCC website. If you want to know more about specific social networks and games, Childnet has information and safety tips for apps. You can also report anything that’s worried you online to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection command.

As always, if you’ve got concerns about a young person’s welfare (including their online experiences), follow the Yellow Card reporting processes.