At a day out with the kids at the BFX Festival Family Weekend

The BFX Festival is a week-long event designed to celebrate visual effects, animation and games to inspire the next generation of talent and share the latest knowledge.

We first experienced the BFX Festival back in 2013 when it first launched and I firmly believe it contributed to Kian’s journey to study Games Design at university. Since then it has grown and moved locations and this year, the Family Weekend was held at the B.I.C.

BFX Family weekend is a two-day drop in event aimed at visual effects and games enthusiasts between the ages of 8-18 years, although there are things for all ages to enjoy, including talks and presentations, animation and coding workshops, the chance to try out the latest technology and even act against a green screen.

We pre-booked a couple of sessions and headed into Bournemouth on Sunday for our first workshop at 10.30 – Minecraft with Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi Workshop

Although aimed at children aged 8+, the age limit is very much dependant on the child’s ability and Eliza (7) got to join in too, with a little bit of help from me.

Eliza Raspberry Pi

The kids started playing Minecraft and then got to try their hand at Python programming the game using a Raspberry Pi – a tiny and affordable computer used to learn programming.

Isaac Raspberry Pi

The session was perfectly aimed at kids and they were soon adding extra’s to the game and the finale was getting to fly through it like Ice Man and receiving a certificate for completing the workshop.

Certificates

Our next pre-booked workshop was not booked until lunchtime, so we had plenty of time to explore and see what else was happening around the site, including trying our hand at using some old computers, and games consoles.

BFX Festival Games

The majority of the drop-in workshops were in Tregonwell Hall and the kids all had a blast trying everything out, with the green screens being a big hit, as they got to fly through the skies like Harry Potter on his broomstick…..

Harry Potter

and a more technological version of hide and seek.

Hide and Seek

We also got to meet BUD, Bournemouth University’s very own droid!

I lost Eliza and Sebby to the stop animation workshop, where they created their own characters using plasticine and made their very own video using the equipment provided.

Stop Animation

They worked on it for over an hour!!

Isaac on the other hand was waiting patiently for his turn on the VR Headset, which would give him a virtual reality tour of Avebury, a Neolithic henge monument containing three stone circles in Salisbury.

VR Headset

For younger children there were Simbrix, Stickbots and Bloxels tables to play at, as well as Bee-Bot robots, which introduce the idea of coding to younger children.

Bloxels

Our second booked workshop was the Micro:bit in Wonderland coding and craft workshop, which mixed coding with Alice in Wonderland crafts.

BBC BIT

We had to use block-based coding with the BBC Micro:bit to make our own Mad Hatter’s top hat, a heart playing card and a little door with a lock and key, just like in the story of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’.

Sebastian BFX

As the workshop was aimed at age 8+, Sebby and Eliza took charge of the crafting, whilst Isaac got to work on the computer.

Micro BBC BIT

We successfully managed to do all three coding tasks and the kids made a fabulous, if a bit wonky, Mad Hatters Hat!

Micro Bit Door

They all came out very proud of what they had achieved.

Also at the BFX Festival was an AFC Bournemouth e-sports station, where you could play football on the big screen against your friends, 3D printing and Sebby’s favourite Paleo Go, Augmented Reality dinosaurs which he chased Isaac around the room with!

Paleo Go

The BFX Festival is a fun day out for all the family and we are already looking forward to next years event. Keep an eye on bfxfestival.com for news and dates for next years event.

15 thoughts on “At a day out with the kids at the BFX Festival Family Weekend

  1. As someone who works in the videogame industry, seeing this post has seriously put a smile on my face. I’ve come across quite a few parents who think of gaming as a waste of time so it’s brilliant to see a festival like this that is educational and children interested in it! You should definitely check out the BAFTA Young Game Designer competition, I think it is closed for this year but it has two age categories and the children design their own videogame.

    1. My older son is at UWE studying Games Design and although I was worried when he did Games Design at A-Level I can see what goes into it all now, plus he is passionate about it too so I know will do his best at his studies

  2. Oh, wow! What a great event. My eldest would love to do something like this. Her teachers have been saying for the past 4 years she should be working in the tech industry!

    Louise x

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