When I was younger we didn't have all this fancy technology of After Effects or Maya. Okay well maybe we did but I had no idea that it even existed. My brother was in high school at the time and he brought home this program called Pivot. It is a simple software to create animations. Based on stickfigures, the software gives you the possibility to create an animation by moving the joints and nodes of the figures.There is no need to redraw your figures in each frames. The figure creator gives you the possibility to create any types of figures you want. I fell in love with software and began creating little animations. Here is a video on the software and some examples on what people have done.
If you are looking for something to mess around with I definitely recommend downloading Pivot. It is really easy to use and you can do some pretty amazing things with it.