Your primary school child may or may not be an enthusiastic writer, but most kids have an active imagination in some area or another. Creative writing activities can help him put those ideas on paper where others can enjoy his imaginative adventures. The trick is to kick-start his creative juices with an appeal to something he knows and enjoys so he has a concrete place to start spinning a new tale. You can inspire your child's confidence in his writing abilities by reminding him that great writing does not always need many words. Poems, invitations, advertisements, comics and more encourage your budding writer to get his message across with an economy of words.
Regularly reading with your child exposes her to characters and places that may appeal to her sense of fun and adventure. She may enjoy "co-authoring" a spin-off tale of her own using her favorite characters and settings to jump-start a new saga. For example, if she is fond of "The True Story of the Three Little Pigs" by Jon Scieszka, you can talk about how her favorite fairy tale might be different if told by another character, such as "Cinderella" as told by the Prince or one of the stepsisters, or Snow White as told by the evil queen. Another idea is to let her select one of her favorite book series, such as "Curious George" by Margret and H.A. Rey and write the next sequel. If she is just learning to write, you can help scribe the story for her and let her illustrate it.
Stuffed Animal Stories
Many children have special stuffed animals, which can become the heroes of their creative writing tales. If your child already enjoys imagining grand adventures for his stuffed animals, then simply encourage him to record one of his epics on paper, scribing it for him, if necessary. If he needs a little more prompting, play a storytelling game with him where you take turns adding to the story, using his favorite stuffed friend as the main character. Another fun way to tell a stuffed animal story is to actually send it on an adventure with a friend or family member who is traveling some place new or far away. Ask this person to take along the furry friend and send back pictures and letters of its adventures on the road. Your child can use this record to create a travelogue or narrative of his stuffed pet's experiences.
Silly Story Starters
Inspire your child to think outside the box and use her imagination. Create three sets of cards. The first contains types of writing, such as "Write a poem about…" or "Write an invitation to…" or "Describe a…" The second set contains a main topic or character such as "a sport" or "a pirate who…" or "a ring." The third set contains adjectives, such as "Martian," "diamond," or "dancing" or unusual character descriptions such as "that sings opera" or "played by chickens" or "collects bicycles." Place each set in a separate container and have your child draw one of each, to create silly story starters such as, "Write a poem about a diamond ring that sings opera," or "Describe a Martian sport played by chickens," or "Write an invitation to a dancing pirate that collects bicycles." Brainstorm with your child how the story might go to help her get started and let her finish the story. If one story starter doesn't spark ideas, she can draw again until she gets one that strikes her fancy.
"What if" creative writing activities challenge your child to think beyond his present reality and imagine the future or alternate worlds. For example, "If I Were President…" is a common writing prompt for young children but you can challenge him to think of what he might do or see if he were one of the first settlers on a newly discovered planet. Or imagine that he woke up one morning and found that he had switched places with an older sibling or traveled in time or turned into an animal. Perhaps the President calls and informs your child that he needs his help to save the world from impending doom. What expertise and skills does your child use to emerge as the hero of the hour? The possibilities for "what if" tales are limited only by you and your child's imaginations.
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