Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Let's do some Creative Writing!

If you were in a classroom right now, you'd hear a collective groan.... in stereo surround sound.

It's not as hard as they (or you) think!

How about some stimulating activities to help open those jammed floodgates of inspiration?

With your littles, creative "writing" couldn't be simpler. They are natural storytellers. How fast can you write? Sit down next to a child who's coloring something indistinguishable to you, and ask what's happening in his picture. Get your pen handy, because he knows. After you've written his story out, congratulate him on having written a book, encourage another illustration or two, and make an afternoon of publishing it using your printer for his dictated words, his picture(s), and some cardboard and interesting paper or fabric for a cover. Even brown paper with an illustrated cover turns out adorable :)

Other ideas:

  • Alternate endings 
Pick out a storybook that the kidlets have never seen before, and read just over half of the story to them. Close it and ask them what happens next. Ask some leading questions to draw them out if necessary.

  • A patchwork story
Set a timer. Mom or Dad makes up the beginning of a story and talks for 30 - 60 seconds. When the timer beeps (or dings, if it's a little more old-school!) it's another family member's turn to pick up wherever the story left off. When it comes to your turn again, make sure to throw in some challenge for the main character or an interesting twist and keep them engaged!

  • Narrate nature
Sit in your driveway with your child and watch the ants, or the sparrow, or a rabbit, or even the neighbor's pot-bellied pig. Where do you think he's going in such a hurry? What do you suppose his name is? What are they saying to each other right now?

  • Read to them! All of them! Even big kids like to be read to. Give your kiddos a feel for plots and settings, development of characters, problem-solving and climax, happy endings, and an all-around good story.  Google "100 best kids books" if you're stuck for a reading list (but don't dismiss the classics you liked when YOU were a kid.)

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