Creative writing is a great activity to build children’s imaginations, confidence and help them develop their own voice. But it can be a bit tricky to know where to start, even for us grown-ups. I’ve tried out some ideas I wanted to pass on to help you inspire your kids’ writing.
Get kitted out
Kids get a big thrill out of a brand new notebook, complete with a colourful front cover, so a trip to somewhere like Paperchase is sure to get them writing before they even get home. Add in a multi-coloured pen and they can doodle the characters, use a different shade for each chapter or write dialogue in a standout colour.
If you have older children, a simple highlighter pen is a great tool, as long as you don’t mind them marking their books. They can highlight their favourite parts of a story, a particular line they find funny or just something they think is well written. Then encourage them to emulate those themes and language in their own writing. Highlighting is also great practice for exam revision when they get to that age.
Use some writing aids
Writing prompts can involve anything from providing words or sentences to get the kids started, to playing some moody music and asking what it reminds them of. Mine and the kids’ favourite has to be using a feely bag, as suggested by The School Run. You put some small objects into a bag – it could be their favourite soft toys or household items – and they pick them out to start off the scenarios. You’ll find that a fork soon becomes a sword and silver thimble easily transforms into a knight.
I think mixing this with some written prompts provides just the right level of inspiration, as you could then add in settings like a ‘fairytale castle’ or ‘dragon’s cave’ that would be hard to fit into a bag! Try to avoid the temptation to correct spelling and grammar as you go along, to let the creative juices really flow. You can always do this at the end.
Immerse them in the story
Once children have read their favourite books they’re often brimming with ideas for their own stories. With a fun day out you can take this one step further and fully immerse them into the fictional worlds that spark their imaginations.
For example, a trip to the real Diagon Alley straight out of Harry Potter will do the trick for any budding wizards. They’re sure to come home from the Warner Bros Studio Tour penning tales of all the adventures characters can get up to in Ollivander’s Wand Shop and Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. We have loved out visits.
Keep a diary or travel journal
School holidays are perfect to get kids writing, when they have plenty of spare time and their brains aren’t filled with sums and history facts. It might be hard to get them motivated, but the thought of keeping a diary or travel journal should do it – particularly if you’re going away somewhere special.
They can get a journal for the purpose, design their own diary from plain paper or keep it on a tablet. For younger kids, give them a headstart by making some notes to refer to each time they write an entry. Questions could include: Where did you go? What did you do? Who or what did you see? What did you achieve or learn today? What was your favourite part of the day?
Do you have any other ideas to get the kids writing? Let me know below.