- Books, Literature, and Writing
How to Help Your Child Enjoy and Improve Their Creative Writing
Encouraging Your Child To Write
In our ever evolving high tech world it is becoming increasingly harder to motivate our children to abandon their virtual games and turn back to the humble pen and paper. However, our whole world evolves around the written word and the need to effectively communicate.
As evidenced with the widespread use of social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook, daily email usage and the common practice of texting rather than actually making phone calls, our future generations are just as reliant on the written word as all the preceding ones.
With this in mind we need to find ways to encourage our children to keep on reading and off course to write. Writing encourages creativity, widens vocabulary, consolidates learning and even gives the child an outlet for emotions. The advantages of regular creative writing are huge for children.
I want to highlight a few simple ways on how to make that learning fun, and also how to grab and hold their attention.
Writing is Fun for All Ages and There is Always Somewhere to Write
Writing Fun for Each Age Group
There are different ways to encourage your child to write, which are appropriate for their age group. Here are a few ideas which will hopefully encourage their creativity whilst still providing them with a fun filled play session.
Improving Children's Writing Skills the Fun Way
A Summary of the Best Ways to Encourage Younger Children to Write Creatively
Make a special creative writing box.
- Ask some questions and then use your child's interview answers to pen a story.
- Go on a nature walk and then create a story from the items you find on that walk.
- Ask your child to draw characters and then write a story from there.
- From bath toys to cookie cutters; surround your child in letters and help them to learn.
- Most important of all is the need to encourage, praise and make it fun.
There are Lots of Ways to Make Creative Writing Fun for Children
Writing Encouragement for Younger Children
At this development stage where they can verbalise their thoughts but can't write down their story, you can work together to make story writing into a magical adventure.
A good starting point is having a special creative writing box. You can use an old white shoe box and your child can spend some time decorating the box with pens, paints and glitter. Inside they can place a notebook, a favourite pencil, a rubber and coloured pens. Make sure they know the value of that box and how inside it, is the means to create a whole new world!
The Interview Game is a good way to get them thinking and creating. You are the interviewer and they are the King or Queen of their world. Ask them about their world, what creatures live there, what colour the sky and landscape are? Who is the bravest person there, and what adventures have happened there? Write it all down in story form and then read it back to them and watch those little eyes as they realise their thoughts have became a story.
Go for a walk outdoors and watch for any interesting objects. If they spot a strange shell or unusual coloured leaf, take it home. When you get home empty your bag of treasures on the table and start to ask some questions. Why do you think that leaf has turned purple? Where do you think that shell has appeared from? The answers will surprise you. Write it down and read their fantastic creation back to them. Those interesting finds look good in the plant pots in your garden, when you are finished prompting writing ideas from them.
Asking you child to draw some characters is another good story prompt. Ask them to draw a hero, a villain, a magical creature and a priceless treasure. Using their drawings ask them supplementary questions to fill out the bones of the story. What did the villain do? Who does the treasure belong to? What would they do if they were the hero? Write it all down and again, read it back to them so they can hear how clever they are.
There are letters and words available all around us to help us to learn. Have letter bath toys to make words, use letter cookie cutters when baking and use old cut out newspaper letters to create silly sentences.
A Summary of the Best Ways to get School Aged Children to Write Creatively
- Having either a creative writing box which they can decorate, and store all those essential writing tools in or alternatively create a file on the computer desktop to store their fictional tales.
- Actually creating a physical booklet with their story in the middle, cover illustration and copyright on the back.
- The grand project of writing, dressing up for and finally performing a play for their captive audience.
- Walking around in the great outdoors with a notebook to jot down ideas and a camera to capture interesting images is also a great idea for this age group.
- Most important of all is the need to encourage, praise and make it fun.
Writing Encouragement for School Aged Children
Similarly to the younger children a special writing box can make writing time much more personal and enticing. With the older age of these children it is also a good idea to include a thesaurus and a dictionary within their boxes. For those children who are very attached to their electronic gadgets it is perhaps an idea to create a special folder on the computer desktop to keep their writing creations in. They can then use a word processing programme and store their work in their writing folder.
Creating a short story in the form of a mini book is a great achievement for this age group. If you help them to find a writing prompt and they jot down their initial ideas, the plot should flow to them. If they then either fold paper to make a booklet shape and then write their story on the inside and then decorate the cover, they have their own miniature novella. They can even write their copyright on the back and family members can purchase their books from them, boosting their precious pocket money. If they are writing on the computer, then you can help them to print of their creation and format it all together.
Writing and performing a short play is also a big hit with older children. Firstly they spend some time writing their masterpiece, and then the whole day can be spend rehearsing parts, finding costumes and then giving that performance of a lifetime! Again, family members can if they wish pay a little extra pocket money to see that Oscar winning performance.
Walking in the great outdoors with a notebook and a camera is also great for ideas.
Family Time is Good for Learning
Family Fun Which Encourages Creative Writing
There are off course ways that the whole family can become involved in helping your child to embrace and enjoy creating fictional stories.
The value of traditional board games and hand written games can't be underestimated. Board games such as Scrabble, which encourages the formation of words from your letter allocation, is an excellent way to encourage word formation and also to develop your child's language skills. Monopoly is also a good game to encourage reading and therefore writing skills. The names on the board and the game cards require the player to read and helps to widen their vocabulary. There are age appropriate versions of many board games available on the market today.
Don't forget those old favourites which don't require any investment, except your time. Hangman with paper and pen is a fantastic way to encourage vocabulary building and pattern recognition.
Off course these are family games so apart from the advantages to your child's literary skills, there is the big bonus of spending quality family time together.
Traditional Board Games Still Have a Place
The Story Teller Game
The Story Teller game is a great way to encourage creative thinking. One person in the room starts a story by telling everyone the first 2-3 sentences of the beginning of a story that they have just thought up, and then the next person continues where the first person left off. As we are all individual and very different is usually ends up going in really diverse directions and off course there is always lots of laughter.
The Prop Bag
The Prop Bag
Fill a bag with unusual items from around the house. That purple silk scarf from the drawer, Aunty Daisy's old brooch, the dusty old book from the car boot sale. Anything interesting will do. The first person pulls an item out and after thinking about that item, starts a short story. They then keep the item out beside them. The next person pulls out an item and then continues the story where the first person left off. The game goes on until the bag is empty, the tale is told and everyone is wearing unusual hats and holding abstract things like wooden spoons!
The Creative Conclusion
Thank you for reading my thoughts, and I hope that you find some of the ideas here helpful.
Writing is an incredible journey and the learning never stops. By helping your child to discover creative writing, not only are you helping their intellectual development, encouraging self confidence and spending quality time together, you are also making learning fun.
The time spent on creating those early masterpieces is creating the foundations for a lifelong journey of creativity and self belief.
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© 2014 Anna Haven