15 October 2018

How to make creative writing fun for children at home

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For many children, once they get home from school they might not feel like hitting the books or putting pen to paper. There are however fun and creative ways to help them continue practicing what they have learnt even after they have left their classroom for they day!

Many young students find writing in particular to be boring or even difficult. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help them flex their creative writing muscles.

Play around with words

Begin with a few laughs by playing around with words. Mad Libs are a great way to help children put their vocabulary to use and get creative. There are books as well as online games that require children to fill in the blanks in a passage, which usually results in a funny and nonsensical story. It’s a good way to get their creative juices flowing while also practicing parts of speech.

Give them a reason to write

Give a purpose to their creative writing by tasking them with something both fun and meaningful, such as writing thank you notes or letters to friends and family. If like many of our students at Stamford American, you’re living abroad, maintaining written correspondence with loved ones is an excellent way to stay in touch while also building writing skills. Children who are old enough to type and use a computer can compose emails (though there is something to be said for the lost art of handwritten letters and the excitement of getting something in the mail!)

Draw on real life characters

Writing based on real life can help children take more of an interest in creative writing. Some examples of prompts that can fan the flame of their creativity include:

  • Imagine if [the name of your family pet] could talk to you. What kind of adventures would you have together?
  • You go to the airport and you can go anywhere you want in the whole world. Where would you go and what would happen when you got there?
  • You and [sibling’s name] are stranded on an island. How did you end up there? Who do you encounter on the island? How do you get home?
     

Being the star of their own stories can help children put their imaginations to use as they write.

Overlook “mistakes”
When writing, students should of course pay attention to spelling, grammar and punctuation. But when they’re writing at home it is perfectly acceptable to focus on creativity rather than accuracy. Allow young children to sound out words they don’t know how to spell and correct them later on. Let things like capitalization and proper comma usage slide for now. Getting hung up on these things can stymie their creativity. Let their stories come out of them unencumbered and then go over any problem areas once they’re done.

Put on a play

One particularly fun way for children to work on their creative writing skills is to pen and put on a play. They can assign the various parts to their friends or siblings and then act it out for the family. If you’re lucky, they might even assign a role to you!

Picture this

Creating their own picture books is a great way for children to get more creative with their writing. A few sheets of white paper “bound” with colorful construction paper make for a simple book that they can fill with their own words and drawings. They might even create a whole mini-series of books following the adventures of one or two characters. Imagining what their characters and the scenery look like breaks up the writing process and makes it more fun.

Play “What happened next?”

Once your child has finished reading a book or watching a movie or TV show, ask them to write the sequel. What happened after the story ended? Did the characters really live happily ever after? What happened to the secondary characters (perhaps the sequel focuses on a secondary character)?

Create a “writer’s toolbox”

Consider putting together a “writer’s toolbox” in a plastic container or a designated desk drawer so they have all the supplies they need for all manner of writing. Things to stock the toolbox with can include:

  • Paper
  • Pens and pencils
  • Colored pencils
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Stickers
  • Washi tape
  • A stapler
  • Notebooks
  • Blank cards and envelopes
  • Stamps and address labels

 

The importance of creative writing

The importance of creative writing for children cannot be underestimated. Creative writing exercises like the ones described above will help them get into the habit of putting their ideas on paper and develop their analytical skills, which are essential to all aspects of their education.
 

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