Creative Writing for Kids
I’ve been thinking about my son and how he’s struggled with writing. I, myself, didn’t get truly into writing until less than a decade ago. However, with him being in school and graded on his writing, it’s prompted me to investigate creating writing for kids.
Developing creative writing skills while very young has been proven to not only encourage children’s overall creativity but also improve their confidence and ability to express themselves. Cultivating these skills through guidance, support and encouragement can lead to a better academic and professional life. Guidance should not be harsh, but rather gentle. After all, we know how challenging writing can be.
Always allow room for the child to think outside the box and experiment with their ideas. Being the main audience of your kid’s stories, it is very supportive when you compliment them for impressive writing or creativity. Having genuine interest in your kid’s ideas encourages them to grow and expand their creativity.
Preparing your kid for creative writing
Getting your kid to love reading and writing is the first and most important step. This is easy, if as a parent, you create time to read and write with your kid on a regular basis. Creative writing for a kid requires the proper materials and a place with as little distraction as possible. The materials required may include:
- Pens, pencils, erasers and maybe markers
- A colorful notebook or journal
- A dictionary
- Drawing book for very young toddlers
Make creative writing for your kid fun
Kids are curious and have a knack for adventure. Incorporating these qualities into creative writing for kids makes them develop interest in flexing their creativity muscle. Everyone loves fun, especially kids.
For younger kids, art is a great way for them to express themselves. Asking a kid to draw something they like is a fun way for them to start getting creative. As time goes, the child is introduced to writing by providing captions to what they drew. After a while, giving the kid pictures to write a story about, becomes easier because they can relate to it. This encourages the kid to keep learning and maintain the interest in creative writing.
Use of fun and simple prompts is a good way to actively involve your kid in creative writing. Prompts with thought invoking images are especially useful because visual cues stimulate imagination which in turn stimulates creativity. For example, a photo of a summer vacation followed by a simple prompt like “What did you enjoy most about the vacation?”
Adding jest to the stories you tell your kid(s) makes it enjoyable for them and hard to forget. For example, a father could tell kids “I had blue ill-fitting swimming shorts and dived into the pool, next thing I knew my swimming short was floating away from me!!”
- Play word game or collaborative story games
Using word games with kids is quite beneficial for them, it helps build their vocabulary which is infinitely useful in creative writing. Try simple games like Letter Blocks and hangman for younger kids while for older kids Scrabble and Crossword Puzzle.
Vocabulary alone is not be enough in creative writing. That’s where collaborative story games become useful. You write a sentence and your kid writes the next sentence, then you again etc. With your help the kid learns when to use the vocabulary he or she has learned. It also teaches the kid proper sentence structures.
Assist your kid in looking for something to write about.
For many kids it challenging to start writing stories due to fear of a blank paper or fear of making mistakes and so on and so forth. When a child is stuck in writing, reprimanding the child could worsen their predicament. Inspiring your child by assisting with story ideas will go a long way in improving your child’s creative writing skills.
- Use familiar situations to spark creativity
Everyday life activities offer the best spark for story ideas. They are things your kid relates with on a day to day basis. For example, an animal like the neighbors Labrador. Your child could write about what s/he thinks its eats, how it relates with other animals, say your cat. Why does it usually bark etc.
A blank page may freak out your child and prevent creativity from taking over. All they need is a little nudge to get them going. Nothing provides a nudge like a prompt. A prompt could be anything from a question to the opening line of their favorite book. For example, ask a question like “would you prefer being really tall or really short? Why?” A child would enjoy such a prompt.
- Rewrite or mash up stories
Rewriting a story invokes creativity within a child. It may be difficult to come up with new characters in a story, rewriting a known story helps the child use the familiar characters to develop a different plot. A good example is rewriting a fairy tale.
Mixing of characters from different stories to create one story is also good way of sparking creativity in a child. For example, combining a fairy princess from one story with a mermaid from a different story would make invoke creative writing in your kid with your help.
Nothing inspires creativity live visual cues, this cannot be stressed enough. Use pictures from the family album or even wordless books and ask your child to write captions or even stories to go with the pictures. As it is said, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Honing creative writing skills
Writing skills require constant practice to perfect. As writers, you know that. The best way for any parent to improve creative writing of their kid, is to encourage daily reading and writing.
Every writer is a reader and any reader can be a writer. Cultivating the reading habit within your child expands your child’s mind and thus increasing creativity.
Writing is not always a smooth sail, sometimes it gets difficult. Teach your child how to plan before writing, this makes it easier for your child to write when needed to write difficult things.
Sometimes your child may be reluctant to want to write, this is normal for everybody and taking some time off would be good for your child.
In creative writing practicing is crucial as it builds better grammar and creativity. If your kid practices they may end up loving creative writing.
What are some ways you’ve found to help increase creative writing in kids?