Do you have a child who’s a little reluctant to begin creative writing? It’s understandable. Staring at a blank piece of paper can be overwhelming, even for adults and accomplished writers! It’s no wonder that our kids may be a little intimidated at the idea of writing an entire story on their own.
Thankfully, they don’t have to begin with an entire story at first. They can ease into story writing with a few creative writing exercises that will get them on the road to storytelling. If your child is hesitant to write a tale, try these gentle steps to story writing to get their creative juices flowing!
1. Start with a non-fiction assignment
Most children are very comfortable composing a non-fiction work. They do it every day! For example, ask your child what he or she read or watched on a given day and prepare to listen for a while as they describe what they did in rich detail. Use this natural narration skill to your advantage!
Let your child keep a journal and write down the things that they do, see, hear, and say on a specific day. At the end of the day, ask him or her how they could take a single event and add more adventure or comedy to it. See if your child can add a creative detail or two and ta-da! There’s the beginning of a story!
2. Use drawing prompts
Children who love to draw may struggle with using the written word to communicate. Let them get their ideas onto paper with a simple drawing prompt! Ask your child to draw a picture of something they’d like to do or somewhere they’d like to visit. As they work, encourage them to talk about what they are drawing and why. Then pose a few hypothetical questions to help them imagine what could happen in their setting.
For example, if your child draws a picture of the local park, you could ask: “What if there was only one swing available and someone was on it? What would you do?” Or you could ask: “What kinds of animals might you see in the trees at the park? Do you think they play on the playground when people aren’t there?” These kinds of conversations can help children formulate story ideas.
3. Rewrite a classic ending
Have you ever read a story and thought to yourself “I could write a better ending than that!” Your child may feel the same way about some of the stories you’ve shared together. Pull out a storybook you’ve read together before and reread it. After the story ends, ask your child “Did you like the way the story ended?” If he or she says “yes”, ask: “Do you think we can write an even better ending?” Then listen to their ideas for a revised version of the story.
If your child says “No” or “I hated that ending!”, then you’ll have plenty to work on together! Brainstorm a few ways that the story could have ended on a more exciting or happy note and then challenge your child to write it the way they see fit. Their creativity may surprise you!
These gentle steps to storytelling are a simple way to begin creative writing exercises, even for reluctant writers. Try one of these during your next writing lesson and see which one your child loves the most!