Imaginiation and visualisation are so important for any creative writing activity. When children are faced with a blank sheet of paper and asked to write a story, poem or piece of descriptive writing they sometimes don't know where to start. If we want them to try to create a picture with words, it makes sense that first making that picture visually is going to help them 'see' what they are writing about; colours, shapes, characters, settings and ideas.
Here are some ideas to use art to spark brilliant creative writing.
3D Comic Strip
Your child's favouite toy figures can be brought to life in this 3D Comic Strip activity. Comic strips are a great way for children to tell a story by focusing mainly on what the characters are saying.
Once your child has selected the figures who are going to star in the story she can think about the adventure they are going to have and where it is set. Perhaps it will take place in a jungle, on a cloud or under the sea. It may involve a rescue, a magic spell or a discovery. Help her decide how to tell the story in two, three or four parts and split the page roughly into boxes. She can now think about where each part of the story will be set and draw the backgrounds. Finally she can add the figures and speech bubbles to complete the story and take a photograph of her creation.
This could be just the start of a much longer Comic Book Adventure.
Neverending Planet Poem
Space is a great topic to inspire creativity. The mystery of the planets and the universe together with the limitless, descriptive vocabulary combine to provide endless possibilities for art and writing. A neverending space poem seems an appropriate activity to illustrate this.
Ask your child to draw or paint a planet picture on a piece of pale coloured paper or card, leaving space around the planet for some words. His planet may be multi-coloured, full of swirls or even sprinkled with glitter. When he is happy with his artwork ask him to choose four or six adjectives to describe it and to write these words around the edge of his planet picture as a list with 'and' after each word. All that's left to do is give the poetry picture the title 'My Planet is......' and he has created a Neverending Planet Poem.
Read all About It!
Why not use yor child's favourite superhero, pop singer, movie star or sports personality to inspire some creative writing with a silly twist?
Encourage her to write a funny, front page story for a newspaper or magazine, starring one of her idols. A fun way to do this is to add some sort of monster or fairy tale creature. First she should come up with a name for the newspaper and use some fancy lettering to write it at the top of the page; perhaps the Musical News or Goal Scorers Gazzette. Then it's time to create a focal point with a photo or illustration about the story. Finally she can write the story in the style of a newspaper article.
A brilliant example of this activity is 'Messi finds Nessie' created by some very talented pupils on a recent workshop. Amazing!
Black and White
A blank sheet of paper is not very inspiring for a young writer. I am always trying to think of new types of writing backgrounds which will compliment the writing process and inspire ideas. Black and white photocopies or printouts of photographs have proved to be a perfect canvas in my writing workshops. If you have a budding photographer at home, even better. He can use his own photos as a background for his writing.
This activity involves writing a poem or piece of descriptive writing directly onto the black and white image. A black felt pen is best used for the writing. Your young writer should just write about the images in the photo using the shapes, building, landmaks or scenery as a guide to write around.
This lovely example followed the lines on a fallen tree to inspire a beautiful piece of writing.
The Adventures of the Pebble People
Take a handful of common beach or garden pebbles, add a splash of paint and some googly eyes and you have a collection of characters to inspire some original storytelling with endless possibilities.
What are their names?
Tell a little about their different personalities.
Do they have any special abilities or powers?
Where have they travelled from and where are they going?
What adventures have they had?
Have they encountered any enemies on their travels?
Perhaps they each have their own mini story to tell in first person or they all want to send a postcard to a pebble friend in another country. You could combine this activity with a world map to track their Epic Pebble Expedition.
Cut it out!
I like to give children creative writing activities from time to time that involve little or no writing. This activity encourages children to simply cut out and play with words to create a weird and wonderful story of their own.
Provide two or three old magazines and newspapers and ask your child to cut out any interesting words and phrases. When she has a selection she should play around with the words and phrases until an idea for a mystery, adventure or journey appears. As the idea develops she might need to flick through the magazines again to find additional words. She could also simply write any words that she can't find. The result will be a few sentences to set the scene for a new, exciting story.
A great activity to help create new plots for stories.
Pic 'n' Mix
This tasty activity is a combination of design, playing with words and sweet treats. It is a brilliant way to build confidence in using alliteration in creative writing.
You will need some sweetie shaped favour boxes or sweetie shapes cut from card and plain luggage labels or gift tags. Let your child decorate his Pic 'n' Mix selection using felt pens, stickers and glitter and then write inventive names for them on the label, using alliteration where he can. He might want these sweets to have special powers too like Super Speedy Swizzles, Fire Breathing Fizzers or Lie Detector Licorice Laces!!!
This is one of my favourite creative writing activities for children because even those who are not particularly confident in their writing abilities are able to create beautiful poems.... without writing a word.
Photocopy a page of text from a children's novel of a reading age appropriate for your child. Ask her to read it over, underlining in pencil any words or phrases that she likes. She should then read the underlined parts again and pick the best ones - ideally between six and twelve. Help her circle these with different coloured felt pens to make them really stand out. Now for the fun part! With a thick, black marker she should blackout the unwanted words, revealing her own unique piece of poetry.
This activity is a great confidence builder and enables children to use vocabulary which they would not normally and focus on how authors use words for effect in their writing.