Articles for parents

Top five creative writing tips for children

Mar 2012
Top five creative writing tips for children
Children who read a wide variety of genres from science fiction to comedy will have plenty of creative ideas to 'magpie' from.

Children have limitless imaginations and harnessing this to create extended pieces of creative writing needs guided input from both parents and teachers.

Drama and role play is an excellent way to engage children's thoughts and ideas and help them internalise a story. Once children have read a story several times get them to act out parts in character, make story maps and build story settings to really bring fictional tales to life. Below are several tips that will help children translate their creativity into the written word.

Get children to use their senses
Ask children to write a piece as if their audience were a visitor from another planet. Get them to use their senses - taste, touch, smell and sight - to describe their setting to a person who would have no concept of what Earth is like.

Children can also use a 'show not tell' technique where they need to describe a time of day or type of person without stating the obvious. For example, if a character is poor they may say that they wear tatty clothing and live in a dilapidated house.

Encourage them to glean ideas from the world around them
Many children struggle to get off the starting block when it comes to creative ideas. Children may want to use one of their favourite toys or a memory of an event to form the basis of a story.

Taking children on an ideas hunt, where they walk around their local area and make notes of anything they find of interest, will also help them create a bank of creative writing ideas.

Get them write about what they know and love
If your child is a fan of horses, dinosaurs, BMX bikes, or any other hobby, get them to include this interest in their stories.

You may want to organise a visit to a museum or a zoo and then get children to write an account of the day's events before turning it into a story.

Use drama to bring their ideas to life
As children act out a character in role, they generally add details, such as tone of voice and extended dialogue that they wouldn't have otherwise included in a simple writing exercise. Children can also make character masks and take turns 'hot seating' (asking a character questions in role).

Encourage children to read from a wide variety of genres
Children who read a wide variety of genres from science fiction to comedy will have plenty of creative ideas to 'magpie' from.

They can then choose to emulate their favourite author or genre-style using the vocabulary and dramatic techniques they have gathered.