The ability to write creatively is such a valuable skill to teach in our homeschool. When our children can express all the ideas bubbling in their imaginations, they are better equipped to succeed. Thankfully, I have found that inspiring creative writing with our children is a doable endeavor. Using these five simple ideas to encourage creative writing with young kids, you will provide perfect opportunities for your children to write creatively.
5 Ways to Encourage Creative Writing in Your Homeschool
1-Offer to Handwrite Your Child’s Stories
When my boys were small, they often told me wonderful little stories. It finally occurred to me one day that I should begin writing some of them down! I offered to write (or type) their stories as they dictated them. This allowed their creative imaginations to keep running at full speed.
Not only is this perfect for children who can’t yet write, but it’s also encouraging for children that struggle with handwriting or are still working on those handwriting skills. Creative writing isn’t about the practice of handwriting. Don’t worry that they aren’t writing it on their own. Handwriting practice can come later.
2-Use Pictures From Magazines
I don’t recall how I discovered this storytelling activity, but it’s one that everyone in the family can participate in. Gather magazines you no longer need and have the kids cut out pictures. Magazines like Good Housekeeping or Woman’s Day typically have pictures of food, household items, pets, flowers, and people, which are perfect for this exercise.
After you compile a good stack, lay out the photos for all to see. The first person chooses a picture and begins to tell the story. One or two sentences will do, then it’s the next person’s turn. Keep going round and round, adding to the story until all the pictures are gone.
We have told some pretty quirky stories from this game, and it always ends with good laughs. It’s simple and fun while encouraging an understanding of basic story structure: beginning, middle, and end.
3-Make Blank Storybooks
This idea requires three things you likely already have around the house: printer paper, cardstock, and a stapler. Cut a small stack (probably 3-4 sheets) of printer paper in half to make two stacks of paper for two books. Do the same with a colorful piece of cardstock. These will be the outside covers for the books. Staple them together to create books that are perfect for little hands.
These books are ready to be filled with your child’s fabulous creative stories. When my boys were little, I asked them to draw pictures for their story on each page. After they finished, we went back through the pages, and they told me what was happening on each page. I wrote it down for them, using their words. It’s tempting to correct grammar or ask too many clarifying questions.
Resist the urge.
Remember, this activity isn’t to teach grammar or fix a story that doesn’t make sense to you.Try to honor your child’s story; too much correcting can really zap the fun. Besides, in a few years, these little treasures will likely bring a few laughs when your child looks back on their humble creative writing beginnings.
This general idea is also great for older students. My boys are obsessed with cars and love creating books about them. While they now use the computer to type and add pictures, they print out the pages, add cardstock covers and staple them together.
I estimate they have about 30 of these simple creative books. This is also an excellent project to get your student to research topics they care about while practicing keyboarding and writing skills.
4-Invest In a Create-Your-Own Picture Book Product
As your child becomes more independent in handwriting and drawing, an excellent product to try is Illustory or something similar. Perfect for birthdays, Christmas, or Easter baskets, a create-your-own picture book allows your child to create her own professional-looking book.
With Illustory, your child draws and writes her story on the pages provided. These get mailed to the company, which turns them into a hardcover picture book.
Honestly, you can even use this product with older children. My oldest son is a freshman this year, but he used this kit to create a picture book for an English I creative writing project!
5-Read Bunches of Excellent Books
I would be remiss if I failed to include the importance of exposing our children to excellent stories. For little ones, this means piles of picture books and even those made-up bedtime stories. There are many resources available to find the best of the best books. The more our kids hear well-constructed stories with excellent vocabulary and grammatical structure, the more the foundation is laid for their creative writing success.
I can only imagine the number of books I read to my kids over the years (and continue to read!), from Caldecott winners to old-fashioned stories that are out of print. I trusted the process and can assure you I see the fruits of this daily labor.
Evidence of Writing Growth in My Kids
Creative writing is not just a course name or a curriculum. Creative writing is a lifestyle that, when fostered over time, produces a harvest of creativity with your children.
After years of providing simple opportunities like the ideas above, my boys have become excellent writers who enjoy writing for the sake of creating. Most nights, after they crawl into bed, they spend a few minutes writing in inexpensive spiral notebooks. The stories they work on bit by bit have turned into chapter books. They have even recorded their stories onto CD.
Can you guess who the favorite listener of these homemade audiobooks is? Their little sister! It truly warms this homeschool mom’s heart.
Enjoy Your Writing Adventures
Use these ideas and add them to your own to create fun opportunities for creative writing with your young kids. Enjoy the process, and keep it interesting. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. This process is more like the tortoise than the hare: slow and steady wins the race. As you invest, however, rest in the knowledge that your children will have a fantastic foundation to allow their creative light to shine!
Special thanks to Jamilyn from Holistic Homeschool Mom for sharing these writing tips.
Jamilyn is a mom of five and has been homeschooling for over 11 years. She’s a fan of reading, running, gardening, and chocolate. She’s also passionate about helping moms homeschool while caring for themselves: mind, body, and soul.
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