It’s important for our little ones to engage in creative activities, as they help spark their natural curiosity, inspire imagination, and encourage the development of a variety of important skills. There are lots of ways you can boost your child’s creativity, from arts and crafts to reading, or creative writing projects. In fact, here’s some advice from a pre-prep school in London on how to explore creative writing with your child.
First of all, it’s worth understanding the value of creative writing activities and how they can benefit your child. An obvious advantage is that it can help children expand their vocabulary and become better at spelling and grammar, which boosts their written (and verbal) communication skills. This is very helpful for children, who need to be good readers and writers in order to perform well in school.
Creative writing is also an opportunity for children to think outside of the box and identify and solve various problems. It encourages them to be persistent, as good things take time and effort. What’s more, practising writing is a great way for children to develop their fine motor skills, as it will help strengthen the small muscles in their hands and wrists. As a result, they will become more proficient at other daily tasks, such as doing up their buttons or tying their shoelaces.
In recent years, children are spending far too much time with their heads on a digital screen, so finding other ways to keep them entertained will help them with their overall development. Creative writing activities will help them become better at focussing on a task for an extended period of time and will improve their ability to plan and organise their thoughts. This is a far more valuable use of their time than hours in front of the TV. What’s more, the skills developed through creative writing projects will help increase their confidence, which will benefit them both at school and in their personal life.
There are lots of ways for your child to flex their creative muscles. If they don’t feel up to the challenge of writing their very own story from scratch, you could encourage them to re-write the ending of their favourite book. This should be a little easier, as the characters have already been established. Another option is to encourage your child to pretend to be a journalist, writing a review of a recent book they’ve read. If they enjoy role playing, you could ask them to write and perform a play for you with their friends and/or siblings.
Whatever creative writing direction your child takes, be sure to demonstrate plenty of enthusiasm, as this will help motivate them to continue or try again. Ask them questions like “What happens next?” because this will help inspire them. When reading what they have written, try not to focus on the negatives, like bad spelling or grammar. In doing so, your child will feel demotivated and may not want to try again. Keep your focus on the storyline rather than any errors that you notice.
Encourage your child to plan before they start their writing project. Mind-maps work well because they encourage thoughts to flow from one to another. If your child wants to write a story about space, you should ask them to start with a mind-map in which they jot down all the words and phrases associated with this genre: planets, stars, astronauts, the moon, adventure, etc. You should also ask them to think about what will happen at the beginning, middle and end of their story, so that can organise their thoughts.
Make sure your child has all of the appropriate writing tools to help them with their project. Funky stationery, such as coloured pens and paper, will help stimulate them. They will also need a desk or space at the kitchen table where they can write. You could also ensure they have a dictionary and/or a thesaurus nearby so that they can look up certain words if they’re struggling. This will help them with their research skills. If your child is struggling to get started, you could provide them with a sentence starter to inspire them. Have a look at some existing books to give you some ideas. There might actually be some creative writing workshops on offer to young people in your local area in the school holidays, so have a look if you think this might be of interest to your child.
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