Today’s adults prioritize communication and writing skills as the ones that will prime children to succeed in college and adulthood, a 2015 study by Pew Research Center reports. The percentage of adults with a college degree citing communication as the most important skill for children to master is 94 percent, while 81 percent of college-educated adults cited writing as a top essential skill. Creative writing exercises for children allow them to flex creative muscles while sharpening communication skills.
Research by psychologists in 2016 reported by Wiley Online Library found children as young as age three can recognize writing. For children who are not able to coherently write yet, parents can write out their child’s creative thoughts during writing exercises. Toddlers and preschoolers can follow along as parents write, which benefits reading skills.
No matter what age or writing skill set your child is, age-adaptable exercises refine communication abilities. Here are five creative writing methods children will enjoy while they’re honing writing talents.
Prompt Them to Think Critically
Present a unique situation to your child, have them analyze how they’d act in the situation, and ask them to write down their thoughts regarding what they’re presented with. Free creative writing prompts that ask children questions such as, “If you were a superhero, what would be your kryptonite? Why?” challenge them to evaluate their personal life and effectively communicate it to a reader. Thought-provoking questions paired with writing exercises may also incite positive behavior changes depending on the question.
Have Them Feature Characters They’re Familiar With
Have your children write a story starring their favorite movie or television character. Stories could range from a “day in the life” tale, to a letter written from that character’s perspective back to your child. Another option is for your children to write a narrative featuring multiple characters they’re familiar with and have them describe their interactions.
Use a Word Jar to Spur Ideas
Put dozens of age-appropriate words into a jar. Choose three at random, and have your children write a story that is inspired by and must use all three words. You could also segment multiple jars with different word categories, such as people, places and objects, and choose one word from each jar to be used.
Get Them a Journal
More than 20 years of journaling research reported by The University of Texas at Austin found daily journaling about emotions resulted in strengthened immune systems, better grades and improved mental health. Journaling may also benefit working memory, decrease anxiety and enhance sleep and social connections. Shop together with your children so they can pick out a journal they want with lines that allow them to comfortably write. Guarantee its confidentiality, and empower them to write outside the confines of reality and explore how they imagine their future.
Put Them in Charge of the Tale
Search for popular long titles of films, books or songs your child has never encountered, and ask them to write a story conveying what the title is about. Encourage creative expression through a variety of methods, such as poetry or songwriting. Play them instrumental music and have them write song lyrics based on what they’ve heard.
All these activities can be performed in tandem with your children, so they have a supportive creative writing mentor as they’re working. You could also create stories together, taking turns to add to the narrative. Remember, creativity is the focus. While pointing out errors such as spelling and grammar can be beneficial for accuracy, consider spotlighting the creative elements to encourage them to have fun and embrace creative writing as a hobby that also benefits their education.
Jenny Wise is a stay-at-home mom and home educator. She and her husband decided to homeschool when their oldest was four years old. During their journey, they’ve expanded their family and have faced many challenges. But they’re happy to have overcome each one. Jenny writes about her family’s experiences and homeschooling, in general, on her new blog, SpecialHomeEducator.com.
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