The coronavirus situation, as you all know, has got to the point where a lot of people are self-isolating at home. This isn’t the easiest of situations – particularly when you’ve got young children climbing the walls with frustration and boredom.
Although self-isolation hasn’t hit our household yet, you all have my full sympathy. If you’re feeling ill, I hope you recover soon. And, if you’re trying to keep the kids entertained under trying circumstances, here are some fun creative writing activities you can do with them!
Creative writing activities for children (during the coronavirus pandemic)
- The fold-up paper game
This is a big favourite in our house. It’s based on the classic game where you each take a piece of paper, draw a person’s head, fold it over, then pass it to the person next to you. They then draw the neck and torso, fold it over and pass it on, and so forth, until you have a hilarious character built up from monstrous body parts!
It’s easy to turn this into a creative writing activity. In the first instance, play the game as you would normally, then take each ‘character’ and invent a name for them. Get your children to think about where they live, what they like eating, who their friends are etc. Then, they have to write a story or create a comic strip about them.
The other alternative is to do the ‘fold-up story’ game. Firstly, they have to write an introduction to a story (this needs some modelling, so you’ll need to explain that it should only be a sentence or two long, and introduce the main character and where they are). They write it down, fold it over, and pass it around. The next stage is for the second person to take over the story – with no idea of what happened in the first part!
- The story treasure hunt
Hide some objects around the house – as many as you can. The more random, the better – and make sure you hide them in places where they’re obviously not meant to be (e.g. a spoon in the cutlery drawer isn’t ideal).
Once your kids have gathered the objects, they need to figure out a story based around them. Who owns the potato peeler? What are they going to do with that satsuma? The crazier the ideas are, the better. Get them to jot ideas down first, then write them up into a tale.
Most kids like putting on a play. With this version, they need to first produce a script to perform in an hour’s time! I find it helps to provide them with some stimulus – so maybe pick a genre and some characters together, then get them to come up with the rest. Allow time for rehearsal and performance too – and if you can gather some clothes for dressing up in, even better!
- Responding to art
I LOVE using art to get children’s imaginations fired up. Pick a painting (one with people in it usually works better), and encourage your kids to think about what’s going on in it. There’s no right or wrong answer – if they want to go nuts with it, why not? Then, ask them to write a poem or story about it.
- First, middle and last lines
Thanks to my friends Dixie and Polly for this one. You’ll need some scraps of paper for this one. Write down a random ‘first line’ of a story, then a ‘middle line’, then a ‘last line’. Your child must build a story around these – using the first at the beginning, the last at the end, and (you guessed it) the middle one somewhere in the middle!
So, a good first line might be:
“He thought the journey would never end.”
“When the rain started to fall, it looked like it would never stop.”
A good middle line might be:
“Why they did that, he didn’t understand.”
“It made her red with embarrassment.”
A good end line might be:
“Well, that was a load of rubbish, he thought.”
“And they all ran away quickly, before they were caught.”
Try to keep it as vague as possible, as this frees up the imagination a bit more!
I’ll try to do a few more of these as time goes on. In the meantime, stay as healthy as possible, folks, and look after one another.