Assigning kids to do creative writing always seems like a good idea to adults, but it can be daunting for emergent writers. Goodness, it can be daunting even for experienced authors. Sometimes there’s nothing worse than a blank slate. Some kids will take right off with a story on their own no matter what, but most need some kind of idea, story starter, or specific assignment. Tell a kid to just “free write” and chances are, you’ll see a blank stare. Instead, give them an idea to get their creative juices flowing.
Here’s an example of a creative writing assignment instead of just creative writing:
Gather a map, a bottle with a lid for each kid, and some sort of water container. We found our bottle at a thrift shop for a dollar, but a plastic pop bottle works just fine too. We also live right by a lake, so it was a convenient water source for us, but a basin, a sink, or tub would work if you don’t live near a lake or pond.
Tell the kids that they are each going to write an adventure story about an imaginary trip that left them stranded on a deserted island. Their only chance to be rescued is to tell their story by writing a message and putting it into a bottle in the water. Hope someone will find their message in a bottle!
Next, brainstorm together things that could be included in the story.
Who are you?
Where are you from?
Where were you headed when you became stranded?
How were you traveling?
What went wrong?
What is the island like?
What is the weather like there?
What plants and animals have you seen?
What do you eat?
Do you live in some sort of shelter?
Kids can use maps to find real places in the world where they could be stranded. They could even include some simple illustrations if they’d like.
When the message in a bottle tales are written, the kids should put them inside their bottle.
Time to set it afloat!
If several kids are participating, they can fish each others’ tales out and read them (and perhaps even write about a rescue mission!)
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