Child’s Play

by limebirdvanessa

For my first post as an excited new member of the Limebird team, I thought I would share a few ideas for games and activities that you can do with children to help stimulate their interest in creative writing and storytelling.

1) Alphabet Story – Write the letters of the alphabet on individual pieces of card and place them face down. A complete story must be told in 26 sentences. The first child picks up a card and tells the first sentence of the story using that letter to start the first word. Each child takes a turn adding a sentence to the story, starting with whichever letter they pick up. Whoever picks up the last letter must finish off the story with their line.

2) The Description Game – Print off or cut out from magazines some pictures of unusual characters or landscape/room scenes. Place them face down without the children having seen them. The first child randomly picks one of the pictures, and without showing it to the others, starts to describe the picture whilst the other children draw what is being described. They must only draw what is described without adding anything extra. At the end, they will enjoy comparing how close their drawings are to the original picture. This helps to teach them the significance of detail in descriptions. It works best when the child who is describing cannot see what is being drawn by the others until the end.

3) Fold and write – Each child has a piece of paper and a pen. Instruct them to each write a boys name at the top of the paper and then fold the top over to hide the name and pass their paper round to the next person. They should then write a girl’s name, and again fold it over and pass it on. Then carry on in the same way with naming a place they have gone to, something that happened when they got there, something that the boy said, something that the girl said, and what happened in the end. When finished, open them all up and each person takes a turn telling one of the stories.

4) Sentimental objects – Place a number of small objects into a bag. Tell the children that one at a time, they must reach into the bag and pull out whatever the first object is that they touch. They then have to imagine that this object is something that is very special and precious to them, and they have to tell the story of the object, starting “This object is very special to me because…”. The fun is in the choice of objects; rather than choosing obviously precious objects, go for things like a screwed up tissue, a broken pencil, a sock with a hole in it etc.

5) Something out of nothing – Print off or cut out some pictures of mundane activities, such as a lady drinking a cup of tea, a man sitting in a chair, a cat eating (advertisements can be a good source for these pictures). Tell the children that they are all going to be journalists. Each one must choose a picture and then write a news story based on the picture. They must make a mundane activity sound interesting and newsworthy. You may need to have done a sample one yourself beforehand to show them e.g. ‘The residents of a small sleepy village were shocked when they saw Mary Smith (43) drinking a cup of tea in her garden. Neighbour John (52) said “I couldn’t believe it when I saw what she was doing, she had a brown cup, full to the top with tea, and was sipping it slowly”. A close friend revealed that this was not the first time Mary had been seen drinking tea’. The children should come up with a snappy headline for their story, and stick the picture on to the page. All the stories can then be clipped together into a finished newspaper.

Do you have any other ideas for games and activities that encourage creative writing in children?

Editor’s note – If you would like to learn more about LimebirdVanessa, you can do so here – Meet The Team   B x


25 Responses to “Child’s Play”

  1. Great ideas for kids and adults. Thank you so much. I have been following Limebirds and saw this in an e mail I received from Hay House. I thought you all might be interested.

    “Only Four More Weeks to Get Published!
    You have until June 1st to send in your original and completed fiction manuscript to our new Hay House Visions Fiction Writing Contest hosted by Hay House and Balboa Press. The Grand Prize is a contract with Hay House’s new fiction imprint—Hay House Visions and a $5,000 advance.Other winners will receive free publishing packages with Balboa Press and more! ‘
    If you just Google Hay House or Balboa Press you could find the e mail address. Sorry I don’t have more info, but you all seem so dedicated, I thought you would be interested. Best wishes to you all. Barbara

    • Thank you for commenting Barbara. Thanks also for the competition info – it sounds like a great prize and I’m sure will be of interest to those with a completed fiction manuscript!

  2. Oh welcome welcome welcome to the Limebirds 😀 chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp

    I love these! #4 and 5 sound really fun!

  3. A massive Limebird welcome to you LimebirdVanessa! You have been a fabulous contributor to Limebird for a long while, so it’s a honour to have you as part of our team. Love this post, I’ll have to try some of these with my younger siblings (or even the beaver scouts that I help with). Great debut! Looking forward to your next post already. B x

    • Thank you so much Beth for turning me into a Limebird, it was quite painless! And the initiation ceremony wasn’t half as bad as the others had made out 😉 Yes, those games would be good to do with the beaver scouts I should think – it’s nice to have a few quiet activities to fall back on when you’re looking after groups of children! I have the ideas for my next four posts in my head already, but I shall try and space them out a bit… x

  4. Welcome to the nest Vanessa, we’re all so glad to have you! Great first article, and I liked #2 and #3, right up my alley 🙂

    • Thanks very much Neeks. Yes, number 3, the fold and write, is one of my children’s favourites – we also do the similar one with drawing a person where you draw a head, fold and pass on etc. Just thinking aloud…maybe the two games could be combined so that you have a pictures of the people that the stories are about!

  5. Vanessa, congratulations on joining this terrific group! I don’t have any kids, and I still liked your post. Good for you — your fellow limebirds will take good care of you!

  6. Nice post!

    My eldest is still a bit too young for most of these, but when he was first learning to read about a year ago, I’d write little (tiny) stories about him or his friends at school using easy words and a few high-interest words. It increased the fun of reading, and he saw me write them (they do emulate a lot).

    For instance, I might wright something like this (his initial is A, he loves watertowers – especially if they fall down):

    A saw a red watertower. Joe saw the red watertower too. A and Joe play with a big green ball by the red watertower. The water tower fell down. It went boom! A and Joe went home.

    Not a page-turner, but very exciting to a four year old (who loves water towers falling down).

    • Thank you Shannon. Clearly a page-turner for four year olds! I think young children always love stories that star themselves, so I can see your idea working well! Like those books you can special order that they print to incorporate the names of your children and their friends – I remember having one of those as a child and it was about me going on a magical adventure and then waking up thinking it had been a dream, but then finding the magic feather under my pillow. My parents had put a real feather in the back of the book before giving it to me, so there was a little part of me that believed I really quite possibly had actually been on that magical adventure!

  7. Welcome! The Limebird Writers are all so wonderful. They are the most supportive group of writers that I have come across. 🙂

  8. Welcome to our cozy little nest, Vanessa. I’m so thrilled to have you as part of our team. 🙂 I love this post! It is so informative and helpful. I teach an after-school creative writing program to younger students (6-10 year olds) and I am always looking for new, current ideas to stimulate their imaginations.

    What is most difficult is the time of day. They’re in school for 8 hours already. Very few of them can handle another hour after school, sitting and writing. So, I try to incorporate physical activities that pair well with writing.

    One activity we did (which I came up with at the 11th hour because I was not as organized as I should have been) was to play ‘Hot Potato’ with a beach ball. I came up with a general story idea, then I passed the ball to the next person, and they were supposed to come up with one word that would connect in some way to my idea. Then pass the ball to the next person, and they were to come up with another word that also connected to my idea.

    The only rule was no repetition. Basically this was a physical form of story mapping, where you freewrite anything that comes to mind in relation to one topic. Some kids came up with really descriptive words, or action words, and that was really exciting to see.

    The kids enjoyed it, and it kept them occupied for a good 15 minutes, before I sat them down and they were ready to just write.

    I LOVE your ideas. I plan to use them all. In fact, I already copied your info into my little folder for future reference. How are you familiar with such wonderful ideas? Are you a teacher–or just a really inventive, smart mom? 🙂

    • Thank you for the welcome and I’m so pleased that the ideas will be useful for you! The ideas were from a few different sources, mostly adapted from things I’ve seen elsewhere. I’m not a teacher, but I work for a university in a role that supports mentoring in schools to raise educational aspirations with students from disadvantaged backgrounds, so we’re always having to come up with activities we can do with groups of kids to help motivate them. Also, as a mother of course I built up a little collection of quiet activity ideas. In fact I could probably do a part two and three to this post at some future point!

  9. Those ideas sound really fun. I can see how it can be used at an older age, as well, when you’re a bit stuck. I think the sentimental object one could be especially useful.

  10. What an amazing post 🙂 I love things like this, especially having a very playful, intelligent and I’m-right-and-particularly-cross-about-it 3 year old daughter!

    I think number 5 is what a lot of newspapers do in general! Ha, love it.

    LBC x


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