(Because Sometimes You Need More Than Just Pen and Paper…)
I love writing. (Being an author, I’m sure that’s as surprising as the sun rising.) But that doesn’t mean I don’t get bored with blank pages. It can be hard to engage with nothing, let alone turn it into something. And for youth of all ages – that can be just as boring. And, very daunting.
Enter – creative ways to create stories! A story doesn’t have to be written through traditional methods.
For example, Michael Bublé – the world-famous singer and songwriter – wrote his hit song, “Home” in a bathtub. And queen-of-romance novelist Danielle Steel is known for writing her books via a “1946 Olympia manual typewriter.” (https://mashable.com/2014/02/15/modern-writers-technology/) Even Derek Murphy, an artist turned cover designer turned bestselling author and publishing guru, describes how he often writes stories based on covers. Meaning, he finds pre-made book covers that he loves, and crafts his stories based on those. (https://www.creativindie.com/the-really-weird-tricks-i-use-to-write-and-publish-bestselling-books/)
I’m not saying invest in a special bathtub, old school typewriter, or a slew of pre-made book covers. (Just don’t.) The point is – creating itself is a form of writing, even if it’s done through a unique format. While this notion applies to just about everyone to some degree, it’s particularly helpful for kids who are learning. And not just learning to read and write – but learning to love reading and writing.
Read on to discover the inventive ways you can encourage your child to be… well… inventive! 😊
1. Character Creator - Voki – https://www.voki.com/
Voki is an awesome tool for bringing characters to life. Users can design the entire look of their character (including mythological creatures and more!) and then add text and a voice (with accent options!) to bring their character to life. It’s free to create a character and a total blast! (There are also more advanced options for those who want to use Voki for presentations, classroom teachers, and hangouts. More about these options and their pricing can be found on the website.)
2. “Comix Strip” Maker - Make Beliefs Comix -https://www.makebeliefscomix.com/Comix/
Making a Comix Strip is a great way for visual learners and young artists to create stories. (Or just about anyone, really. I had a fantastic time creating the example shown to the right. No, seriously - it was super fun.)
Make Beliefs Comix offers a creation tool that is unique, easy to use, and a great way to help young, creative minds bring their stories to life!
3. Writing Game - Pass the Pages
Here’s a fun activity you can do that doesn’t involve technology but does utilize collaboration. It takes at least two people, but the more the merrier! The first person writes one sentence on a piece of paper. He/she doesn’t say what they’ve written. They simply write their sentence down and then pass the paper to the next person. Then that person adds to the story by writing one additional sentence. This continues with each person writing only one sentence, taking turns as needed. (If there are two players, they can pass it back and forth. If there are four, they would each write one sentence and then start back over with the first person writing another sentence, etc. If the group is large, like a full classroom, it could also be stopped after everyone has written one sentence.)
Once everyone has had a chance to write an equal number of sentences, and there are at least 5 – 10 sentences in the story, choose one participant to read the story aloud. Chances are, the story will be pretty funny! Or at the very least – it will have taken some unique twists and turns as more sentences were added and the story was established.
This activity is also a great reminder for how much fun it can be to collaborate with people!
4. Online Story Creator - StoryJumper – https://www.storyjumper.com/
This site is so much fun! And for any children out there who really want to see their words and creations in print – this website makes that an option. I love how easily children can really make books come to life through this site. They have a range of options for creating stories that will make it accessible for a wide range of learners. The dashboard is intuitive and fun, and the images are bright and delightful!
I did not have to create an account to make a story (see example left); but if you wanted to save your story, you would need to do so. If you’re concerned about costs – don’t worry. Most of the fun is free! According to the StoryJumper website, there is, “No cost required to use StoryJumper at school or home. Create, share, and read StoryJumper books online for free.”
So, you’re only going to need to think about prices if your child wants to publish their book. (Prices for this are outlined on their website.)
Well, that’s a wrap! I hope you and your aspiring writers and creators dig into the above resources and have a blast!
If you’re looking for specific book-related activities or ideas for your child – or your classroom! – please glance through my Activities Packets. They are free, original activity packets that provide wonderful extension questions, suggested readings, and fun stuff (word searches or crafts, anyone?!) for each story!
PS – I add new activity packets, resources, and other content regularly! Want to be the first to know? Sign up here!