Some of you may know that our 6 year old…
Does NOT like writing.
Does NOT like creative writing.
Does NOT like writing at all in fact.
Or drawing (which is why you have a picture of a reindeer ;).
He also finds it difficult to come up with things to do and will sloth about on the floor or the sofa saying how bored he is. BUT if you say he can use the iPad, he gets up so quickly you wonder if something is wrong, a light goes on in his eyes and he turns into someone quite unrecognisable.
We limit screen time as I think most parents probably do but I’ve been looking for ways to inspire him to pick up a pen and/or get his creative juices flowing and not just default to his sister for fun ideas. Now I don’t mean to get him writing books or anything but just for him to be able to do his homework without feeling stressed would be a start! I’m also hoping that once he’s got over this hump it will open up his play and he’ll find it easier to exercise his imagination.
I think the hardest thing about writing is knowing WHAT to write. It’s all very well having to write stories or book reviews at school but nothing is going to come out of your pencil if you haven’t managed to form your thoughts in your head.
It suddenly occurred to me that I really needed to get on to his wavelength:
- Q… What does he truly enjoy doing?
A… Videogames, fantasy play, problem solving, outdoor play, visual tasks, ‘boys stuff’
- Q… What might he want to write about if he found it easy?
A… Characters with super powers who defeat the baddies? Inventing a special fart machine.
- Q… What would inspire him to write it?
A… Perhaps if I can link it up to videogames somehow? i.e. perhaps he could actually write and design his own game??
- Q… What does he like reading and in what sort of style?
A… Comic style books and Diary of a Wimpy Kid etc. Maybe he’d like to write a comic?
So, I breezily said ‘do you fancy playing with me by yourself? I’ve had an idea…’ His ears pricked up, jumping at the chance for some one-to-one.
I gave him my pitch – together we could work out some characters for a video game or a comic with goodies & baddies in. They’d need names, descriptions of their super power, how big they are and what side they’re on etc. His eyes lit up – I had him.
So first of all we got the stencils out and did a title page and then of course we had to run through all the words beginning with each letter until we’d found one we liked the best.
When we got on to the characters we had so much fun just chatting about each one. He was brimming with ideas but was just lacking in confidence on what was ‘ok to write’. Some characters were familiar, like Spiderman and some made up like ‘Thing’, ‘Egg Boy’, ‘Black Widow’ and ‘Stinger. There are another couple of pages somewhere but I’m not sure where they went. Then of course each character needed a shield and suddenly a world was created. The boy was chuffed to bits!
He spent AGES after our one to one time thinking and writing IN THE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS. I’m very proud of him for putting the extra time in as I know it’s an area he finds so hard. It’s also something we can go back to anytime we like, to think and write some more.
Then our 8 year old daughter caught wind of what we were up to and she started doing a comic strip – all about ‘Flame’ who set fire to a building, got arrested and then escaped. How lovely.
We’re always on the look out for more ideas so if you have any tips on inspiring your child to write, please leave a comment with them in! We’ve also had great success with this idea Here.
Do have a browse through our blog (crafts, parenting, recipes etc) and come and join us on Facebook for lots more! We also have a lovely new Facebook Group called Christmas Traditions & Magic For Children so please come and join us there too!
To receive our blog posts, please sign up at the right hand side of this page or for Product or Christmas News and promotions from the International Elf Service, please sign up at the bottom of the page. This year’s series of Elfie’s Christmas Letters, a shorter set of letters from different elves from the North Pole and other fun products will be in the shop a little later. Don’t forget Elfie’s Birthday Letters are now available in the shop too!