Good morning! I am so happy today to be playing it smart with Delia from Delia Creates and her series:Delia is one of my most-admired bloggers. She’s the real deal, total package. She’s sweet and genuine, insanely talented, and always coming up with amazing things to do for yourself and with your children. One of the first posts I ever remember seeing of hers was a little outdoor table and chair set made of ice she made for her boys to have a winter picnic. I knew then I wanted to follow her blog to be inspired to do more things like that with my own children. She’s amazing.
So let’s play it smart!
I like my kids. They’re pretty much some of the best people I know. I share a lot of the things I sew for my kids, but I’m really excited today to get to share some of the fun things I do with my kids. When Delia invited me to participate in this series, I immediately knew what I wanted to share with you all. My boys and I had just finished working on some fun creative writing, and we had such a great time doing it. I think it’s the perfect way to work a little learning into your child’s playtime, and record some of what comes out of their amazing imaginations.
First off, I have to give credit to my kids’ Nana, Linda, who inspired this recent creative writing spree. She is an amazing doll artist. I wish I had pictures of some of her other creations. They’re mind-blowing. We recently visited her and my dad for a week. Shortly after our return home, the boys received a package from Nana in the mail. Inside were three friends she’d created and a note explaining who they were, with a little back story on each and a request for the boys to write more of the dolls’ stories and send them back to Nana.
Seriously, what a great idea! And how incredibly easy would this be to do with any of your kids’ favorite toys?! Just write up a brief paragraph, or list of characteristics on the toy, and encourage your child to add to it. You could designate a specific notebook for the stories, like Nana Linda has her Book of Dolls, and have your child record all sorts of adventures and details of their most-loved playthings.
My boys wanted to dive into their stories of Mr. Meeps, Captain Bomback and Voodoo Daddy as soon as I’d finished reading the note to them. Using the note as a jumping off point, all three boys spent an afternoon coming up with stories to accompany the stuffed friends. My four year old dictated his to me, but my ten- and seven year olds were able to work independently on theirs.
Later that night, we had a really awesome family night where the boys shared their stories with all of us, and then called Nana Linda to read them to her over the phone. Another afternoon, they illustrated their stories.
I need to scan their stories and illustrations for us to have copies , and then send them off to Nana Linda for her Book of Dolls.
All three boys have been playing with the stuffed toys, and acting out the stories they wrote. Toys inspiring story telling inspiring more play. So fun!
My oldest decided he wanted to add to the characters, and has started a sewing project to make a pet armadillo, Arrmy. We haven’t had a chance to finish it up yet, but hopefully we can get to it once school is out next week.
via my instagram @sewastraightline We haven’t done it for these stories, but another idea would be to have your kids write and perform a short skit based on the stories they come up with. When I was a little girl, I had a friend who was always organizing us to put on plays she’d written for her family. I’m hoping to have my boys do something like that this summer. I doubt they’ll need much prompting, they love to put on “Silly Shows” frequently for each other, and love it even more when my husband and I record them so they can watch them later. Performing skits, especially ones they’ve written, is a great way to teach communication and public speaking, memorization, organization and follow-through, and working with others. And they’re fun. If your child, or you, are having a hard time organizing thoughts and details to write the stories, you can make a simple spider diagram. Below is one I made for my oldest son to use on another creative writing assignment. I’m currently homeschooling him, and I had given him the assignment to come up with a superhero and then write about the character he came up with. Over the course of a week, we worked on this particular project. The first day, I had him fill in the bubbles on the diagram. Then over the next few days, he’d take a couple of bubbles and write a paragraph for each using what he’d written in them the first day. By the end of the week, all he had to do was come up with an opening paragraph and conclusion, and he had a two-page story. He’s my kid who is very easily overwhelmed, and has a hard time because he only sees the big picture. Telling him to write a five-paragraph assignment is enough to send him into full on panic. But by breaking things down, he wrote the whole thing without a fuss. It was so fun when he was done, and I was able to point out he’d written as much as he had. He told me that day maybe he’d like to be a writer when he grows up, he had so much fun doing it and the process was so much easier than he’d been expecting.
Kids have great imaginations. Mine are always coming up with imaginary friends and alter egos, and silly stories to go along with them. I mentioned last week my oldest son’s long-time alter ego, Jellyfishman. We’ve had Crap, Loco, Door Nog, Mummy Guy and more over the years between the three boys. If your child has an alter ego or imaginary friend, encourage them to sit down and record the details that are floating around in their heads. Illustrate the story, make a small toy or a molded-clay action figure for them to play out their writing. Maybe even help them put together a costume they can wear to more fully act out their story through a fun little skit or just impromptu play. Having something tangible they can hold and read and share with others reinforces your child’s ideas, and validates their creativity. Plus, it’s just fun to see what they come up with!
Creative writing and story-telling, smart play for kids of all ages!