Writing Inspiration for Kids: Five Tips for Parents

Kids Writing Pic from Byron Writers Festival StoryBoard Shel Sweeney

Are you keen to spark creativity, encourage kids to write and just fill in some time over the school holidays? Take a look at these five ‘Writing Inspiration for Kids’ tips, taken from my Young Writers’ StorySchool program, that are designed to inspire even the most reluctant writer or reader!

1) Have a go at the Anything Goes writing blast below. (I’ve just put the video up on YouTube or you can find it with activity sheet on the StorySchool site.) It’s a regular freewriting practice in which you write non-stop for five minutes. Don’t assess or judge what’s produced. The point of the Anything Goes concept is to foster creativity and to extend the imagination. Start off with the prompt ‘I remember…’ and encourage writers to jot down 10-15 memories.

2) Ask your young writer to select an item or artefact that means something to them, and then to draw that item. Talk about the object and ask why it’s special. Did they find it? Did they save up to buy it? Was it a gift from someone special? Miss Aston, the teacher in my book, Detention, does this activity with her students at the beginning of the book and it’s one that I love using in workshops.

3) For those keen to expand on this theme, encourage the writer to use the artefact as inspiration to write a short story.

Writing blast I remember

4) Gather some interesting news stories from newspapers or magazines (or do it digitally). Get them to cut out the items that interest them and keep them in a folder. If you’re completing the exercise online, collate their stories into a Google doc. Once they’ve settled on a few items of interest, ask them to choose one or two and write a story that’s inspired by these true events. News stories were a big inspiration for my books Two Wolves, The Fall and Detention.

Vision board

5) Suggest that your young writer spends 10 minutes looking online or in books for people they’d like to cast as the lead character in their story if it was made into a movie. When they’ve decided on their protagonist, ask them to complete a 5-10 minute writing blast, from the point of view of their character. If they love this exercise, encourage them to develop brief scripts for the other characters in their story. You can see a snippet of the StorySchool video for this exercise below.


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A post shared by Tristan Bancks (@tristanbancksbooks)


If you’re looking for more writing inspiration for kids, you can find videos for all of these activities at Young Writers’ StorySchool with worksheets and teaching notes for further ideas. It’s for home and classroom The program is $99 for a one-year individual subscription (but, for readers of this post, as a school holiday special, you can use the discount code TB20 at checkout to receive 20% off the full-price annual subscription). And, if you happen to be in NSW, you can use your Creative Kids vouchers to get StorySchool for your young writer for free. Details on the site. Happy writing!

Top pic on this post is by Shel Sweeney for Byron Writers Festival’s amazing StoryBoard program.


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