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By Oxford Owl, posted on 29th January 2018

4 tips to inspire children’s creative writing

Coming up with a great story idea can be tricky, which is why we’ve gathered together four fun activities to spark your child’s imagination and help them overcome writer’s block. Why not use these activities to inspire your child to create an exciting adventure for the BBC 500 Words short story competition?

Please note: The closing day for BBC 500 Words 2020 is Thursday 27th February 2020. Find out more on our BBC 500 Words page.

1. Find inspirational objects at home

Unusual objects can be a great source of story inspiration. Raid your kitchen cupboards or hunt through the attic to find lost treasures. Anything from an old hat to a telescope will do the trick. Ask your child questions about the object to inspire different story ideas.

What could it be used for? Who might be looking for it? What secrets could it hold? Suggest different genres or types of story such as mystery or science fiction and discuss how the item might be used in this kind of story.

2. Turn facts into fiction

Fun facts from encyclopedias, museums, zoos, the internet and beyond can inspire astounding stories. Did you know a jumping flea can accelerate faster than a space rocket taking off into orbit? You could use this science fact to spark a story about an astronaut flea saving Tim Peake from bug-eyed alien invaders.

What is the craziest story idea your child can think of inspired by the facts they find?

Author Top Tip:
Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks: just write the story you would love to read.

Harriet Muncaster

3. Scour the headlines

Real-life events can often spark great story ideas. Have a look through a newspaper or find some news articles online. There are all sorts of interesting details in news stories that could inspire wild and wacky stories. Why not combine details from different reports to create a fresh and original story?

4. Have fun with our idea generator

Sometimes it’s the mix of ingredients that can give you a story idea that stands out from the crowd. Get your budding writer to choose different characters, settings and genres from the table below and mix them together. What kind of mystery would Sherlock Holmes solve on his visit to Hogwarts?

Story idea generator

BBC 500 Words

Download the BBC 500 Words activity sheet and have your child pick a type or genre of story, character and setting and put them together to make a story idea. They can pick and mix from every category or even throw their own ideas into the mix!

Download activity sheet >

Author Top Tip:
Don’t just go with your first idea for a story. a) it might not be your best idea and b) the chances are, a lot of other people will think up that idea as their first idea too. So come up with at least three different ideas – and then choose the one you think is the best.

Cas Lester

These activities should help your child get off to a flying start in writing an amazing tale. The only limit is their imagination!

More from Oxford Owl

Books to support creative writing

How to Write Your Best Story Ever!

Christopher Edge | Age 9+

Ideal for children wanting to enter story writing competitions! This is a humorous and authoritative book that will awaken the author in every child, unlocking their story ideas and giving them hints and tips to create their own stories.

Buy on Amazon >

How To Be A Young #Writer

Christopher Edge

This book will help children learn to craft brilliant stories, create believable characters, write powerful endings and much more. Packed with practical tips and insider advice from published authors, this guide opens up the secrets of how to write well and guides young writers all the way through from beating the fear of the blank page and learning to edit their work, to how to get other people reading their stories.

Buy on Amazon >

Write Your Best Story Ever! Notebook

Christopher Edge | Age 7+

A must-have notebook to unlock the imagination and inspire children to start writing, full of great hints and tips, and activity pages for jotting down words, sketching characters, and writing in stories.

Buy on Amazon >

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