by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.com
Here’s a new prompt in my series, Creative Prompts for Kids. Sometimes children need a gentle nudge to spark their creativity. Whether they go on to choreograph a dance, create a sculpture from junk or write a play, the most important thing is to encourage them to create something in response to a prompt. Sometimes kids will start with one of these prompts but then go on and make up a much better idea. Underneath the prompt ideas you’ll find a list of all my Creative Prompts to date.
Today my challenge for kids is to start with a toy. The toy might be a real one of your own, or be one you want or imagine.
* Draw a plan for a toy you wish existed. Label it and explain how it works.
* One of your toys could be the main character in a play. What is your play about? Does your toy character have a problem to solve? Where and when will the action take place?
* Choose any three old toys you no longer want - might be best to check with an adult first - and create something with them. You might pull them apart and reassemble them to create a whole new toy. You might glue them together to make an interesting sculpture and paint it in amazing colours. You might invent something entirely new, based on those old toys, or their shapes.
* Think of a simple five scene story you would like to tell using some toys, LEGO or models. Draw up a storyboard with one simple sentence per scene. Make sure your story has a beginning, a middle and an end. If you’re stuck for ideas, try re-telling a nursery rhyme or a joke. Set up scenes using your chosen toys, adding detail with any other props you like. Photograph your five scenes. Add a sentence to each image that helps explain the story, using picture software like PicMonkey, or simply write the bottom of a printed out image. You can read more about this process in my article, Visual Story Telling.
* Choose two toys and imagine a conversation they might have. Write the conversation down, or record it as an audio/video recording. Try reading the dialogue aloud until you’re sure it doesn’t stumble. Practise using a different voice for each toy, then record your conversation again. You could use a microphone, a phone, an iPad or other device and some apps to keep a permanent record of what you created.
* Design the biggest toy in the world. What might go wrong if such a toy came to life?
* Design a very small toy. Can you create a model of it from LEGO, play-dough, cardboard, something else?
* Create a toy via a new method you’ve never tried. You might decide to knit or crochet a toy, cook a toy, invent a toy with circuits, code a toy, or some other way. Who might the toy be for? What will you name it?
* What’s the scariest toy you can imagine? If you’re brave enough, think about what might go wrong in people’s lives if such a toy existed. Create some way of communicating this idea to an audience.
* Write a letter to someone in your family, explaining what toys you need and persuading them to get the toys for you.
* Design a toy with wheels.
* Design a toy made from breakfast cereal.
* Explore using a toy to create a simple stop motion video. You could use an app like LEGO Movie Maker to try this. Once you’re comfortable with the process consider creating something a little more complicated. What story would you like to tell?