Friday, December 3, 2010

Creative Prompt - Start with a Hero

When I was a child, my most common dream was of myself as a hero with super powers, charged with saving the world. I'm sure a psychiatrist could have some fun with that one! But I've noticed that most kids enjoy thinking about heroes, whether that hero is themselves or someone else. (I'm using the word hero in a generic way, to cover both heroines and heroes.)

So our prompt today is to start with a hero. I think this prompt lends itself to creative writing, but that's probably just the way my mind tends to work. Your child might dress up as a favourite hero, design a comic about either a new hero they've imagined or a pre-existing one, design a portfolio for themselves as a fantasy hero, create a sculpture from recycled trash of a hero, choreograph a dance with Heroes as the theme, start a hero scrapbook, design a party with a hero theme, or whatever imagination and enjoyment dictate.

Here are some questions you could ask to help kids think themselves into this prompt:

  • Who is your favourite hero?
  • If you had super powers, what would they be? 
  • If you were a hero, what would you want most in the world? What stops you from getting it?
  • What do heroes wear? 
  • What do heroes believe? 
  • Does the world need heroes? Why?

The prompt might also lead to some interesting discussion about real heroes, rather than fantasy ones. You could look at heroes like firefighters who risk their lives to save others,  research heroic behaviour in war time, or check out The Real Life Super Hero Project. Another tangent might be to look at mythology and the heroes depicted there.

What I did

I stayed with fantasy, true to my childhood dreams. I decided to make a hero of myself at CBP Hero Factory. (There's another interactive game at the British Council where kids can also style their own heroes.)

I chose a female form, then added features that I felt suited the real Susan Stephenson. If I were a hero, this is what I would look like! Creating your hero is a simple matter of clicking through the menus for face, body etc where you can choose garments and accessories. Once that's done, you can further refine your choice by clicking colours and tweaking your colouring scheme. When you're finished, the site creates a name for your hero, and the picture on the cover of a comic book. You can print, or download your creation to your computer as a jpg. I also took a screen grab of my hero before she posed on the front cover. 

I accepted Hero Factory's choice of a name for me - The Great Soaring Condor. Immediately, questions began buzzing into my brain:

  • What does the Great Soaring Condor like to do?
  • What are her super powers?
  • Where does she live?
  • Why does she have pink hair? 
  • What does the S on her suit stand for?
  • Is the belt to hold her pants up, or is she trying for tighter abs?

Pink hair? I quickly turned to Skitch to slightly alter my screen grab image and found a template in Comic Life that would accept two images, the original and one that Skitch had created with dark hair. Adding speech bubbles and a caption took moments.

This activity is very similar to starting with a picture, which I wrote about in Creative Prompt - Start with an Old Picture. You'll find more helpful ideas about using pictures to spark children's own writing in Sandy Fussell's guest post, Becoming a Story Detective

My article today is the twelfth in a series of prompts that I hope might spark some creative expression in your kids, and maybe you too. I hope you'll join me so we can all challenge ourselves to be more creative. You can catch the rest of the prompts at the first post in the series, by scrolling down to Update.

If you and/or your kids respond to this prompt in any creative way you like, and you'd like me to showcase it on my blog, I would be thrilled to do that. If you post it on your own blog, please let me know (in comments or email, via the Contact Me tab), and I'll add your link to the relevant post.


  1. This is always a very popular creative prompt with my students. One year we did a story from the perspective of the side kick. They turned out great. One student had a fly who was the sidekick telling the story. It was creative and funny.

  2. The Book Chook04 December, 2010

    Oh, I love that idea, Kelly! I believe there's an immense well of creativity inside us all, and kids are no different, provided they get opportunities for creative self-expression.


Related Posts with Thumbnails