Friday, January 30, 2015

Creative Prompt for Kids, If Only…

Creative Prompt for Kids, If Only…
by Susan Stephenson,

I love what creative prompts offer us. A prompt is something that nudges us in the direction of some kind of creative endeavour. Writers young and old use them, and so do other artists and artisans. A prompt might take the form of an image, an object or some kind of media. Very often the prompts I’ve used with kids have been questions. The response might be in the form of a dance, a sculpture, a garden, or a haiku - whatever way you choose to respond that’s right for you.

I gained the inspiration for today’s prompt from Pie Corbett, a wonderful UK poet and teacher whom I greatly admire. Do watch this short video (embedded below) where he reads his If Only... poem, then goes on to give examples of using a similar structure with objects he sees.

If only… is a little like my prompt, What if…? but goes much further in encouraging the creation of lovely word pictures and poetry.

Let’s encourage kids to look around them and ponder what they see. For example:

  • If only the sunrise had a pause button, I would share it with all of you. 
  • If only I had frog legs, I could jump onto my neighbour’s roof to fetch our cricket ball.
  • If only I could slide down rainbows and swing on stars… 
  • If only I had the key to unlock the hearts of those who would close libraries.

Once kids have a list, they might like to go on and weave several fragments into a poem. Or take one fragment and let it be the brainstorm prompt for more with a similar theme. Or choose the one If only... sentence they like the best. A class poem could be constructed of individual poems like Carronshore Primary School did in this video. Children might also like to photograph the things around them that they use their imaginations to write about, then add their poems digitally via software or an online image editor.

If you’re interested in helping kids with writing, do check out the Writing button in my sidebar for more articles. I’ve written a whole series of prompts for creating at The Book Chook, and gathered them into a Listly list, below.

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