Kids love fantasy stories!

You know this, I know this, and of course those film producers in Hollywood know this.

Harry Potter, How to Train Your Dragon, The Mummy, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and so on.

With effortless ease, these movies mesmerise kids and ignite their imagination with fascinating characters and wonderful new worlds.

And this is also true: most kids are quite readily inspired to create their own fantasy tales.

“Mummy, mummy! Daddy, daddy! Please listen to my story?”

Despite their enthusiasm, though, they often start off strong but lack the skills to develop their narrative coherently.


EASY STORY WRITING

If you’d like to help your kids develop confidence in their own creative writing abilities, you can try using the specially-designed Story Boxes worksheet at the end of this article.

Here’s what you’ll need:

#1: Some time set aside to help your kids get started. Just ten to twenty minutes will do.

#2: The Fun Story Boxes worksheet. Feel free to print this out, or create your own version.

#3: Something to write with. A pen or pencil. Alternatively, if your kids are comfortable with using mobile gadgets, you can even do this on your smartphone, iPad or laptop.

There are three simple guidelines to remember:

• Work on one box at a time. If it helps, you can even fold the worksheet so that you don’t get distracted by the other sections.

• Only write down ideas that make you laugh or smile. Have fun, go crazy and entertain yourself!

• Set a time limit and stick to it. If each session feels short and breezy, your kids won’t be stressed out by the activity. This also applies to you mothers (and fathers), too.

Illustration by Ben Smith

STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE

Just to make sure you don’t get stuck, here are some suggestions for each box.

Box 1: What’s your Hero’s name?

This should be really easy. You can come up with something cool and glamorous (Frankiston! Pink Princess! Ella the Elf!). Or, use a common or familiar name (Wei? Kitty? Justin Bieber?).

Box 2: What’s special about your Hero?

Does your Hero like animals? Play music? Make a mess when eating? Dress in special clothes? Have a magical talent, like being able to turn invisible?

Box 3: Something bad happens. What?

Make this big and perplexing. Maybe their school vanishes! Or, all the fish in the market turn into stone! Alternatively, it can be a small disturbance to daily life. Like, the Hero’s shoes don’t fit anymore. Or, the TV suddenly goes blank.

Box 4: Who’s the Evil Villain behind this?

A ferocious monster, a wicked witch, a hostile invader from another dimension, etc.

Box 5: Why is the Evil Villain doing this?

What does this character want? Show that the Evil Villain is being selfish and inconsiderate.

Box 6: How did your Hero solve the problem?

Did your Hero have to figure out a riddle? Create something from scratch? Call on some friends for help? See if you can link this to Box 2, the trait that makes your Hero special.

Box 7: What happened in the end?

Wrap up your story with a happy ending, a fun ending, or best of all, a happy AND fun ending.

Box 8: How did this change your Hero’s life?

This can be a big shift in character values (for example, the Hero decides to start volunteering at an orphanage), or just a quirky twist (for example, the Hero can’t bear the sight of peanut butter anymore).

WORKS LIKE MAGIC

This Story Boxes method seems to work with any age group.

You can do this at home. But also in a bus, in your car, while waiting at the doctor’s, just about anywhere.

It’s a great way to kill time, keep your little ones occupied, and play an active role in your child’s creative development, all at once.

Five-year-olds might not be able to spell all the words, so you’ll have to jot down what they say.

But rest assured, they will not be lacking in astounding story ideas or magical plot twists. Do try your best to keep up with them, eh?

You can also type up the stories and post them on your blog or Facebook page.

Share the tales with your family and friends. Let them witness the growth of your child’s imagination and creative abilities.

Who knows, your kids might even inspire them to start writing too!

Wouldn’t that be cool?


This article was contributed by Don Bosco, who is daddy to two young boys and the author of fantasy stories for young readers. Your kids will enjoy his Time Talisman series, published through Select Books. Get a free download of The Secret of Monk’s Hill (Part 1) here.

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