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Take a story, create a world

Hand’s up how many of you or your children have a favourite storybook? 🙋‍♀️

Yep, me too! (some of my favourite childhood books are above 📖)

It’s no surprise really, is it? Stories either transform our worlds and create new and exciting places to be and things to do in our minds, or they are a comfort to us and bring us familiar characters who are gentle and kind, who explore emotions that touch us and whose story life we find happy, funny or full of friendship.

Both my children had their favourite books, sometimes we shared the same one together. I still have them, stored safely for the next generation in the hope that the stories will be enjoyed again (yes, I know, I’m a softie!!).

Stories are such a great way to talk about things and can be used as a springboard for conversations about friendship, families and even issues regarding health. There are so many different books out there these days, much more choice than when I had little ones!

But I’m not here to talk about which books you need to read (although if you have some fab recommendations, please share in the comments!) but more about how to help your child create the world they are exploring.

A while ago I wrote about a class project I started where we used The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe book to explore Narnia through the book, film and through art and prop-making. It was a way to absorb the complete world that C.S. Lewis had created and use our imaginations to re-create it in full size for ourselves.

Now, I’m not suggesting you re-create and build whatever world your child loves at the moment in life-size models throughout your home but creating things that make the link to a favourite book brings enthusiasm and provides a learning experience at the same time.

In the UK we have a series of books by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul about a character called Winnie the Witch. Now, Winnie gets herself into all sorts of (fun) scrapes in each book, but what I noticed that in every book there is an opportunity for getting creative and making something linked to the story or Winnie herself!

There are many books out there that have this same appeal, but how do you know what to do when you read them?

Here are 5 things to look out for:

1. Does the main character have a problem they need solving? How would your child solve it? Could they draw or make a solution?

2. Does the story have anything that has a moving parts, such as a vehicle or machine? Could your child re-create it or make it even better than it is?! Can they get it to move?

3. If the book also has a film connected to it, have you seen it? What important props did you notice? Could you make a prop from the film?

4. Does the character have a wish to fulfil? Could your child write a letter from the character to whoever, saying what they think the character would write? (Some books are written like letters, so maybe see if you could write the next one or the reply together).

5. Does the character need something or want to find something? Could your child design and create a poster for that need/want? For example, they need to find someone [missing person poster], they need to find something that’s missing [reward poster]. Younger children may not create a poster but might make lots of small note style pictures/words to spread around. Don’t be afraid to display them inside or out!

Don’t think of this as a homework or ‘child-only’ activity. Getting involved, if they want you to, and building excitement in the task is a great way to keep momentum going! You can talk in a story-book style during the task and even dress up if your child enjoys that. Make it fun and not about learning!

Remember, these are tips for you to get you started if you’re stuck for how to start, not the “be all and end all” as we say in the UK. Go with the flow. Be confident. Be fun. Take your child’s lead and think like a child if they want your help.

Most importantly, bring the storybook world to them and see what happens! ✨✨

See you next time

Debbie x

As a parent, learning and understanding how to develop creativity in your child is such an important skill. In the Grow A Creative Child Academy, we not only provide creative activities for your child, but also offer parenting modules based specifically on Creative Parenting. To join or find out more, CLICK HERE>>>

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