i‑Learner Education Centre

Steps to Success » Creativity

Imagination Building in Primary School

Little children are full of imagination. The stories they tell are wild rides that connect together a thousand different ideas and never want to end. However, once students reach eight or nine, this freewheeling creativity often comes to an end. Children want to find the right way to tell a story, or they are so focused on spelling, grammar and punctuation that their imaginations are pushed to the side.

At the start of my writing classes, I often play creativity games in order to wake up this part of my students’ brains and remind them what writing is all about. Try these at home if your child struggles with their writing.

Word cards

I have a stack of laminated cards with different words on them, and there are lots of games to play with these. The simplest way to use them is to have the stack turned face down, and then each person takes a card and uses the word on it in a sentence to continue a story. When you’re focused on the next sentence, it takes the pressure off thinking up a whole story, and you can often develop a very imaginative plot together (and have fun at the same time)!

Yes and…

This is a technique from improvisational comedy. It frees up your mind if you know your only response can be ‘yes and…’ It’s also a fantastic way to get learners to link their ideas together in a sequence. When I played this with a class recently, our goal was to plan the best party ever. The first person said: ‘At the party, we will have a huge chocolate cake.’ The second person said: ‘Yes, and on top of the cake, there will be a candle that shoots fireworks.’ As each person built upon what the previous person had said, the ideas got more incredible, and the brainstorming work for a story had turned into a fantastic game.

The magic box

This drama game works well to engage all the senses, which is great for descriptive writing. The first person holds a box – any normal box will do, but in the game, you call it a magic box. The magic box can contain anything, so the first person reaches inside and pulls something out. The thing is invisible to everyone else, so the child has to describe it using all of their senses until someone guesses what they’re holding. Then it goes back in the magic box, and the box moves on to the next person.

Building up creativity takes time, so don’t let your child get discouraged if they’re not bursting with ideas straight away. Games like these can also be more fun in a group, so why not invite some friends to play, or try out a Love to Write class at i-Learner.