For Students

July 22, 2013

Creativity and Pretend Play to Write Stories and Create Plots

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Written by: Shari
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Summer Writing Program; are natural born story tellers.

While they still have this amazing gift, take time to encourage it.

I was appalled one day to realize that I had lost the gift of pretend play when my daughters asked me to play Barbies with them.

They created these intricate story lines and knew just how to improv and keep the story going. How did they do that? I didn’t know what to make my Barbie say! I treated her like a puppet. “Hi. My name is Barbie. What’s yours?” Awkward pause. The girls looked at me sympathetically and said it was okay, and I probably needed to do some things in the kitchen like make dinner or something, taking Barbie tenderly from my big old boring grown-up hands.

You will grow out of the ability to play pretend if you don’t practice!

So, give your child a couple characters and a scenario, and tell them to make up a story. You will be amazed at their creativity! Then as they dictate their stories, write them down for them. Later they can polish them up and enter them in the Injoy, Inc. Fable Contest!

If your child is a reluctant writer, don’t worry. They might not be able to write right at the moment, but they can certainly write a story in their head and tell it at bedtime, or around a camp-fire, or around the dinner table.

Just listen and you will hear some interesting stories!

Write them down for them. Let them dictate it to you.

Don’t thwart the writing process by making them write down their own stories if handwriting and spelling is just like torture.

They can design the cover and print the title, or you can leave a few blank spaces for them to fill in the words they know, but treat handwriting and creative writing and spelling as three different subjects, to be taught at different times!

Now for the fun, create some interesting characters that are animals or fictional characters, and then ask your child to put them in some fun situations like:

  • riding a horse
  • learning to ride a bike
  • flying a kite
  • buying candy at the store
  • falling in a mud puddle
  • going for a hot air balloon ride
  • first tooth falling out
  • spending the night away from home for the first time

All you have to do is tell your child a story starter, and they might take it from there! If not, then add an interesting dilemma to the stories like:

  • it starts to rain
  • all of a sudden they sprout wings and can fly
  • they think they have only $1, but when they pull it out of their pocket it’s $100!
  • the Queen of Hearts or the Giant from Jack and the Bean Stalk suddenly appears

Have fun creating fun stories, write them down, and just pretend and make up new stories. Brainstorm your favorite characters and plots, and maybe you’ll write a prize winning fable later for our Fable Writing Contest!

For printable worksheets for all ages, click here for Lesson 4 from the Summer Writing Program. Have you signed up to get all the lessons emailed directly to you? It’s easy, just enter your email here:

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About the Author

Shari Popejoy, wife of twenty-eight years, mother of three, founder of a local co-op for hundreds of homeschool children, author of seven books, and creator of Won Without Words (a blog of encouragement for wives) lives in the quiet country of the Ozarks where she enjoys writing surrounded by nature (and her children, of course). She is currently completing Volume V of the Livingstone Library, an adventure series for 'smart' kids, which features characters with character, and underlying allegorical spiritual truths. She enjoys high places and the road less traveled, and moments when all is well, and peace permeates like a fragrance. . .oh, and chocolate, fresh fruit and veggies, and early morning sunrises. Read her blog at


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