Parent and child writing activity: Inspiration Board

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Yes, Pinterest is all the rage, but sometimes you just want to get your hands dirty (and have something fun to hang up in your child’s room). This is where (real life) inspiration boards come into play. They can also be a great source of, you guessed it, inspiration for your budding writer. You never want writing to seem like a chore, but if one of the first steps is choosing all the awesome features that will be put into the story, how could it be? Get crafting!

  • First, pick your board. This can be as simple as a large sheet of poster board and a glue stick or, if you’re feeling fancy, you can buy and frame a piece of metal grating and attach things with magnets! Before you start posting on it, have fun decorating it based on the genre of your child’s story! Is it going to be a fantasy about unicorns? Cover it in glitter and fun stickers. A futuristic dystopia? Make sleek lines with silver masking tape and decorate with neon highlighters.
  • Before you and your child start searching for pictures and text for your board, make sure your child has written down a plan for the story’s characters, setting, and plot of the story. That way, when you are searching for inspiration, this leads to some awesome “A-ha! That’s exactly what I was thinking it should look like” moments.
  • Setting: Do a lot of scenes take place outdoors or indoors? Where in the world does the story take place? Are the main characters wealthy, poor or somewhere in between? Do they move around a lot throughout the story? Does the story take place in a city or in the country? Could the setting exist in the present day or does the story take place far in the future or far in the past?
  • Aside from searching for specific elements of the setting (say, your child wants a tire swing to feature prominently in the story), browsing travel websites like National Geographic or Trek Earth can be helpful. You can also look through your and your child’s own photos from family vacations and other exciting outings. Even better, get out and explore! You never know when inspiration will strike in a vibrant city like Hong Kong!
  • Characters: Your child does not need to find a picture of exactly what he/she imagines the characters look like. In fact, there doesn’t need to be a concrete vision of what the character looks like at all! More important is considering what physical aspects convey about the character because our outward appearance is a major form of expression. How do the characters wear their hair? How do they like to dress? Do they value form, function, or some combination? Do they wear anything that has a lot of sentimental value to them? What is their stance like and how do they walk? Are they conventionally good looking, quirky looking, or something else?
  • Search images of the clothing brands your child’s character would wear. Is the protagonist more Cavalli or Cotton On? Do any of your child’s friends or relatives remind him/her of any of the characters? Maybe Aunt Julie sighs in a way that reminds your child of a character…put a picture of her on the board. And again, go exploring! Hong Kong is full of great street style and varied characters, so you guys are bound to find something for the board!
  • Remember, the inspiration board is a work in progress, so don’t rush to finish it all in one day! There are lots of places to find inspiration, so when your child stumbles upon something great, add it to the board!
  • Places to search for images

o   Online
o   Newspapers
o   Magazines (especially travel and fashion ones)
o   Personal photos

  • But your board does not have to be all images! In your child’s reading, if he/she comes across a quote or a piece of writing and really likes the style of the author’s writing, type of the quote in a cool font for the board! Or if you have great handwriting, write it directly on the board.

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Writers’ Crossing

Brought to you by ECP, Writers' Crossing offers resources, inspiration and a community for young writers. Browse this blog for creative writing prompts, exercises, and examples of student writing to spark your imagination, develop your writing skills, and fuel your writing dreams.

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