A seven-year-old Chidera Ezeh and his elder brother who was 14 were given an assignment by their father to write a story on how they spent their vacation while in the village with their grandparents.
Both were excited to share their experiences during the holiday visit to the villa. Strange enough their dad gave them the same task to test their creativity and not necessarily their grammar.
Chidera, who was in Basic 3 did not consider it unfair to be pitched in the same writing competition with his elder brother in junior secondary school.
Young Chidera could craft a storyline that was more creatively drafted than his brother’s. Their father was amazed by the quality of creative imagination and ideas found in his younger son’s writing.
“Wao-oh! This is awesome, how did you develop these ideas in your story? Your work is more imaginative than your brother’s own though you have some work to do with your handwriting,” he said.
Creative writing like other artworks is about expressing one’s ideas and thoughts imaginatively. One basic element of creative writing is a well-groomed imaginative mind.
Creative thinking and generating new ideas are some of the most desirable personality traits in today’s world. It can be learned, and it is best to start at the very beginning of a child’s education.
However, sometimes it might be very challenging trying to inculcate creative writing ideas in a child.
According to Dorcas Osho, an early childhood educationist, creative writing is all about entertaining the readers by the choice of words and style of presentation of the letters.
To achieve this, the parent or teacher must help the child to learn how to grasp, because holding a pen correctly is a major tip to good handwriting.
And creative ideas in writing, she said; “Make sure the child has unstructured time to think, explore and pursue his/her interests and ideas. Allowing a child to play outdoors has a way of stimulating imagination and learning.”
Experts believe that writing is one of the most important skills a child can learn and indulge in as a developmental habit.
Gloria Akinsola, a teacher explained that one of the ways to broaden a child’s imagination and cognitive thinking is through creative writing.
“It can be fun nurturing and improving a child’s creative writing,” she said.
Akinsola reiterates the need to ask a child thoughtful questions to help improve his/her imaginative thinking. Thoughtful questions improve a child’s imagination, and hence should be allowed to think and play.
“Help your children to activate their imagination. Show them that you value their imagination. And encourage them to use their imagination in play and talk with them about their thinking and ideas,” she said.
Oluchi Chukwuma-Ojei pointed out that giving the child writing tasks with rewards is a major way to encourage creative writing.
“Be sincere with your rewards and compliments, and ensure you applaud what the child is doing well and gently point out his/her faults.
Encourage the child to love creative writing by demonstrating your keen interest in his/her works. You can ask your child a thought-provoking question about his stories that you’re reading to show how interested you are,” she noted.
To this effect, Melissa Burkley, a researcher recommends teaching children to ask, “What if?” to enhance their creativity.
“If you can get your children to ask questions about the world and how it works, they’re more likely to come up with their unique answers,” she noted.
While Margarita Tartakovsky, a psychologist recommends unstructured free time as a way to support creative thinking.
“Give your children a little time each day to independently explore their ideas and interests outside and inside your home,” Tartakovsky stressed.