a young child – quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
Into the bowl go the fruits of the garden as little Carissa tiptoes through the plants. The splash of red berries is so vibrant upon the green ceramic and her hands spread over the clay ripples as perfect starfish upon summer rocks.
Around his shoulders was his baby quilt, worn as a cape might be, as if all those cosy memories of him and mama gave him superpowers. He had eyes that shined like pebbles washed by the ocean waves and a smile that ignited inner laughter in all who saw.
Amelia stands so still, eyes following the bird in flight. She watches as children do, with that look of love and awe. Her eyes stay with the bird, the beating wings capturing her mind in the most calming of ways, the same way soft waves on the beach do. It’s as if she’s in love with nature, with life itself, and I pray this life nurtures that sense in her, keeps her as whole as she was born.
A seagull hops over the quay as if too lazy to spread its white-grey wings. Amy admires its yellow beak, though the way it droops downward to a point puts her in mind of a witch. She imagines the pointed end to be like the nose and the beady eyes to be conjuring dark spells. Amy giggles at her own imagination and wanders after the bird, flapping her arms and wiggling as she walks.
Dakota was a sweet and gentle child when I knew her, though it may sound like a cliche, it’s true. Her hair was lighter back then, chestnut I suppose and she would braid it for hours in front of the mirror; but Dakota was already disturbed by the age of six. Though the toilet was only a few metres from her bedroom she would crawl under an old pool table and urinate on the carpet. No-one knows why she did it. It was as if some animal instinct drove her to do it, to hide somewhere dark, somewhere that felt safe. She played with her dolls and was kind to her siblings. She was a fighter, never staying down if she fell or got knocked. She would go out of her way to be nice to other kids at school, but mostly stuck to just two friends who didn’t mind how old her clothes were. Did I say she has freckles? She does. She was a skinny kid but mostly healthy. She loved animals, as most little girls do. She hated jelly and sausages. She was a teacher pleaser, always doing her best in classes and clever too, learning quickly. But her childhood was rough from the start, some kids have it worse, but her home was turmoil and violence; not constantly, but enough to make her less stable than she should have been. I wish I could have saved her from the years ahead of her, but I was only a teen myself back then.
Authored by Daisy , here.
For Carrie happiness is simple. It’s hugs with her mama and playing “let’s pretend,” it’s an uplifting story at bedtime and the knowledge that me and her mom have life all taken care of. Food is always available, she has a comfortable bed. She has friends to play with. We walk in the woods and splash in the stream. She doesn’t care what the time is unless she’s hungry. Sure, she throws a fit when her brain can’t understand her world, I’m sure I still do that too. Sometimes she screws her face up and stomps her feet, goes red in the face and waves her hands; but then my tantrums don’t look pretty either – not that she ever sees them. I want to learn from her how to be happy again, I want to see the world through her eyes. If you showed her a gold coin or a kitten and asked her to pick one, she’d take the silly cat every time. There’s a simple wisdom there and I love it.
Lily held out cherry-red hands wide for a hug, her mittened hands looking so sweet and comical. The extra-thick wool and elaborate stitching made them look so much larger than usual, but that was Uncle Bill, always showing his love through knitwear.
Creative writing techniques for kids: a step-by-step guide to writing a story
Encouraging children to write a story of their very own can give them an enormous confidence boost, as well as help them consolidate their literacy learning by putting their phonics, grammar and reading skills into practice. Primary teacher Phoebe Doyle offers parents tips on how to get their children’s creative thoughts flowing.
The way literacy is taught in primary schools has changed radically in the last couple of decades; when I was at school in the 80s we copied from blackboards, had whole hours of handwriting practice and sweated over spellings without any formal teaching of phonics whatsoever. While I think the more structured approach to literacy teaching we see in classrooms today makes learning more fun and accessible, my one worry is that there’s little time left for writing creatively.
When I was at school I adored writing stories – even stories with chapters and illustrations. I know my author brother did too – we found some of his old stories a few years back, and I felt so pleased he’d had the time to write these endless pages of action, adventure, characterisation and twisting plotlines.
As a primary teacher I ensured I would have a week each term when, during literacy sessions, we would focus solely on creating stories. I wasn’t deviating from the curriculum – far from it. During this week children would be consolidating their learning of phonics and be ‘writing for purpose’, considering carefully the aspects of story and who their audience might be.
It may very well be that your children write stories at home regardless of whether they’re required to for school, because most children have a seemingly natural urge to want to do so from time to time. This is just a little guidance on how you can support them and encourage a more structured approach to their story writing.
Firstly, ask your child where the story is going to take place. It could be somewhere fictional or real, it could be a planet, a country, a town or a house – anywhere!
Then, ask when the story is taking place – now? In the future? In the past?
Finally ask what they think is going to happen. Remember that this doesn’t have to be accurate and they don’t have to stick to what they say; many of the best writers say that their plots develop organically as they write. If they do have a firm idea of where they want to go with the plot, though, they can create an outline by completing a story planner, which could look something like this:
Download a FREE Creative Writing toolkit!
- KS1 & KS2 workbooks
- Bursting with fill-in prompt sheets and inspiring ideas
- Story structure tips, style guides and editing suggestions
Ask your child who is going to be in the story. How do they want their readers to feel about each character? Again, they may want to jot some ideas down. You could make a table for them to help them organise their thoughts, with these headings:
- Name of character
- Relationship to other characters
- What he/she looks like
Ask your child to think of some fabulous words to use in their story writing. They might be long words or simple ones, or they might be great descriptive words or words that help create pace and tension. Encourage them to jot these down and refer to the list as they write their story.
All writers know that you’ve got to capture the attention of your readers right from the start; you want to make them desperate to read on. Ask your child to think of some good story openers that’ll entice people to find out more. Here are a few examples:
First sentences that are mysterious…
Molly had no sense of the day that lay ahead.
Story starters that use language tricks like alliteration…
It was damp, dark and dreadfully dusty when Molly entered the house.
Story openers that create tension…
Molly could hear her heart beating faster than ever before. Could this really be happening?
Stories that go straight into dialogue…
“But I don’t want to go to school, Mummy,” groaned Molly.
Encourage your child to look at some of the books they like to read and see how they begin in order to offer inspiration.
Once they’ve got all of these ideas in place, they can start writing. They could do a draft in the first instance and then a neat, polished version later. They may wish to write in short chapters, use illustrations, or make their own book to write in – let them use their imagination and creativity when it comes to presentation, and make sure you show how much you value the end product by keeping it to read again with the other books in your house.
If your child finds writing a story a little daunting, start with something small from our list of 9 fun writing projects to do with your children.
We also recommend the free art and creative writing challenges on the Night Zookeeper website; your child will be contributing to a co-created animated television show.
You could also try a great story-making app and get your child writing fiction on their tablet!
Plus, find out how to support storytelling skills for children in EYFS, KS1, KS2 and KS3 to get them thinking about story elements, plot and character development.
an excited child – quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
On tiptoes I reached up to the window ledge, eyes wide, hoping to see the first shoots of spring. Just yesterday I sat with mama – her, me, mud, newspaper and beans. We made little pots using our hands, the black and white strips becoming something new, something capable of holding new life. Oddly, once the soil was inside they became more stable, like proper pots. We stood them in a tray, added a bean to each and water too. She said to be patient, there is nothing yet, but I know every morning will be the same, standing here on tip toes until they grow tall enough to be planted in our garden.
Asking Pan to sit today is like trying to tell a fire not to burn. His eyes are alight, his every muscle needs to move, to dance, to jump. He chatters and observes, giggles and jokes. Everything tickles him as funny and if there is one idea coming from his mouth there are seven more queuing up in his mind.
The peace is shattered by a child, running, screaming with delight. He whoops into the frigid air, his red coat garish against the sombre London park. Heads turn, a dog barks, a duck skitters out further into the pond. In this city of noise the tranquil places are jealously guarded – the children expected to mirror the adults.
They say you can’t bottle love but I say they’re wrong. Tyrone is the proof. Have you seen him run with that bouncy stride of his? Have you seen how wide is smile is or how wide he reaches for every hug? That is kid is love in a bottle; just seeing him makes the rest of us glad to be alive.
Rosie moves like an octopus on a bad acid trip, limbs moving according to chaos theory rather than anything a behavioural scientist could explain. Her words are running into one another and if I didn’t know that there was going to be a pony coming to her class at school today, I wouldn’t have a clue what she’s saying. Nevertheless, five minutes later she’s been wrestled into her grey uniform and red cardigan. She puts on her own shiny black shoes before she recalls that it’s breakfast that comes next.
Pete looks like he’s being jangled by invisible strings from above, only his puppeteer is drunk. The only thing I can make out beneath his moving hair is a smile that could light up any day, no matter how dark. Isn’t that the gift that children bring? To show us a spark of pureness in the hope that ours is still able to shine back at them.
There is something so intoxicating about an excited child. They bounce, they pounce, they squeal and they run. As their grins get wider everyone about them starts to smile – even the curmudgeons who love to complain. That’s how Cindy is today, as if she’s bursting with liquid sunshine from within.
The halloween sun isn’t fully set and already the candy wrappers blow over the leaf-strewn sidewalk. Tonight I am a ghost, concealed and shrouded like the dead I pretend to be. Around each wrist hangs a chain to clank as we walk. With the sun so low in the sky the scene reminds me of years ago, the picture before me is almost sepia toned. Only the new-model cars give it away that this isn’t nineteen seventy something. Next to me walks the most important vampire in the world, seven years old and she wears the false fangs like a pro. She’s a strange one though, for her it isn’t even about the chocolates and lollipops. Tonight the world is her stage and she feeds on the drama through her skin. She doesn’t really walk either, she stalks, head high, chin out, arms moving like she’s conducting the clouds above.
To the touch the snake is silky. Tristan runs his hands up and down like he does with his cat at home expecting roughness when he rubs toward the head. Instead it is more similar to stroking glass, but softer. “Oooh!” he says and the snake turns toward him, forked tongue shooting in and out. Tristan stops, gazing in the same way he’d take in the night sky. “Round,” he squeaks, “round eyes!” After a few seconds more the serpent coils away from him to examine another child.
In moments Sophie was forced into an ambling jog to keep up. With each footfall she felt her back-side wobble, not that she was fat, but simply under-toned. As her speed increased so did her breathing and this sharper intake of sub-zero air was painful to her throat and lungs. She began to walk, her black boots making small splashes on the rain-kissed tarmac path and she called out for Lacy to slow. But Lacy was deaf to all but the call of the jungle animals. They inhabited her dreams and were the stars of the stories she wrote at school. Her mind was a jumble of what the animals would think of her, would they speak? Would they look like the pictures in the story books? Could she feed them the dog treats in her pocket? Instead of slowing her skips got faster and her lead over her slow cousin increased.