Want to help kids develop literacy AND creative thinking skills, all at once? Me too! Next time you have a few spare minutes for a quick and creative literacy break, challenge your kids to try one of these activities!
Look closely at two different illustrations from two different books. Analyze how the illustrations help make the text clear or interesting. Analyze how the two illustrations are the same and different.
Find a word you don’t know. Learn the definition by asking someone or looking in the dictionary. Build something to remind you of the meaning of the word.
Think of two characters from two different books. How can you connect them? Do they share any similar traits? Does the author introduce them in a similar way? Do they have a similar role in the story? Can you think of another similarity?
Build something or create something interesting. Draw clear, step-by-step directions to explain exactly how you made your creation. See if someone else can follow your directions. Does your partner’s creation look exactly like yours?
EXPLORE Spelling Patterns
Look closely at 5 rhyming words. What do you notice about those words? Look closely at 5 words with 2 syllables. What do you notice about those words? Find 5 words with double consonants together. (Like better or taller.) What do you notice about those words? Pick 5 interesting words. What do you notice about the spelling of those?
FIND a New Beginning
Read a short story or a picture book. Think of a new and better way to begin the story. Act it out, draw a picture, or build something to explain your idea. Why is your beginning better?
GROW a Fact Tree
Read a section of a nonfiction text. (Pick something interesting to read about!) Using your art supplies, create a picture of a tree. Write or draw lots of facts that you learned while reading. Make it colorful and interesting.
HYPOTHESIZE About an Author
Read a book, or another type of text. What can you tell about the author? What does the author know about? Can you recognize any of the author’s opinions or beliefs. How do you know? How might this text be different if somebody else wrote it?
INVESTIGATE a New Topic
Name a topic that you would like to learn more about. Brainstorm 10 ways you could learn about it. Challenge yourself to learn 10 unusual details about that topic. Now, can you inform someone else about that topic in an unusual way?
JOURNAL About Juggling, Jelly Beans, and Jumping
Write a Journal entry or a story that combines all 3 of these things: juggling, jelly beans, and jumping! (Or any 3 words you like!) How can you connect these 3 unrelated things in a way that makes sense?
KNOW What to Write
Think about something to write. Before you write, draw pictures of the scenes or details you plan to include in your writing.Then act out your writing like you’re performing a play. (Or, you could act it out with puppets or other toys.) Once you know what to write, go ahead and write it!
LEAD A Discussion
Think of a topic that should be discussed. Why should it be discussed? How could you start the discussion? With whom would you discuss this topic? What would you say? Would the discussion solve a problem or convince someone to do something? What is important to keep in mind when planning a discussion? Ok, go lead a discussion!
MAKE a New World
Think of a brand new setting for a story. Make up a place that is totally different from any setting in any other story that you’ve read before. Draw it, or build it, or use toys or objects to act it out.
NOODLE About a Recipe
Look at a recipe for your favorite meal or snack. What do you notice about how it’s written? Try creating your own recipe. It can be real or pretend. It might help to draw the steps in order, or act it out. Write your recipe!
OBSERVE How Good Authors Write Interesting Endings
Gather a few stories that you’ve read, or pick some new ones to read. Pay special attention to the endings of each story. What do the authors do to make the endings interesting? Pick one story and make up an even better ending!
PLAY: Write and Perform a Playful Play
Plan a very short play. Doodle the events in order and write what the actors should say and do. Gather some people to perform your play, or use puppets or other toys to act it out.
QUESTION a Part of a Story
Think of a story you’ve read before, or read a new one. Pick one part that you wonder about. How could you change a part of this story? How would it affect the rest of the story? Draw or write about how it would change.
READ Something Blue
Find something to read that is blue. Is it about something blue? Is it blue because the mood of the story or the illustrations are sad? Draw a picture to represent the story. Now, think of how you could make that same story yellow!
SOLVE a Problem by Writing
Think of a big or little problem. Think of a way you could solve that problem by writing something. Plan what to write. (You could plan by doodling, building something or acting it out.) Ok, try your idea and see if it solves the problem!
TELL the Same Story From Three Points of View
Pick a story. Tell it from the perspective of 3 different characters or things in the story. (You could plan how to tell the story by drawing or acting it out.)
UNDERSTAND an Unusual Illustration
Look closely at the illustrations in a picture book. Find the most unusual illustration. What is special or unusual about it? Why do you think the illustrator included it in the story?
VISUALIZE a Story
Think of a story you know. Picture the story in your mind. Pretend you are watching a movie of the story. Visualize the story again, but substitute a pig for the main character. How does it change?
WRITE an Opposite Poem
Think of a feeling. Write, say, or draw a poem about that feeling. Now, think of the opposite feeling. Write, say, or draw a poem about the opposite feeling.
EXAMINE Two Structures
Build or draw two different structures. Compare the two structures. (How are they alike?) Contrast the two structures. (How are they different?) Are they more alike or more different? Why?
YES! Make a List of Questions with“Yes” for an Answer
Try to think of as many as you can in one minute. What do the “yes” questions have in common? Would everyone else agree that the answer to all of the questions is yes?
Think about ZANY Characters
Who is the zaniest book character you can think of? What makes that person zany? How does the character’s zany personality improve the story? Do you know another person or character with a similar zany personality trait?Invent your own zany character. Draw or act like your character.
Want a printable version of these challenges, and more information about the importance of teaching creativity? Click here to get a printable poster!
Also, if you’re a fan of alphabet-style challenges like this one, your family might love Alphabet Summer. Check it out here!