Dreams are a rich source of creative writing for kids. Dreams are often filled with unique ideas, adventures and experiences that rarely or never occur in the real world. Here are some ways parents can help children put their dreams onto paper!
Ask good questions. Talk to your child about their dreams and let them know that you’re there to listen and support their imagination. When your child describes the story in their dreams, ask them about their feelings, about the colours of the sky and landscape, and about exactly how events played out to jog their memory and encourage detailed description.
Practise the ‘show, don’t tell’ rule. ‘Show, don’t tell’ is a great creative writing rule to follow, and encourages children to use active verbs to show what’s happening in their story rather than simply reporting the facts. You can get your child to start off by writing a play-by-play recount of their dream. Then get them to rewrite their story in a way that shows the same information. For example, ‘The dinosaur was scared’ could become, ‘the dinosaur trembled and ran away to hide’.
Create a story board. A story board is a series of pictures that tell a story. It resembles a comic strip and can be a fun way for your child to plan and visualise how they will tell their story. Often our recollection of dreams becomes lost after waking up. Story boards are a great way to help your child evoke imagery from their dreams or create new ones.
Help your child keep a dream journal. A dream journal is a great way to help your child record dreams and write them down before they forget. They can decorate and personalise they own dream journal and fill it with words and pictures. Remember to respect your child’s decision if they ever begin to want to keep their journal private.
Provide other tools for creative expression. Sometimes writing isn’t the easiest option for your child to express their dream experiences. By providing other tools for creative expression, you can encourage your child to bring their dreams to life in other ways such as art, dance, theatre or puppets. By experimenting with different tools for expression, they may find new ideas, motivation and inspiration to write.
Do not interpret. Feel free to help your child interpret their own dreams or tell them what you would think about if you were having the same ones, but remember to encourage their creativity and interpretation skills by letting them make the final decision on what their dreams mean.
For more creative writing tips read our blog post on story writing here.