Need a new lockdown activity for the kids? English home-schooling? Read on for a fun exercise that’s outta this world…
There are enough challenges to deal with in lockdown, but imagine if you had a new baby to look after as well! Now, imagine that baby had super powers…
What measures would you have to take, to keep a flying newborn housebound?! What about invisibility?! Whichever super power you imagine, it would certainly be an interesting twist to the lockdown situation.
So here is a fun activity for adults and children alike. It can be done individually, in pairs, groups – ideal for virtual meet-ups. I suggest you read through each of the 10 steps in advance, before assembling the kids.
What you will need:
- A4 sheets of paper – lined or plain is fine
- Coloured pens – preferably fat; min 3 colours if possible
- Writing pens – one each per person
- Rough paper / notebook
- Two dice (or use this virtual alternative)
- If there’s more than one person joining in, assign a leader / note-taker
- Choose your super power and lockdown setting. [Pic 1] Refer to these lists and if you can’t decide, or to avoid group disagreements, roll your dice, or use the online dice.
I chose realistic lockdown settings, but you could write your own list to include things like a space-rocket, the International Space Station, Disney World, Hogwarts, desert island, under the sea, or on the moon!
- Mind-maps [Pic 2] – Note down everything you can think of related to your power, and do this as quickly as you can to avoid over-thinking. You can include things like: attributes, positives, negatives, challenges, advantages, specific vocabulary, big and small details, sensory qualities, images, colours and word association.
- Next, let’s think about our narrator and the beginning, middle and end. Narrators could be a parent or sibling of the baby super hero – or if writing a fantastical poem, maybe it could be a baby-sitting alien!
One beginning that could work across the board is the discovery of the super-power. The middle scenes could be around exploring the super-power. Then for the ending, Baby will save the day!
- Start writing! This is where the A4 paper comes in. Tear the paper into strips. If you’re working individually, it’s still useful to write on strips of paper so you can visually rearrange the structure later on.
- On each strip of paper, write images or sensory detail [Pic 3] relating to your beginning, middle or end:
- Take a different colour pen and develop ideas for adjectives, nouns and verbs, along with ideas for poetic devices [Pic 4].
- Play around with the order of your ideas [Pic 5]. You might want to merge them, or cut some all together. In groups, you can swap ideas or just rearrange your own.
- To transform into lines and stanzas [Pic 6], decide on the type of narration – first, second or third person (I / you / she). Try to say the most with the least, so keep questioning your word choice until you have found the most specific and interesting words.
- Think about rhyme and rhythm, line-ends and stanza breaks. Usually, for line-ends we choose strong words we want the reader to remember, and we break stanzas according to rhythm or theme, however, the choice is yours!
Pic 6 shows part of my first draft – it looks very different to the finished piece which you can read here! Keep drafting until you’re happy with what you’ve got.