Help kids develop observational and writing skills and grow their imaginations when they use works of art as inspiration for writing stories.
What you’ll need:
- Works of art or images of works of art from books, the collections on Google Art & Culture, or from your own trips to the art museum. Choose art that features a lot of detail, includes people or animals, and has lots of color.
- paper and pencil
Every work of art tells a story! Kids can find a story (or stories) when they slow down, look carefully, and reflect on and talk with you about what they see. Explore the connections between art and words.
Look and think
Give kids an art image and plenty of quiet time to look at it and think about what they see. Remind them that everyone brings their own ideas and experiences to art, so there are lots of different ways—and no wrong ways—to think about it.
Look and talk
Prompt kids with questions that help them look at the art closely and talk about what they see and what they think about what they see. Ask questions that help focus attention on the people or animals in the art (characters), where those characters are (setting), and what happened, is happening, or is about to happen in the picture (plot). Get them talking about what they wonder about in the picture and what details remind them of their own experiences.
Look and write
Writing is all about paying attention to the world around you and describing what you see. Have kids imagine and describe the world they see in the art. Have them start with a character. What is this character like? What does this character like to do? How does this character feel? When they know their character, kids can start telling the character’s story. It’s up to writers to decide what happens to the character and how much of the story takes place in the scene in the art. Offer a few prompts to help:
- Imagine you are in the painting. What happens when you meet the character(s) in it?
- Imagine the characters in the painting are talking to each other. What are they saying?
- Imagine the character in the painting is talking on the phone to someone about what’s happening in the painting. What would the character say?