"And they all lived happily ever after,” you read out loud to your child in a cheery and conclusive voice.
“But what happens after the prince and the princess get married?” your plot-savvy child asks.
Before you jump in with a plot twist of your own, take a pause. This writing activity allows your child to answer that question for herself. All of a sudden she can play Brothers Grimm, taking off where the fairy tale ends. For children who struggle with starting to write, or those who can't form the letters fast enough, this activity can do wonders for their language arts skills.
What You Do:
Your child selects a well-known fairy tale, like Cinderella or Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and uses her imagination to extend the story with new details and characters that might take place after the classic ending to the story. They can write their new story ending in a journal and practice their vocabulary and writing skills, while they're flexing their imagination.
This might extend over the course of several days or weeks, with your child brainstorming and adding more to the story on an ongoing basis. (It’s also great for long cars, plane, and train trips as well.) Since revisions are a part of the writing process, the eraser is a handy tool for this activity. So get cracking. And let your child finish the story, happy ending or not.
Reprinted and adapted with permission from "Unplugged Play" by Bobbi Conner (Workman Publishing, 2007)