Using games to establish a creative mood

From OER in Education

Starting lessons with games can establish a creative mood by helping children to generate ideas, create and control sentences as well as playful writing and reading. These ideas could be used in parts 1 and 2 of the lesson sequence but could also be adapted or extended for group activity or independent work.

Suggested Lesson Sequence. Interactive pedagogy in literacy teaching/Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan

Objective: Date:

1. Lesson starter/warm up (whole class)


2. Lesson introduction (whole class)


3. Main activity (group & independent work)


4. Plenary (whole class)


Game ideas

Creative Connections

Give children a word and ask them to write down as many words as they can think of that are associated with it. Time them - a minute only, and then see who has written the largest number of words. Ask children to share their ideas, then repeat the activity and see how many more ideas it generates. Provide a focus such as a picture, photo or object. Then, as a class, brainstorm as many words and ideas as possible.

Ink Waster

To warm up the brain and get into a creative mood - give the children a topic and ask them to write as much as they can in say, one minute. Time them and ask them to count the number of words then try again with another topic. They should write as rapidly as possible. This limbers up and frees up the mind. The idea is to start writing and continue as fast as they can. If they stop, they can add unconnected thoughts or try using the final letter of the last word they wrote to start their next word.

A variation: Take some suggestions of what the children have written and orally build a scene, then ask them to try again.

Ink waster can also be played in pairs with each person taking it in turn to write a sentence. It can be extended to a group activity. If a writer gets stuck, they can use the final word of the previous sentence. Add a competitive element – the winning group is the one with most words.

Image Writing

Use the ink waster technique and see how much can be written in a few minutes. Show a picture (or play a film clip with the sound turned down). The children use this as a basis for writing as rapidly as possible - the action - the dialogue - a description - or just anything that the images trigger. It has to be fast with no pauses. If they get stuck - just look up at what is happening and try again. There is no right or wrong. The only wrong thing is if you stop writing. Who can write the most words down?

Random words

Choose a book. Ask for a number - this gives you a page to turn to. Now ask for a number - this gives you the line. Then ask for a small number - this will select a word. The children then have 15 seconds to make a sentence in pairs. Then can write. Then use the same sort of process to randomly select two or three words - can they make a sentence using the words... Be ruthless on capital letter, sense and full stops.

Questions and answers

Each child writes down five questions of any kind. They then swap books and each answers the questions. They should be inventive in their questing and answering e.g.

What is a dog?
A woof, a lick and a scamper
What is the sun?
The face of the universe.
What’s inside a hill?
Things to come up in the future

Thirteen things to do with a rainbow

Ask children to come up with ideas! This could be changed to e.g. 5 things to do with the sun/moon/lightning/an ocean. Another way of starting this activity is to take in an object (it could be an everyday item like a plate or comb) and ask children to invent different ways of using it.

Magic pen

This is the special pen that can think and talk as well as write. Teacher sets up a writing task and in groups of three or four with one magic pen per group, the children use the magic pen to “write aloud” their sentences. The magic pen is given to one child who tells the rest of the group what sentence the magic pen is telling her to write; and the rest of the group listens to the sentence. Then the magic pen is passed around the group so that each child can speak the sentence the pen is saying. In this activity, although the children do not actually write, the emphasis is on making a sentence that will sound good when written down.

New Experiences

Collect objects that you could take into the classroom - photos, a mirror, a key, a picture of an unusual-looking character, an old watch, a gnarled piece of bark… Use these for rapid drawing and writing. To write, you could just brainstorm words and ideas as a whole class or in pairs. What does it look like, remind you of, what do associate with this? What might it be used for? Invent 5 new things you could use it for? What might a Martian think it was?

Pandora’s Box

Bring in a decorated box. Inside it place cards with writing subjects in bold lettering. E.g. mirror, door, window, key, lock, glass, stone, rose, fire, bone, water, ring, candle, clock, coin… Hold up some of the cards and give children time to select a topic. Make a list of possible things to write:

The….looks like…
It reminds me of…
It makes me feel…
It feels like…
It sounds like…
It tastes of…
It seems to…
It can…
It will…

If pupils get stuck on a phrase, they can miss it out or invent their own.

What’s in their pocket?

Show pupils a set of 4/5 pictures/photos. Pupils choose one character and make a list of the objects the person has in their pocket. This should be a list of nouns initially. Ask the children then to add in descriptive adjectives. This could lead into work on characterisation or a list poem.


Bring a selection of buttons and ask the children to choose one. They should describe: the item of clothing from which the button came, the person who was wearing the garment, how they were walking, where they were going, what they were thinking etc. This could lead to work on characterisation, story writing etc.