Using Creative Writing As Recreational Therapy With Children

Recreational therapy is useful for easing depression, anxiety and fear in children. Using creative writing as recreational therapy is one outlet that allows children to extend their imagination and go to places in their minds that they never would have thought possible. No one writes a story without putting a little bit of their own thoughts and feelings into it, and this is what makes creative writing as a recreational activity so cathartic, especially for children. By inventing characters and creating lives for them, children can express their own emotions, thoughts and feelings through the characters they create.

Helping a child get started with creative writing

The first thing you need to find out is which instrument the child prefers to use to record their thoughts. Some children will prefer to have a book and pencil while others will prefer to type on a computer. The means they use to express their thoughts and ideas is not as important as the expression itself.

Gear writing activities towards the child's interest

Find out what interests the child; it is a lot easier for a child to write a story with a cat as the central character if they have a fondness for the animal. The key to getting the most out of using creative writing as recreational therapy with children is to identify something the child is passionate about and then have them create characters for their stories based on it.

Encourage illustration

Creative writing naturally lends itself to illustration. In fact, art can also be used as recreational therapy; combining it with creative writing makes both activities even more powerful. After a child has written a story, let them use drawing pencils or paint and brushes to further express the thoughts and ideas they have developed in the story. This helps them to put meat on the skeleton, so to speak, and allows them to feel even more creative.

Important Points To Remember

  1. Praise is an important part of recreational therapy. Accept and appreciate every piece of writing, even if it has grammatical errors. Creative writing as recreational therapy is not about perfect English, it is about expression.
  2. Use visualization activities. Let the child close their eyes and go deep into their imagination. Let them visualize what their characters look like and what they will do and say. This is effective because it allows the child to block out external cues and focus on what is going on in their mind.
  3. Use pictures to help stir the child's imagination. If the child wants to write about cats, then get pictures of cats doing interesting things by themselves, with other cats and also with humans. This will stir the child's imagination and help with illustration of their writing piece as well.

Being creative builds the self-esteem of children and makes them feel good about themselves. This goes a far way in easing feelings of depression, anxiety and fear. Talk to a center like RecCare Inc to learn more about other types of recreational therapy.