Have you ever had a creative writing assignment and your mind is blank, or you are in the middle of writing a story and you run against a creative wall? Here are some fun games that will help jumpstart your creative thinking, and if you can stop laughing long enough to write the results, you may have a start to a new story.
This video showcases four different creativity games. Each is simple, takes little to no prep, and can be played almost anywhere.
More explanation on each game
This is like playing “telephone” with pictures.
Supplies for each person
- stack of ten small papers, stapled at one corner
Game: To start the game, each person draws a picture—any simple picture—on the first page, then passes their stack of papers to the person on their right. Next, each person looks at the picture and on the second page writes a word or brief description of the picture. Then passes it on. On the third page draw a picture of the word or phrase. Alternate between word and picture each page.
Like the game Telephone you end up with the idea changing as it gets passed around the circle.
Even children who don’t read or write yet can play. As long as someone else will read and write for them, the child can draw the pictures. We’ve even played this with our three-year-old.
Who, what, where
This simple game creates all sorts of silly scenarios. We play this whenever we are waiting—at the zoo, doctor’s office, in line, etc. Only needed supply is an imagination.
One person thinks of a question and states the category of the question, but not the question itself. For example: I think of “Where does the pirate hide his treasure?” but all I say is, “I have a where.” Everyone one else thinks of a location. When everyone has a location, I state the question, and they gives their pre-thought answer. This also works with “who” (a person), “what” (an item), and a “when” (time). We’ve sometimes included “how” (by doing an action) and “why” (the answer is in the form of because).
This gets us to think outside the box.
We love to do Madlibs during dishes. One person will be the writer while everyone else gives words to fill in the story. We also do it with extended family, sending out the list of needed word types and then sending out the result.
You can buy a Madlib book or create your own stories. One daughter likes to take short picture books and type up the story with blanks for many of the nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs.
Example of an extended family madlib:
In the light of the bottle a fast egg lay on a leaf. One morning the jumpy sun came up and Pow! Out of the egg came a freezing very scorching caterpillar. He started to transform for food.
On Monday he ate through 3.14 slates, but he was still hungry.
On Tuesday he ate 2.718 knee bones. He was still hungry.
On Wednesday he ate 948 Butterflies. He was still hungry.
On Thursday he ate through 9 Fire hydrants. He was still hungry.
On Friday he ate through 5 Airplanes. He was still hungry.
On Saturday he ate a Asparagus, a Magic 8 ball, a Octopus, a Rabbit foot, a Boggle, a Cup of Water, and Bubble gum. That night he had a stomachache!
The next day the caterpillar ate through one nice Contrived leaf, and felt much Embarrassing after that.
Note: This game is also a great way to learn the parts of speech. Here’s a free bookmark to help while learning them.
Crazy Creatures is a drawing game where three people draw one creature, without knowing what the rest of the picture looks like.
Start by folding a paper in thirds, then marking over the folds the neck and hip marks (just two tiny dashes at each line). This allows the creature to line up. Draw the head of the creature, then turn over to the blank middle and hand to the next person. They draw the middle, then turn to the blank bottom and hand to the third person.
This game is great for all ages and drawing abilities. Even those who can only draw stick figures can add to the whimsy of the whole character.
an extra Game: Continuing story
This game takes a large group to work. The idea was provided by a fellow writer, Danny Smith.
Each person writes a sentence on a piece of paper then passes it to the next person. Before writing the next sentence, only the previous sentence can be read. When it gets back to the person who wrote the first sentence, the stories are read out loud to the group. Some very amusing stories get created this way.– Danny Smith