One of the best things about being a mom is watching my daughters’ creativity blossom. I enjoy listening to their imaginative play, seeing what interests they choose to pursue, and encouraging their creativity with board games and colouring books. So I’m very excited to participate in #PlayTestShare with Raincoast Books by trying out these colouring and writing prompts together.
The books I chose to test are To The Ocean Deep, a 15-foot colouring book; and 642 Big Things to Write About: Young Writer’s Edition, a huge collection of writing prompts for kids.
When I requested each of these books, I had a specific daughter in mind. We’ve used them as a family, but I was right about who liked each best. Sunshine is an outgoing artist; Lily is an introverted writer.
Since I started colouring last year after getting my own colouring book at BlogPodium, Sunshine has been eyeing my colouring books. She’s ready for more complicated pictures to colour and she was very excited to start colouring To the Ocean Deep. We’ve had family colouring parties before, but this is the first time we’ve all coloured in the same book.
I spread To the Ocean Deep down our hallway (which we discovered is 15′ long). Sunshine started at the top, colouring the sky, while Lily took the bottom, colouring the sand. Jade moved up and down, asking, “What can I colour?” We pointed out fishes, sea stars, and other treasures for her.
What has been really fun about this colouring book is playing “I Spy.” There are so many cool things from the top to the bottom. The girls loved counting the merpeople who are swimming around. There are cute little undersea creatures peeking out of windows and around corners. I even found a koala with a diving bubble on its head!
It’s also been fun to see the girls working together on this colouring book. I wondered if giving them one colouring book would result in fights, but it hasn’t. There has only been happy chatter while they’ve been colouring. They talk about what they’re colouring and run back and forth to see what latest thing each has found in the picture.
To the Ocean Deep is illustrated by Sarah Yoon. It is printed on sturdy paper, which folds out of the book so that the picture continues from top to bottom. The ocean starts a light green at the top and gradually grows darker, until it’s a deep teal where it meets the sand. Fantastic creatures like sea serpents and merpeople mingle with real creatures like crabs and sharks.
Explore the Writing Prompts in 642 Big Things to Write About
As a writer, I’ve used writing prompts and books like 642 Big Things before. I was curious to see what the girls would think of this book.
Lily already enjoys writing notes to family and friends, while Sunshine is a more reluctant writer. I was a bit surprised when Sunshine expressed just as much interest in 642 Big Things to Write About as Lily did.
Last week, I pulled out 642 Big Things to Write About and let Lily pick a writing prompt. She chose to “describe the biggest thing you’ve ever seen.” I was still thinking about big things when she started writing:
The biggest thing I’ve ever seen is Drummheller’s giant T-rex. It is at the visitor center. It’s green and has a yellow tummy. Its taller than it looks and has lots of stairs in it that go all the way to the top. You end up in its mouth and when you go to the edge you get a perfect view of Drumheller. It is 86 feet tall. It costs a fee to climb it.
That’s entirely Lily. I suggested the first sentence to her and helped her research the last two sentences, when she’d run out of ideas and still had room to write. When she finished that, she also wanted to write about “the tiniest thing you’ve ever seen” (at the top of the same page). Like the first writing prompt, I was still thinking about tiny things when she already knew what to write about: her tooth.
Sunshine took much longer both to pick her writing prompt and to write about it. She wanted to write about her doll Special, so she flipped through the book looking for a prompt that would let her do that. I finally suggested that she “write a descriptive poem in which each line starts with the first letter of [Special’s] name.” With much more prompting, she came up with this poem:
I’m planning to use this book in our homeschooling this year, to encourage the girls’ writing skills. I’m even thinking of doing some of the writing prompts myself, to give the girls examples. In a few years, as we fill the book, it will be fun to read each entry.
For older, more confident writers (such as teens), this book could become a game. Give each person a writing prompt and a certain amount of time in which to write. Or have each person write one sentence or one word of the prompt, so that it becomes a group entry.
Get Creative Yourself!
In what ways does your family get creative together? Are you artists? musicians? writers? game players? cooks? If you’re looking for more creative ideas, check out the other selections from Raincoast Books. Make family time part of your weekly routine this school year.
If you’re looking for more writing prompts for kids, check out these ideas from iHN:
I received these books for review from Raincoast Books; all opinions expressed are my own.