Kids are so spontaneously creative, but it can be tricky to get them to capture those insights on paper. Sometimes when you sit them down and say, “Be creative!” they freeze up. Then when you let them run around and play, suddenly they are producing one unique, funny thought after another. How do you get what comes out their mouths onto the page?

Try this: Give your child a notebook. Kids don’t switch instantly from talking to imagining to writing pages of creative stories. An easy way to make the transition is to get your child in the habit of carrying a notebook (compostion books come in all colors and designs) or keeping one nearby.

Every time your third grader comes up with an idea, remind her to write it down in her notebook. Teach your child that her ideas and memories are valuable and collectible and might come in handy for future writing projects — a nature journal, secret diary, spy notebook, and so on.