Adapted from Pat Schneider’s Writing Alone and with Others – p. 302-303
If you are writing alone, choose an object that has some meaning for you. Hold it in your hands (or, if it is too big, sit where you can see it) and begin your writing with a detail of that object.
Describe your object in detail until something else occurs to you, then follow your thoughts, let them take you like stepping stones across a river. Don’t worry about where you are going…just follow your thoughts, what you see, what you remember.
If you are writing with a large group you could offer a collection of objects and have them choose one object that speaks to them.
Spread a plain cloth and one by one set out various objects that represent various kinds of experience: a spool of thread with a needle stuck in it; an old, scarred wooden spoon, a man’s shaving razor;, a jump rope, a whiskey bottle, a used baseball, a small crystal ball, a marble, a dog whistle, a hand mirror, an artificial rose anything at all.
Pat suggests trying to accumulate 30-40 objects that might appeal to the age group with which you are working. (Stores that sell used items are a great source, but also just simple objects you could collect from around the house.)
Once they have chosen an object — have them describe it, as indicated above, encouraging them to follow their thoughts as they occur in relation to the object. However, if the object prompts a memory, a story, encourage them to plunge in immediately and write about that.