8 Fun Writing Activities for Kids

Fun games and activities for kids to encourage good writing skills

writing activities for kids - girl writing
Writing activities for kids can be fun as well as educational.. Nick Dolding/Getty Images

Writing will become more important for kids as they advance in elementary school. While your child may master basics like how to write her name correctly, sharpen her fine-motor skills while practicing both capital and lowercase letters, and even learn how to spell some basic words in kindergarten, she will use those foundations to write sentences and tell simple stories as she moves into first grade and beyond.

Today, with more children spending time on standardized tests and focusing on reading and math skills, it's more important than ever for parents to emphasize the need for children to develop the skills to express themselves clearly and expressively. Here are some fun activities parents can try to encourage their children to develop good writing skills and habits that will last them their entire lives.

  1. Daily journal entry. Pick out a special notebook for your child that can serve as a journal. Each night, right before bed, make it a routine for your child to write a sentence or two about her day. It can be something general like, "Today was a fun day." Or it can highlight something she really liked or thought was funny or sad, such as, "I laughed when my brother made silly noises." Over time, as your child grows, she may want to write down more about her feelings, and writing in a journal may become a way for her to work out stress and anxiety.
  1. Writing cards. Make a batch or pretty cards and have your child write out the message, whether it's a birthday card, an invitation to a party, or a thank you card. (When you make your own cards, it's a fun kids' craft to keep them occupied and much easier on the family budget, too. Plus, if your child messes up and wants to do his card over again, you can make a new one in minutes.) Bonus: Having kids write thank you notes is an excellent way to instill good manners and raise a child who is thankful.
  1. Sentence mash up. Take some colorful card-stock paper (about the size of a playing card or a bit smaller is ideal) and make a stack of cards. On each card, write a simple word (depending on the age of your child, choose words that he will know; so for a first grader, it would be words like "train" or "castle." For older grade-schoolers, you can use more complicated words like "investigation" or "mystery" or "switched." Turn the cards over so that the words are not visible and mix them up. Each player takes 7 cards and then tries to make two sentences to tell as story, using all his words if possible. 
  2. What's in the picture? Find a picture in a magazine or a book that your child can use to describe what's going on. Try to tailor it to your child's interest (If he likes sports, it can be a picture of a player sliding into home base or making a catch; if he loves animals, you can find a picture of animals doing something interesting like eating or climbing or running).
  3. Pass the story. To play, you'll need about 3 or more players, ideally around second grade and up, depending on your child's writing ability. This fun game will yield hilarious results. To begin, get some lined paper and pencils. The first player begins a story with two to three sentences. Then the next player will then see what the previous player wrote--and only what the previous writer wrote--and add to the story. (Each player will have to fold the paper so that only his sentences are visible to the next player before passing it on.) At the end of several rounds, read aloud the hysterical final story.
  1. Toy (or blankie or other lovie) story. Books like Toys Go Out series and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane and movies like Toy Story make us think about what it might be like to be a toy on a child's shelf. Ask your child to create a story from a favorite toy or beloved object's story, and include how the object might feel about him. (This is a great exercise to boost a child's self-esteem as the toy talks about how much your child loves and cares for it.)
  2. A day in the life of an animal. This is a variation of a story from a toy's point of view, using animals kids can see in the world around them (such as a squirrel, a bird, a duck in a pond, etc.) to write about a day from their viewpoint. And if your child wants to write about the animal he saw in a zoo, such as a monkey, or an animal he spotted in a book, like a polar bear, even better! He can research the animal's habitat, what he eats, what he may do in a typical day, and so on.
  3. A story written by your child, with writing prompts. Inspire your child to write a story by giving him some prompts. Some prompts to try:
    - If we had a day when everything was backward, what might that look like?
    - What are the best things to do on a nice spring day and why?
    - What are the silliest things you've seen people do?
    - If you could meet your favorite book character who would it be? What would you ask him or her?

And don't forget to read! Read with your child, and as she gets older, read alongside her. Encouraging a love of books is one of the best ways to encourage kids to write to express their own thoughts and creativity.

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