Too much writing freedom can make reluctant writers feel adrift in the middle of the sea. When you hear your children complain: I can’t think of what to write about, a simple idea may be all they need to set them on course again.
The suggestions below from Writeshop.com offer loads of writing ideas for kids. For added fun, print them and let the children draw one or two randomly.
1. Use a fun or quirky writing prompt.
2. Combine two stories into one new story (“Goldilocks and the Big, Bad Wolf”) or make a big change in an existing story (“Snow White and the Seven Chimpanzees”).
3. What could you do with an everyday item such as paper-towel tubes or an old sheet? How about a cardboard box, a sponge, two chairs, or a bathrobe? Make a separate list of 5-10 ideas for each item.
4. Write about a familiar character who finds himself in an unfamiliar setting.
5. Create a craft, diorama, painting, sculpture, or other project and write a caption or short description about it.
7. Take a stuffed animal, LEGO® figure, or plastic toy everywhere you go for a whole day. Keep a journal of each place it goes and everything it does.
8. Build something and tell a story about it.
9. Send an email to a cousin or grandparent describing three things about a recent field trip.
10. Cut out the speech bubbles from some of the Sunday comics and replace them with your own captions or dialog.
11. Make a list of 10 subjects you know a lot about, such as horses, chess, Minecraft, camping, ancient Egypt, ballet, recycling, or model trains. Another time, when you’re stuck for ideas, you can write a paragraph about one of these topics. Include at least three facts in your paragraph.
12. Write a story to go along with a wordless children’s book.
13. Open the nearest book to a random page and write down the first 6 words that catch your attention. Now, write a sentence, poem, paragraph, or advertisement using all 6 words.
14. Pretend you are the family cat or dog. Make a shopping list of 10 things you want your owner to pick up from the store.
15. Make a joke book.
17. Find a passage in a book that describes a person and type it out. Change and reword the passage until it’s no longer about the original character, but about one of your friends or family members.
18. Make Lists of 10: 10 superheroes, 10 places to visit, 10 books to read, 10 weird foods, 10 hobbies to try, 10 vehicles, etc. Make as many lists as you want. You can even make a list of 10 lists you would like to make!
19. Pretend you have visited a place you’re studying about in history. Write a postcard to your family telling about one of your experiences.
20. Write a new ending to a familiar story.
21. With at least one sibling or parent, write “round robin” style. You can use any writing prompt or you can try a different kind of round robin by downloading this free Round Robin Adventure printable. Start by writing a sentence or two. Pass stories to the left and add to the story in front of you. Continue taking turns adding to each other’s stories.
22. Write a skit. Then, act it out using plastic toys or figurines.