We all know about summer reading programs and soccer camps to keep your kids active and thinking over the summer, but have you considered utilizing creative writing prompts? It’s important to keep your child writing and thinking creatively over the summer so they’re ready for school in the fall—and more importantly, so they keep their imagination alive! Here are seven types of creative writing prompts to get your kids writing.
Want a hands-off set of creative writing prompts that will keep your child engaged all summer? Grab notecards or post-it notes; brainstorm random nouns, verbs, adjectives, and places; and write one word or phrase on each notecard or post-it. When you’ve created your collection of words, you can mix together the different types of words or keep them separate. Now your kid has his own set of writing prompts that he can mix or match whenever he needs a new story idea.
Some visual learners need a visual prompt to see their story before they write it. Luckily, there are plenty of pictures on the internet that can spark a story! Try sites like Visual Writing Prompts or the never-ending source of photos on Pinterest.
Of course, be careful when searching for photo prompts on the internet. Look up safe sites to use before you sit down with your child to find visual prompts, and set up appropriate parental controls if your child is browsing on his own.
A great way to get children interested in writing is to read, read, read! Reading gets your son or daughter thinking, “Hey, I could write a story, too!” Let kids pick books about things they’re interested in and encourage them to write their own stories after reading about something they enjoyed. Writing, in turn, helps kids read better—it’s a win-win situation!
Need some suggestions on what to read? We’ve got book recommendations here. Give your child the opportunity to read a variety of books—fiction, nonfiction, poetry—and encourage them to experiment with writing all of these types of writing.
Start writing where a favorite story ends
Fanfiction isn’t just for teens and adults; it can be a great way to get kids writing. But what is fanfiction? Think fractured fairy tale, but not limited to fairy tales! Fanfiction is a story fans of an original work (a book, TV show, movie, games, etc.) write about characters or settings from the original work. For example, if you child is really into Frozen, she might enjoy writing a short story about what happens to Ana and Elsa after the end of the movie. Or she might write about how Olaf and Sven, Kristoff’s reindeer, become best friends and have adventures all around Arendelle.
Fanfiction takes the pressure off kids when it comes to writing. Children don’t have to invent completely new characters or settings—they can work within a story they already know and imagine what else a particular character would do or how else a particular story might have ended. This can be helpful to children who get stuck in the idea phase of writing and can help move them into the writing phase.
There are way more writing prompts and story ideas on the internet than you can imagine. This means kids can pick and choose the ideas that really stand out to them. You’ll find a range of prompts, from journaling prompts like “Would you rather be really big or really tiny?” to random story idea generators that come up with silly ideas like “Write a funny message to a brown flower who gets stuck in a hole.”
Go exploring to get inspired
One surefire way to get children thinking creatively is to get out of the house and go exploring. Whether your kid goes outside in the backyard and finds inspiration in the ants gathering in the garden or comes up with a story idea about astronauts at a space museum, getting a fresh perspective and a new environment keeps kids imagining.
Get the whole family involved
Writing doesn’t have to be a solitary affair for your children. Gather up your family members and create a continuing story together. One person starts by saying a sentence, the next family member continues the story with the next sentence, and so on until you have a story that the whole family contributed to. If you want to get crazy, adjust the activity so that each person contributes just one word at a time. Continuing stories can get wild! They’re a great way to help kids (especially verbal learners) practice crafting a story without sitting down by themselves with paper and a pencil. You may want to record the storytelling session on video for memories.