The language arts of listening, speaking, reading, writing, are critical, and it’s crucial to start practicing them with children at a young age. As kids grow up, these skills will be used in just about every aspect of life. Thankfully, there are plenty of writing resources and activities that make practicing a fun experience. We’ve put together a list of 19 writing activities for kids that should give you a good start.
We cover all ages, beginning with the youngest children, who are just learning letters and words. There’s is a section for elementary school kids, who need to practice in and out of school. Finally, we end with the middle school and high school kids, who will often have the motivation to write but are sometimes short on writing ideas. Use this guide to find ways to encourage your child’s writing, and we just know you’ll start to see a difference in their enthusiasm and skills!
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Pre-Writing Activities for Kids
Starting before Kindergarten, kids will start to learn words and figure out how to identify different letters and sounds. This is an important time to practice, practice, practice. These fun ideas will help you work on these topics with your kids.
Practice with Chopsticks
One fun way to practice fine motor skills and handwriting is to set up your child with a tray of powder, like salt or sugar, and chopsticks. Have them write letters in the salt and spell out words.
Use Crayons to Trace Letters
Make the activities a little more colorful by pulling out crayons and markers to work on the letters. You can give kids printed out freebies from the internet with the letters and words printed where they need to trace over them and practice writing. It’s similar to coloring and staying within the lines.
Read New Words with Flashcards
Utilize flashcards to practice reading and identifying letters and words. Reading and writing go hand-in-hand. By looking at simple words and practicing reading them out loud and recognizing the letters, you’ll be advancing their knowledge of the alphabet.
Play the Alphabet Game
Help your kids learn how to spell certain words and sound things out by playing the alphabet game. Start with the letter A and have your kids think of a word that starts with that letter. You can also have the kids find objects in the house that begin with certain letters. As a bonus, that will also encourage them to get up and move around.
Learn to Write Names
One of the first words that your children should learn to write is their own name. Make that part of your daily practice. The more times they trace over the letters and practice, the easier it will come to them on their own. This will come in handy when they start school and need to find their name on lockers, desks, and lunch boxes. Practice this one and have lots of fun making it colorful and something that they do often until they have it down.
Creative Writing Activities for Kids
These ideas are perfect for younger kids who are just getting started with language arts. It’s easy to forget how much we write in our daily lives, so building those skills and habits early is great.
Start Writing Letters to a Pen Pal
A pen pal can be anyone that your child can exchange some letters or even emails with. Is there a friend that your child connects with that they can send a note or letter to? Are there any out-of-town family members or friends that would love to hear from your kids?
Writing letters is a simple exercise because they can cover day-to-day life activities and don’t have to be any certain length. A good letter exchange will include a collection of questions for the other person to respond to. It’s a practice in both reading and writing, plus getting fun personalized mail is such a treat.
Write a Short Story
Does your child have a wonderful imagination? Have them put that creativity to use by writing their own short story. Have them create characters who go on some type of adventure. This can also be a team effort where kids write a bit of the story and then pass it off to the next child to keep the story going.
Another fun spin on this idea is to have your kids retell a favorite story of theirs in their own words. Do they have a favorite book or movie? Have them write it out as they remember it. This is great if they are struggling to come up with their own story. It can be a lot of pressure if they aren’t used to sharing the things their imagination creates.
Once the story is created, you can have the kids add photos and even a cover to make it into a book. A great way to continue to encourage and celebrate writing is to read their creations back to them, so by making it into a book, you can add it to the nighttime story rotation.
Put Together and Organize a Scavenger Hunt
A scavenger hunt is a fun activity that kids can put together themselves. Post-it notes can be used to offer clues that point the participants to the next clues or notes. Give them a fun prize to put at the end to encourage others to participate.
Writing the clues for a scavenger hunt gives kids the opportunity to practice writing instructions and describing places. These might not be words that they practice as much with school work, so it’s a fun way to do a little extra at home.
Challenge your kids to write about fun experiences and adventures that they have. It can be incredibly fun to see what moments stood out to them after a trip and sometimes writing it down will allow them to be a little less filtered than if you just ask them.
One fun way to capture memories is to write down the five senses. What did they hear? Was there any food or drink they tasted and loved (or even didn’t love)? What could they smell? And the easiest one, what did they see? Documenting all senses can help transport anyone to those moments and would make a perfect scrapbook addition for the family trip.
If you haven’t traveled anywhere lately, consider going on a walk and then having them do this exercise when they get home. It can just be a good way to practice awareness of surroundings as well.
Utilize Worksheets and Printables
With many people choosing the homeschool route for their children, there are more and more online resources for parents. Even if you aren’t homeschooling, you can take advantage of the incredible worksheets and free printables available. Some of them will help with handwriting and others will help with some creativity while writing. Fill-in-the-blanks options, like “Madlibs,” help kids craft stories and come up with various words.
There are even options available for digital notebooks that will come with fun online pages for kids to fill out with their thoughts and stories. The available tools are trigger ideas and give some new options for creativity.
Ask for Written Lists
Most kids have taken the time to put together a list for Santa of the toys they would like for Christmas. Why not use a fun occasion like the holidays to get their pens to paper? If they have previously circled toys in catalogs or online, have them write out names and descriptions of the items.
You can also challenge them to make lists of birthday party ideas, spring break travel destination ideas, or things they would like to do over summer break. There are a million things to make lists about and the format is simple to follow.
Play Some Word and Writing Games
One way to encourage strong writers is to make words fun. Pack your game closet with games like Scrabble, Boggle, Dabble, and Quiddler. With dozens of options out there, you can use family game night to help your kids learn new words and compete with others while they put their skills to use. Good Housekeeping offers a list of 25 different word game options for your family to try.
Games are great for encouraging even the most reluctant kids because it disguises practice and hard work into a fun game. This works for all kinds of skills. Pinterest is another great resource to find writing games you can try with your kids.
Help Teach Someone Something New
Writing instructions for something helps give kids a purpose to write. You can ask your kids to write down each step of a certain chore or task, the rules for their favorite board game, or a schedule for a dog sitter. Any time they can utilize writing skills for something productive, it helps develop the skill.
Another fun way to do this is to have your child explain a simple task like they are teaching an alien visiting the earth who would have no idea what the human life experience is like. You can choose things like washing your hands or getting a bowl of ice cream. Once the instructions are complete, have them follow each step to see if they missed anything important.
Sometimes just thinking of something creative to write about can be the biggest block, so giving kids specific tasks will help them practice writing and organizing their thoughts into written words and practice makes perfect.
Publish a Newsletter or Magazine for Neighbors or Family Members
For aspiring writers, having other people read your creations is part of the fun. Help your kids organize a newsletter or magazine where they can put articles and stories together with pictures. Suggest they hand their finished product out to neighbors and family members!
There are a million ways you can do this, so let them have some fun with it. Kids can interview someone and write a feature on them. They can report on sports scores from local professional teams or even their own personal sports teams. Are there other fun neighborhood events that you can have them “cover” as a reporter? Once they have a couple of pages, make copies and share the goods with others.
This project is fun for the kids who create it, but it’s also a great way to connect with neighbors and share some happiness with others.
Write Down Song Lyrics
Does your child have a favorite song? Challenge them to write down all the lyrics for the song. It’s a good way to memorize the words while practicing writing skills. This exercise can feel like fun instead of just practice. This idea also works with favorite scenes from movies or TV. Anything that gets them to write out words they hear can be a beneficial writing activity.
Fun Writing Activities for Older Kids
As kids get older, they can be a little more independent with their writing practice. In middle school and high school, writing assignments often involve longer pieces and encourage a more advanced and diverse vocabulary. If you have reluctant writers, there are a few fun ideas here to help kids continue to work on these skills and enjoy writing.
Use Journal Writing Prompts
Writing in a journal is a great habit to form early. It’s great for mental health and to practice writing. Beginning this habit can be hard for some people because they might just stare at a blank piece of paper with no idea where to start and what to write. The good news is that there are thousands of journal prompts available to use.
You can find lists of them online and select a new one each day. There are teenager-specific options, but you can utilize pretty much anything that is a question for them to think about and write about.
Here are a few examples:
- What would a perfect day look like for you?
- Write about your favorite birthday party of all time and the memories you have.
- What ancestor would you like to meet and spend the day with? What would you ask them?
- How would you spend a million dollars if you won the lottery?
- What animal do you think you’re most like? What about your family members?
- If you have children someday, what will you do differently than your parents do now?
- What does your ideal bedroom look like?
These questions can be about anything, but should just inspire your kid to answer with at least a few sentences to start to get in the habit. Many journals come with prompts already printed on the pages and would make great gifts.
Create a Comic Book or Graphic Novel
Graphic novels are becoming one of the most popular genres for middle school kids. Challenge the kids to create their own. There are some great comic strip templates or graphic organizers online to give them a place to start. Map out the story using a storyboard and then start creating the pictures and words to fill the pages. The process of creating a comic strip or graphic novel helps organize thoughts and requires some planning which is a helpful skill to practice.
Set Up a Blog
Blogs are online journals where people write and share stories and thoughts with other people online. If you have an older child that loves writing, talk to them about starting a blog. There are some great website options for beginners and can help teach them some web design and coding as well.
It’s important to be careful with the information shared on the internet, but there is plenty that would be fun to put out there. Your teenager could share movie reviews, book reviews, or reports on sports teams and other relevant topics.
Write a New Ending to a Book, TV Show, or Movie
We’ve all seen a movie or TV show where we just didn’t love the ending. Why not take control of the situation and write a new one? This can be a great exercise for older children to practice their writing. If it’s a story, they can simply rewrite the last chapter or two. Maybe they didn’t love the way Harry Potter ended with everyone as grown-ups. This is the chance to create their own favorable outcome.
Who knows? This activity might even awaken something in your child that leads to a future in screenwriting!
Play Crossword Puzzles or Wordle
Word games are available for older children too. While many of the games we mentioned earlier are fun for people from five years old to 100 years old, there are few games that are better for older kids and adults. The New York Times has a crossword puzzle available on their app every day including a completely free mini version.
Wordle is a game taking the internet by storm currently. It was created by a man for his girlfriend to play during the pandemic, but now it’s one of the most popular sites. The game is simple, you just have six guesses to figure out what the five-letter word is that day. Each guess will give you green and yellow boxes signifying the letters that are correct, as well as those that are found in the word but in another location.
Those two examples are solo games, but there are plenty of apps and games you can play with friends on phones and tablets. Challenge your kids to a game of Words with Friends or Back & 4th. These fun activities can help expand vocabulary overall which makes a big impact on writing skills.
Incorporate these Fun Writing Activities for Kids in Your Household!
Support the creativity and imagination of your kids and watch as they fall in love with writing.
Frequently Asked Questions
When it comes to writing activities for kids, be creative! Suggest games that boost vocabulary, challenge students to write anything from news articles to screenplays, and encourage journal writing.
Reading and writing go hand-in-hand so, first and foremost, encourage reading! There are also beneficial writing activities for kids, like making lists, creating scavenger hunts, and playing word games.