Whether it’s summer break and you’re hoping to work on some skills or you’re in the middle of the school year with a extremely reluctant writer, having some fun-writing activities in your arsenal can make all the difference. The key to changing your daughter’s attitude about writing is to help her see that writing can be fun! Try one of these creative writing activities to engage your daughter’s imagination as she puts pen to paper.
Create a Comic
This writing activity is often a hit with kids who like to draw. Print a comic strip template and encourage your daughter to come up with a character and story to go in the boxes. Ask her questions to get her creative ideas flowing, such as what makes the main character unique? Is there a villain in her comic? What happens at the beginning, middle, and end? Before you know it she will have thought out an entire short story and will just need to get it on paper. This fun writing activity is extremely motivating for the young artist because they are excited about the idea of drawing a story, so they will not complain about adding the words to finish it off!
Comics are short, they can be silly, and often utilize pure dialogue for the writing, so lots of short sentences back and forth make a great intro to writing for a reluctant writer.
Story chains make a fun family night or a special date with you and your daughter. To create a chain, have your daughter write the first sentence to a story on a piece of paper. Next, she will pass the paper to you (or, if you’re doing it as a family, to the person next to her). This person adds the second sentence and it continues as it’s passed around, (or back and forth) until the story has a clear ending. If your child feels stuck when it comes to getting started, write a fun creative intro to the story yourself and let her take the story from there.
This activity could even be done over the course of weeks with you contributing a line in a notebook and leaving it on her pillow to find each night. Ask her to return the notebook in the morning on your pillow with the next part of the story written by her. The great thing about drawing this activity out is that she won’t feel like it’s drudgery to be writing and odds are good she’ll be thinking throughout the day about where the story will go next!
Write It Down (For Them!)
Sometimes at school our kids get caught up in the idea that writing means endless drafts or fixing grammar and punctuation and they’ve lost sight of the fun in writing. Bring back the fun with this writing activity for elementary school age kids. The next time your child comes in eager to tell you a story — perhaps something that happened at school or on the playground — ask them to pause while you grab a piece of paper. As they tell you the story write it all down as they talk. Later that night when dad or siblings are around the dinner table pull out the story you wrote down and share it with the whole family. Showing off your daughters story-telling skills and praising her in front of the family will make her feel special and you can encourage her to write it down herself next time so that her story can be shared around the table again.
Taking the paper-and-pen-writing out of creating a story gets rid of the barrier of forming letters and remembering punctuation — it reminds our children that writing is creative and fun and has even more to do with ideas than the mechanics.
Take your daughters favorite book or movie and have her write an alternate ending. Encourage her to think of how she wished it went or if she wished there were an epilogue with more information and have her write it for herself. If she wrote it for a book, have her make it special and official and write it on smaller, book-sized paper so she can stick it in the back of her book to keep forever, like a real published work!
Writing an ending to a story is a lot less intimidating than starting from scratch. This fun writing activity is creative and lets them re-enter a favorite literary world once again with characters they already know and like to create something new.
Use a Picture Prompt
If you’ve ever had your daughter say “But I don’t know what to write about!” then this is the writing activity for you. Do a quick search on Pinterest of “Photo Writing Prompts” and you’ll be amazed at the variety of creative and beautiful photos that come up! Choose 5 or so photos (any more than that and she’ll spend her time admiring pictures rather than writing) and have her pick one to write a story about. It could be a descriptive narrative where she writes about what she sees, it could be a creative writing story that’s all made up with an interesting plot or it could even be a few rhyming sentences that go with the photo.
If your daughter really enjoys this writing activity consider printing out a stack of photos and keeping them on hand for easy access and writing ideas.
Write Your Own Mad Libs
This is a great activity if you want to focus on more of the mechanics of writing without it getting boring. Have your daughter write an 8-10 sentence paragraph on any topic. Pick a theme like holidays, vacations, hobbies, or interests. After she has written the story let her choose what words to erase! Write what type of word needs to go into that spot (see, a sneaky parts of speech lesson fits in here so easily) so she can pass it to a parent or sibling to finish.
Kids love Mad Libs and she will get a kick out of seeing how much her story changes after replacing 10-20 words!
Have your daughter learn to write a persuasive essay in a fun and creative way. Encourage her to choose something she would like to persuade you to do — but make sure she keeps it realistic (so she probably wont be writing about getting a puppy). She could persuade you to host a sleepover, take the family out to ice cream, or to clean her bedroom for her, but let her know that the only way you’ll actually do what she’s hoping is if her essay truly persuades you!
Give her examples of great persuasive letters or essays, talk with her about how to be persuasive and how she can make a strong case and then let her write, write, write. If she really truly wants what she is writing about she will be very motivated to do a great, detailed job and it might just be her best work to date! Make sure to follow through on your end if her essay persuaded you and she’ll see that words really are powerful!