Challenging Our Kids to Write

Try these ideas as writing prompts the next time your kids are stuck.
By Susan Stephenson
Jun 06, 2014



Challenging Our Kids to Write

Jun 06, 2014

There's nothing more calculated to produce blank looks in kids than an empty piece of paper and the instruction to write. Everyone likes a challenge, so try these ideas as writing prompts the next time your kids are stuck. Discussing the idea for a few moments, and encouraging them to jot down thoughts might be helpful too. One of the 21 challenges below may become the start to a longer piece of writing, or your child might shoot off in another direction entirely. Sometimes, just getting started is all it takes!

21 Writing Challenges

Describe the messiest bedroom you can imagine without once using the letter "m."

What if you had a pair of magical, emerald-green, curly-toed slippers? Write about your first adventure without repeating ANY word.

Write a 99-word letter to the editor, complaining about the children of today.

You look in your pocket and find a miniature unicorn. Describe it in forty-two words.

Write a newspaper headline about something that happened in your family today.

Think about something embarrassing that happened to you. Remember how you felt, what you thought. Now write a description of the incident as if it happened to someone else.

Write the instructions for something you know how to do using a piece of paper no bigger than a match box.

Open a dictionary. Put your finger on a word. Write it down. Do that three times. Use those words in your 63- word story about a trick.

Write a story about a wet dog, an itchy acrobat, and an umbrella salesman.

Take a walk with a notepad and pen. Look for things that remind you of something else. Write a sentence about each thing, likening it to what it reminds you of, e.g., The fern curled like an old man's beard.  

Write a letter to a friend. Now write it again in a secret code. Give some clues for working out the code.

Design a magazine advertisement for something you think a family member needs.

Write an advertisement in seventy-two words for a product called Gloopy.

Would you rather have a pot of gold or x-ray vision? Explain why.

Imagine if you looked in the mirror and the grossest monster head had replaced your head. Describe the experience.

If you were King or Queen of the world, what top ten rules would you make?

Imagine someone has been annoying you. Write a speech you could make, persuading him to stop the annoying behavior. Give reasons he should stop, and suggest consequences if he doesn't.

Change the words of a song you know to make a new one.

Use the Scholastic Story Starter to get a story idea, then write your story plan in 10 minutes.

Write a story about a mad monkey without using "and" once.

What if you had a pet potato? What would you call it? What would it look like, sound like, do, love to eat? Ask your friend to choose a number smaller than 100 and write this many words about your pet potato.

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