01 of 10
Writing Activities That Kids Will Want to Do
Avoid the summer brain drain, and get your kids to pen some prose this summer with these fun kids’ writing activities. While these ideas focus more on the craft of storytelling than penmanship, if done by hand they will certainly help your child improve his or her handwriting skills too.
One of the things I like about using kids’ writing activities to keep my children busy over summer is that they can be either short-term or long-term projects. And a work-at-home parent’s kids really need... both--quick and easy projects to fill one afternoon and something to come back to again and again all summer.
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02 of 10
Publish a Magazine
My youngest has created many magazines on whatever topics she was feeling passionate about at the time--cats, her classmates, Harry Potter, family history, etc. In first grade, everything was hand drawn and hand written. These days she’s learning to lay it out on the computer.
Not only do kids get practice writing when they create a magazine, they learn about what goes into a publication (have them browse lots of children’s magazines first) as well as how to plan out a long-term project and... collect up and layout pictures. This is a good group project for siblings and friends to collaborate on. When it’s done, make copies and distribute it to grandparents, friends or other interested parties...and of course save one for yourself!
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03 of 10
Start a Blog
If a magazine is too old school for your kids, launch a blog instead. Probably you don't want your kids publishing their thoughts for all the world but letting grandparents, friends and relatives read it can be a great way to keep in touch. So be sure you set up a private blog that only people whom you choose can access.
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04 of 10
Find a Pen Pal
A good old fashioned pen pal can be just the thing to inspire kids to put pen to paper. There is still a thrill to receiving a letter in the mail. And in this, one must give in order to receive. Pen pals don't have to be distant strangers. Use your own social networks to find someone who would be willing to write to your child--could be a cousin or grandparent, the child of an old high school friend or work colleague. With social media, it is easier to connect with people. And while your... child could certainly email with his or her pen pal, emails can be brief (which is not conducive to improving writing skills) and don't come with the same thrill as a letter in the mail.
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05 of 10
Keep a Journal
While keeping a journal is one of those writing activities that children do for only short periods at a time, it can continue over a long term. And one of the great things about it is how they’ll start to think about it even when they are not doing it. During their day, they may start composing entries in their minds about an activity their participating in. A journal encourages creativity, and it helps kids learn to organize their thoughts. It's a good way to start the day or transition... from one activity to another. And to keep things interesting try making a journal jar or having them keep a nature journal.
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06 of 10
Create a Travel Brochure
I know when we have a vacation planned my kids love to research our destination on the Internet themselves (probably to be sure we parents aren’t bypassing any fun stuff). If your kids are the same, use that excitement about an upcoming trip to inspire a little writing. Have kids create a travel brochure for your destination. Encourage them to write about one particular destination, a museum, hotel, beach, etc., that is on your agenda. You can also encourage them to make brochure about their... favorite part of the trip after you come home.
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07 of 10
Craft a New Ending to an Old Story
So your little budding Shakespeare didn’t like how a book or movie ended? Call in the rewrite team and let the kids craft a new ending. This writing activity requires both critical thinking and creativity. For young kids in the pre-reading stage, they don’t even necessarily have to write it down; let them just tell their new ending. Older kids can draw storyboards or write a script or new last chapter.
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08 of 10
Write a Book Review
Kids can be pretty opinionated, so why not have them to write those opinions down? The obvious thing to review is a book. And a book review can be a great way to reinforce reading comprehension skills, but for kids who are resistant to writing (or reading) it can be a little too close to a book report. So get them to write about the stuff they really care about. Encourage kids to review just about anything--a new toy, a movie, a restaurant. Writing a review will get kids to think more deeply... about the object of a review--to go beyond "it was great" or "it stunk" and think about why they feel that way.
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09 of 10
Enter a Writing Contest
Nothing like a little competition to get the creative juices flowing. I actually use competition to get them reading too with my summer reading challenge. Check out this great list of writing contests for kids, where your children can find the competition for their age, interests and ability.
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10 of 10
Go into the Ad Biz
Does your child really, really want something? (Mine always do!) Maybe it’s a new toy, a pet, a trip to a special destination. Let them use their persuasive writing and art skills to convince you. Have them create an ad for whatever it is they want. Of course, you have to be prepared to say yes, if they are convincing. We tried this, and I'm now on the hook of for the addition of a guinea pig to our already large stable of pets!