Written by Angie Kauffman of Real Life at Home
I have loved writing since I was a little girl. I was always writing stories and creating projects. It was just how I was naturally bent.
Most of my kids have been considerably less enthusiastic about writing. Because of their natural inclination against writing, I have sought out a variety of authentic writing activities beyond the standard five paragraph essay in order to encourage a love (or at least like) of writing.
I love working on poetry with kids simply for the fact that poetry can look like so many different things.
You can work on poetry with no rules or guidelines, or you can work on poetry that has very particular rules. I have found that children who have difficulty with writing can often be very excited about poetry with very distinctive patterns, like haikus.
For kids that love art projects and other hands-on learning, they might love all of these hands-on poetry ideas that will encourage writing and creative thinking, while also giving the fun projects to create.
Newsletters and Zines
Newsletter or zines are a fabulous way to either be a follow up project to a large unit study or to highlight a topic of interest that your kids really love. If you are dealing with a struggling writer, I would especially encourage you to try this with any topic that your child loves, rather than a topic that you have chosen for them.
Your child’s newsletter or zine could feature articles, drawings, poetry, photographs, and anything else that interests them. If you’re not familiar with zines (short for “fanzine” or “magazine”), here’s a great resource that talks all about zine making for kids.
Photo by dot matchbox
Whether your child gets a pen pal their age or starts a regular correspondence with a grandparent far away (or just down the block!), letter or email writing can be a fabulous way to work on writing skills.
If you want to work on this regularly, however, you’ll need to make sure that the person they are exchanging correspondence with is willing to commit to keeping up their end of the exchange.
Another option for this might be to exchange a notebook with your child where you write notes to one another. Not only will this be good writing practice, but it also might give them an opportunity to talk to you about things they have a hard time talking about in person.
Create Their Own Book Based on a Favorite Book
As a fun way to combine simple writing and art when my children were younger, we did a project where they each made their own books based on the book The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein.
They wrote new adventures for the main character of the book and then drew illustrations based on Silverstein’s drawings. This activity encouraged them to come up with their own writing ideas, but gave them a framework with which to work.
If your child does not enjoy drawing, they might want to work on their own fan fiction, where they make up a new story about a character or multiple characters in a book or movie.
Blogging and Podcasting
This might be an area best tackled with older children. However, writing on a blog or writing to prepare a podcast can be very exciting for both kids and adults. It is fun to share your thoughts and creativity where others can read or listen to it. (Although, you could decide if this would be something that would be available publicly or if it would be private.)
Your child could start a podcast or blog about an area of particular interest to them, or they might just do it about a variety of topics. To help them, it might be best if they focused on just a few topics of interest.
I love these ideas for helping children start a blog, which includes safe places for them to blog and things you might consider when they’re starting.
Pick Their Own Writing Project
If your child struggles with writing, this might be difficult for them, but if they already enjoy writing, allow them to pick their own writing projects. You might find that they have always wanted to writing their own novel, but you just didn’t know it.
Once they pick their own writing project, ask them what you can do to help support or guide them in their chosen project.
Writing can be an enjoyable activity for many children once they find their preferred ways to express themselves. Some children, however, may never really love writing. It’s still a great idea to introduce them to many different types of writing forms and projects.
What are some of your favorite writing projects to do with your kids?