Kids have immense imaginations, and writing allows them to develop and share their ideas. As they get older, expository writing skills contribute to academic success, and email communication is part of nearly every career. On the recreational side, writing can serve as a creative outlet in maintaining mental health. Here are five ways to get kids writing:
1. Sticky note vocabulary
Assign colored sticky notes for each part of speech; for example, pink for nouns, yellow for verbs, and green for adjectives. Think of at least ten of each type of word, write them on the sticky notes, and stick them somewhere easily accessible, such as on a window or refrigerator door. Take turns rearranging the notes to make surprising sentences! Keep it fresh by changing out words and by adding other parts of speech, like adverbs and prepositions.
2. Reimagine a favorite book
Children often have a favorite bedtime book that they read over and over. Make the story personal and one-of-a kind! Fashion a simple book by stacking sheets of paper and folding the stack in half. Children can rewrite the story, using new elements from their imaginations: characters, locations, and any other story details that they can think of.
3. Write a letter
Does your child have a favorite grandparent, aunt, uncle, or cousin? Pen a letter to this person and include details about morning activities and afternoon adventures. Write about daily routines as well as unexpected happenings. Make it fun by using colorful stationery and including drawings and stickers. Include a SASE to encourage a reply.
4. Plan a party
Who has the next birthday in your family? Give your kids a basic party checklist: balloons, guests to invite, cake, location, food, etc. Let your kids provide details and descriptions for each item. Incorporate some of their ideas into your actual planning so that your kids can see their written plans come to fruition.
5. Teach the parents
Ask your child to write about something that they know well but with which you are much less familiar. For example, younger kids might dictate a paragraph about the characters in a favorite TV show. Older children might write out the steps to the latest viral internet dance, or directions on how to play their favorite video game. Make time to read about and appreciate their TV shows with them, and to demonstrate your prowess at internet dancing and video gaming, per their instructions.
Fostering strong writing skills in children is a valuable gift. As your children grow, find ways to connect writing to the activities and subjects that they love!