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22 Writing Activities To Help Kids Hone Their Writing Skills

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Young boy practices writing activities with a pencil and paper.

When kids start writing, they’re unlocking a whole new world of imagination to explore. It’s a great way for them to be creative, express themselves and practice key reading and writing skills. 

But as most kids — and adults — will tell you, writing is hard! It can be intimidating to put pen to paper for the first time, and sometimes the challenge of a blank page seems like too much to overcome. 

Writing shouldn’t be scary for kids. These 22 fun writing activities can help them:

  • Use their imagination
  • Think up new stories and ideas
  • Share their writing with friends and family

Use them in your classroom or at home to get kids excited about writing!

Fun writing activities

Three students complete fun writing activities at school.

Writing is supposed to be fun! Use these activities to help kids stretch their imagination and record their thoughts on paper in a fun, low-stress environment.

1. Try online ELA games like Prodigy English

Great for: Grades 1 to 5

Online games are a great way to engage students in the learning process — and Prodigy English is bringing the power of game-based learning to language and reading skill practice!

As students build and create, they’re always practicing key reading and language skills that help them write clearly and effectively. Every correct answer gives players more energy to gather resources, complete daily tasks and earn Wishcoins.

Plus, you can send questions about the topics you want them to practice and collect insights about their learning.

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2. Poetry scavenger hunt

Great for: Middle and high school students

Words are all around us, so encourage your students to take inspiration from the real-life writing they see every day. Have students collect printed words and phrases from the world around them, including:

  • Flyers
  • Billboards
  • Magazine ads
  • Graphic novels
  • Newspaper headlines
  • Social media captions

Students can collect and arrange their words on a piece of paper to make a unique piece of poetry. Encourage them to find a key idea and expand on it in creative ways, then have students share their work with the class. 

3. Create your own comic strip

Great for: Grades 4 to 10

Students learn in all sorts of ways. For visual learners, creating a comic strip to accompany their story can help them express themselves in a visual medium. 

Give students a set number of panels and challenge them to come up with a quick story — just a few sentences. Then, they can illustrate their scene in the style of comic books. 

Remind students the point isn’t to be the best artist — it’s to write a story that’s short and exciting. 

4. Create your own Madlib

Great for: Elementary and middle school students

Give students vocabulary practice and help them write a silly story at the same time!

Fill a sheet with the outline of the story, then remove key words like:

  • Verbs
  • Nouns
  • Adverbs
  • Adjectives

For younger students, add a word bank to get them started. As students fill in words, they’ll craft a unique story filled with unexpected twists and turns.

Creative writing activities

Young student sits at a table with pencil and paper during creative writing activities.

Once students start getting in the habit of writing, these creative writing activities can pull new ideas out of their heads and encourage them to experiment with different genres. 

5. Acrostics

Great for: Grades 3 to 8

Acrostic poems are a great way to introduce your students to poetry! Start with a meaningful word or name and use it as a theme for the poem. 

Writing the word vertically, students can go down the letters and write a short word or phrase that starts with each letter. Acrostic poems help students write within a structure and theme, so it’s easier for them to get started. 

6. A letter to your future self

Great for: Middle school and high school

Where do your students see themselves in a year? Five years? Ten years?

A letter to their future selves is a great way for students to explore their own story, and brainstorm what they want to achieve. Not only can students practice their letter-writing skills, they can use their imaginations to develop a growth mindset

For extra nostalgia, store the letters for students and mail them out once the right amount of time has passed. 

7. Write a “Choose your own adventure” story

Great for: Grades 5 and up

Whether it’s a fairy tale, detective story or drama, chances are you’ve had a student tell you they don’t know how their story is supposed to end. 

A “Choose-your-own-adventure” story lets students brainstorm different storylines and endings. Once they’re done, encourage them to share their stories with the class so their peers can go on the adventure too.

8. Write a fake advertisement

Great for: Grades 6 and up

Good writing doesn’t just happen in books — it’s all around us!

Whether students are writing advertisements on their own or as part of a project-based learning assignment, this activity helps them build key media literacy skills and practice their snappy storytelling. 

Have students make up a new product and advertisement, or encourage them to re-imagine an ad for something they love. It’s also a great way to bring media literacy and interdisciplinary learning to your classroom. 

9. Make a story map

Great for: Grades 2 to 8

Not every student is going to be comfortable putting pen to paper right away. Story maps can help students brainstorm details like plot, characters and setting in a way that makes sense for visual learners. 

Have students use charts to set out the beginning, middle and end of their stories. Mind maps can also help them plot out details about their characters or setting. 

Encourage students to present their story map as a finished product or use it to start writing!

Academic writing activities

Students works with a textbook, pencil and paper in the classroom.

Writing isn’t all fairy tales and short stories — it’s also an important part of learning in middle school, high school and college. Use these academic writing activities to help students understand proper essay structure, grammar and more. 

10. Story chains

Great for: Grades 4 to 8

Stories are better when they’re enjoyed with friends and classmates. And story chains encourage every student to get involved!

Put students in small groups of three to six. Give each student a blank piece of paper and have them write the beginning of a story. Then, pass it to the next student in the group so they can write what happens next. 

For extra educational value, have students work together to summarize a story from your lesson or an important historical event. 

11. Persuasive essays

Great for: Middle and high school students

Sometimes writing is about more than just telling a story. It’s about convincing your readers of your point of view. 

Have older students practice their debate skills with persuasive essays. Start with a prompt, then let students make their case. Some of our favorite prompts for this writing assignment include:

  • Is it more important to be right or to not hurt someone else’s feelings?
  • What important historical figure do you think belongs on the ten-dollar bill and why?
  • Do you think you’re born with your personality traits, or do you gain them as you grow up?

Most importantly, make sure students back up their opinions with solid facts and arguments that convince readers to care. 

12. Solve a real-world problem

Great for: Grade 6 and up

Climate change, litter, bullying, bad cafeteria food — no matter what students pick, there are lots of real-world problems for them to solve. 

Challenge students with a writing assignment that addresses a problem they see in their world. How would they fix it? Whether it’s a short paragraph or a longer essay, encourage them to find something they’re passionate about. After all, that’s where good writing comes from!

13. Vocabulary challenge

Great for: Elementary school students

Vocabulary challenges combine vocabulary strategies with student writing to make your next language arts lesson plan even more engaging. 

Give students a new word (or two or three). Once you’re done practicing it and they know what it means, challenge them to use it in a story as creatively as possible. 

14. Teach citations

Great for: Grades 1 to 12

Footnotes, endnotes and bibliographies are the least exciting part of writing, but they’re essential skills. As students write more complex research papers, they need to know how to give credit where credit is due. Thankfully, there are lots of online resources to help!

The Purdue Online Writing Lab offers teachers and students resources for all stages of the writing process, including citations. To practice, students can write an annotated bibliography as part of a project-based learning assignment or the first step in writing a longer research paper. 

At-home writing activities

Young girls works with her father on writing activities on their couch.

Writing isn’t just something happening in the classroom. These at-home writing ideas can help you support your child as they experiment with prose and poetry.

15. Write letters to a pen pal

Great for: Grades 3 and up

Everyone likes getting mail! Got a friend with kids in a different part of the country, or far-away family members? A pen pal can be a great way for kids to build friendships and practice their writing skills at the same time. 

16. Bring a home object to life

Great for: Elementary and middle school students

“It’s as big as a mountain!”

“That’s the fluffiest thing I’ve ever felt!”

The ways kids describe things can crack us up sometimes. Full of wonder and hyperbole, it’s the perfect spark for creative writing, too.

Encourage kids to practice their figurative language skills with a description of something in your home. Let them pack as much alliteration and exaggeration into the description as they can, then do a dramatic reading out loud.  

17. Write reading reactions

Great for: Grades 2 to 8

If you want to boost reading comprehension and writing skills at the same time, this is the perfect activity. After your child is done reading, encourage them to write a few sentences about what they just read. 

Did they like it? What do they think happens next? Which character was their favorite and why? Learning how to express opinions in writing is a valuable skill. 

18. Document family stories

Great for: Grades 4 and up

Every family has a unique story, including yours. Make memories with your child when you share stories about important family events or your childhood. 

Kids can even interview grandparents, aunts and uncles to record their memories. When you’re done, store them in a shared space so everyone can go back and reminisce.

Daily writing activities

A person sits at a desk with a notebook, paper, pen and coffee cup.

Writing is a muscle, and you have to flex it every day to get stronger. Use these daily writing activities to make writing part of your everyday routine. 

19. Journaling

Great for: Everyone

Sometimes, you’ve just gotta write it out. 

Whether you’re trying to make sense of life or just need a place to organize your thoughts, journaling is a great way to unwind, practice mindfulness and build social emotional skills

All kids need to get started is a notebook and a pen. Let them know you’re not going to read it, but they’re welcome to come to you if there’s something they want to talk about. 

20. Blog about your interests

Great for: High school and up

Everyone’s passionate about something. Whatever your students love, encourage them to share it with the world! Blogging is an accessible and fun way to express themselves, nerd out about the things that bring them joy and share their opinions with the world. 

Sites like WordPress and Wix offer free website builders to help students get started. This is a great way for kids to build computer skills and digital literacy.

21. Free writing

Great for: Grades 4 and up

Write, write, write and don’t stop. That’s the premise behind free writing, a writing practice that can help unlock creativity, discover new ideas and take the pressure out of a blank page. 

Give students a five-minute timer and challenge them to write continuously, without worrying about formatting, spelling or grammar. They can write about whatever they want, but there’s only one rule: don’t stop. 

22. Answer daily writing prompts

Great for: Grades 3 and up

Make time to exercise your brain with daily writing prompts! At the start of the day or as a quick brain break, set aside time for students to respond to a quick daily writing prompt. 

Students should have a dedicated journal or binder to make it a seamless part of your lessons. Whether or not you choose to read their writing is up to you, but it’s important to build good daily habits. 

Simple writing prompts for kids

Teacher and child sit in the classroom and work on writing activities together.

A blank page can be a scary sight for a student who doesn’t know what to write about. 

Use writing prompts to:

  • Kickstart a student’s imagination
  • Start your lesson with a fun writing activity
  • Give students a topic to debate in writing

Some of our favorite simple writing prompts include:

  1. Write a story about a wooden door, a can of soda and a blue shoe. 
  2. If you met a monster looking for new friends, what would you do?
  3. What’s your favorite season? What makes it the best?
  4. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
  5. Describe your dream birthday cake. 
  6. Write a story about being cold without using the word “cold.”
  7. If you could decorate your bedroom any way you wanted, what would it look like?
  8. Is it better to have lots of friends or just a few really good friends?
  9. Write a story in 10 words or less.
  10. Write a story about the best surprise you’ve ever received. 

For more writing prompts you can use in and out of the classroom, check out our full list of 225 writing prompts for kids.

Writing activities can bring reluctant writers out of their shells

Writing is hard and can be intimidating for a lot of students. 

But even the quietest and most reluctant students have lots of stories to tell! You just have to encourage them to get their words out. 

Writing activities help remove some of the pressure and give students:

  • A fun way to approach writing 
  • A starting point for their stories
  • Chances to share their writing with students

No two stories are the same, just like your students. Every story can start in a different way, and that’s the beauty of writing prompts.

Try some other educational activities

Whether it’s writing activities or math problems, there are lots of ways to get reluctant learners excited about your lessons with educational activities. 

Here are some of our favorites:

Which ones can you use in your next lesson?

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