I had a great discussion with a home school dad about how to incorporate more writing into lessons and how “Writing Prompts” often fail with his kids. I suggested taking a more activity based approach. I don’t really agree with the idea that all subjects should be broken up into distinct and different subjects. I think writing should be a means to an end, not the end goal – it is a tool. Here are some quick activity-based writing ideas I suggested he try.
- Have the kids help you write a “Menu” for your daily dinners that can be presented to the rest of the family -perhaps with a fresh picked daisy or two to decorate the table to build up the “restaurant” theme. This will get the kids using descriptive language and build their vocabulary and add a special flavor to family dinner.
Coded Messages – choose an age/skill appropriate code or cypher to teach the kids and have them write a few sentences in code to exchange with each other. This idea can be recycled using different codes for as long as it holds their interest. Combined with a history lesson, maybe creating a Celtic inspired rune code or using Egyptian hieroglyphs?
Messages in secret ink – Science experiment!
Have the kids help you in the kitchen – Choose a simple recipe to make together and have the kids write the steps down as they do them. Good practice in following and using directions and translating what they do into a guide to help someone else. Maybe try to remake the recipe on the weekend with another family member or have some friends over to see how it turns out?
Past/Present/Future – One of the hardest concepts for kids to understand in writing is the tenses. You can get them use to the different tenses first by identifying them when you speak and turning it into a game. Also you can get them to keep journals of their adventures and have them write a sentence or two about what they are going to do, or what they think they will learn (when you are doing an experiment or something) and then a sentence or two after you do a project or have a fun experience. It will get them practicing using tenses and help cement whatever they just learned.
6. decorate an appliance box – Cut out a “screen” or create some sort of stage so the kids can get inside and be”News Reporters” dressing up is encouraged! Have a nightly news update where they can share what they did during the day with their viewers – parents and the rest of the family. Have them write little scripts. Teach them how to share information and what is important to cover as a reporter/broadcaster (who, what, where, when, why, how) This is a great chance for them to show you what they have learned each day and reinforces the lessons they have been taught – and identify areas they may be struggling with.
Reading and writing go hand in hand, for some great active reading suggestions, check out our post: 5 fun active reading activities!
Hope you have enjoyed these writing activity suggestions. How do you encourage your kids to write? Please share your tips in the comments below!