Kids who love to write may be off and running once the pen hits their hand, but other children might not feel comfortable writing unless given a few creative writing prompts. Creative prompts encourage imagination and provide a jumping off point for journal entries and stories. Even children who love to write may find it easier to work from a prompt because it gives them an area of focus – and it’s fun! As a parent, one of the best ways to encourage your child’s love of the written word is to promote writing every day, such as with a daily writing prompt. Below are some of the best types of creative writing prompts that work especially well for kids.
1. Use Prompts Based on Topics Kids Love
Think back to what you loved as a kid. Creative writing prompts based on animals, superpowers, and other topics that your children love to chatter about are bound to bring about a great deal of creative writing. Set up the prompt to encourage creativity – this gives them permission to write an unconventional story. For instance: “Imagine being your favorite dinosaur. Write about your wildest adventure during a day in the life of that dinosaur.” Using prompts with silly scenarios will set the tone for using imagination.
2. Select Topics They Can Understand
The best creative writing prompts for kids encourage them to come up with unique, well-thought-out ideas and scenes. When your child is confused by the prompt, it may be more difficult for him or her to dive in. Instead, encourage creativity by choosing an age-appropriate topic. Creative writing that turns into a research topic may hinder imagination. Set children up for success by making sure they understand the prompt, but encourage them to ask questions about the prompt before they begin in case there is any confusion.
3. Avoid Being Too Specific
The best creative writing prompts for kids are open-ended, so that the writers can feel free to take the story in any direction. For instance, in our dinosaur example above, your kids could write about a dinosaur who gets into a conflict with other dinosaurs, gets lost in the woods, or learns to fly – anything can happen! While crafting writing prompts for kids, provide just enough details to afford general direction without leading the child to feel as though they are expected to take their tale along a certain storyline.
4. Encourage Free Writing
Free writing can be helpful for kids who have already taken to the art of writing. Free writing simply requires a timer and a few words to start with. In fact, creative writing prompts that focus on free writing may begin with only a single word! You could simply write the word “dinosaur” on the page and ask your child to write freely about dinosaurs. Facts they know about dinosaurs, why they are afraid of them, what a T-Rex looks like, or a story that involves a velociraptor – these are all fair game! With free writing, the goal is simply to keep writing with no interruption until the timer goes off. For a child who needs less direction, free writing as a prompt will allow an opportunity for unbounded creativity. Once the free writing session is over, encourage your kids to look back at their work and identify parts that could make for the start of a great short story.
Of course, creative writing prompts are just the beginning! Encourage your kids to write every day and come up with new and exciting storylines that allow them to express themselves. In time, they may come up with their very own prompts for friends and siblings!
Photo by Peter Rivera