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10 Writing Prompt Ideas for Kids

10 Writing Prompts for Kids_ My Little Bookcase

“I hate writing.”

It’s upsetting but true that parents and teachers hear this phrase all too regularly from children the world over.

I’m passionate about finding ways to make writing joyful for children. In past posts I’ve shared ideas for setting up an inviting writing space for kids, celebrating children’s writing with a book launch and overcoming children’s physical aversions to pen and paper with 365+ alternatives.

But, what about the kids who don’t know what to write, or the kids with too many ideas, or the kids who simply  won’t write because they’re too scared their writing won’t be good enough?

Below, I’ve shared 10 prompts to help children generate ideas for writing. The idea is to initially encourage kids to just write without actually giving their writing too much thought. Encourage them to feel safe to let their ideas flow without worrying about grammar, spelling, punctuation or neat handwriting.

While proficient writers will be able to record their own ideas, pre and beginning writers might need some help. Try:

  • Recording their oral storytelling with video or phone devices.
  • Asking your child to use pictures to tell their story.
  • Act as a scribe for your child.

10 Writing Prompts for Kids

1. Write about the EVERYDAY!

Arm your child with a journal or a camera and encourage them to record anything that captures their interest (e.g. a billboard, a man asking for directions, a piece of artwork, a duck crossing the road or a leaf floating down a creek etc.). Help them to take notes about what they see or observe (or take a photo to capture the moment or inspiration) while simply exploring your neighbourhood, walking to school or undertaking a special adventure. These tidbits of information become wonderful stimuli for writing.

Environmental Print_ Writing Stimulus. More ideas at My Little Bookcase

2. Lost and Found Stories

Invite your child to choose an item from a ‘lost and found’ box or from an Op shop and build a story using imaginary responses to questions such as:

  • Who does the item belong to?
  • When did they get it?
  • What did they use it for?
  • Where were they when they lost it?
  • How did they lose it?

3. Tap into books, themes and topics of interest

Build a child’s confidence in writing by asking them to write about what they know and love.

When you feel they are ready to be challenged beyond a topic area they feel comfortable, encourage them to experiment with a different writing style- try inviting them to employ or replicate the language or text structure of their favourite book in a story of their own.

Writing prompts for kids: Write about interests and strengths

4. Fill a Story Box (or Story Basket/ Story Bag)

Fill a bag with a range of items and invite your child to use the items as props in a story. Children can use all or just a selection of items from the box, depending on how many you placed there.

Items might include toys, pieces of nature, household items, souvenirs, school supplies, clothing, food packaging, and photos (the sky is the limit really).

5. Create Story Stones

Much like a story box, story stones provide tactile and visual stimuli for storytelling.  See this post on Little Golden Book Story Stones for more ideas.

Little Golden Books Story Stones by My Little Bookcase

6. Sentence Starters

Get your child started by providing them with a starting sentence; ask them to continue the story.

7. Prompt Cards

A prompt card gives a child a starting point for writing. It could be as simple as a word like the ones in this Storytelling Jar from Honey Bee Books, or they could be more specific by providing children with a setting, a character, a problem, a scenario or a question to answer.

Writer's Block- writing prompts for kids- available at www.child.com.au

We love our Writer’s Block set which includes over 150 visual and written prompts. It encourages children to write in a range of text types and Cammy just loves the lucky-dip feature. Some of our favourite prompts from the set include:

  • If numbers could talk, what would they say?
  • What would living in a triangle house be like?
  • What would you do if you were locked in a toy store all night?
  • Where would you go on a magic carpet ride?
  • What steps would you take to plan a birthday party?
  • What is the best toy to play with?
  • What if you had a pet monkey?
  • Describe the funniest looking animal?
  • What would you bring with you on a trip to space?
  • Describe life for a penguin from Antarctica.
  • What would you do without TV?

8. Recipe Creation

If your child likes to create concoctions (either in the kitchen or the garden), you can harness this interest; Ask your child to record the ingredients and method (and their imagination) by writing a recipe of their own.  Download our Mud Kitchen Recipe Book template or get more ideas on creating a recipe journal.

Mud Kitchen Recipe Book Template by My Little Bookcase

9. Letter Writing

Writing cards and letters to family, friends, and even imaginary or magical characters such as fairies or rag dolls is a great way to get kids writing. Children take a keen interest in others and become eager to hear back from their pen pals.

10. Puppet Theatres and Felt Boards

Setting up a simple puppet theatre, or a felt or sticky board provides an invitation for children to create a story, as it is an easy way to develop characters and dialogue. This might be a good one to record or scribe for your child.
Puppet Shows as Writing Prompts_ My Little Bookcase

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Writer's Block available at www.child.com.au

This post is supported by Child.com.au and may contain links to the online store.

About Jackie Small of My Little Bookcase


Book Review: Pig Dude- He Can Do Anything by Michael Wagner and Adam Nickel

Pig Dude by Michael Wagner

Meet Pig Dude.

He is the flavour of the month here and Ike’s new favourite book character. He really does idolise Pig Dude. In fact, it’s become common at home for Ike to call out, “Look Mum!” as he sidles down his nappy ever so slightly to show me the top of his bottom, “Just like Pig Dude,” laughing with pure joy and mischief.

In all honesty, I was mortified when Ike first pulled down his nappy. We were in The Little Bookroom just after a special school holiday storytime.  But I take no responsibility for Ike’s latest shenanigans. I completely and utterly blame author, Michael Wagner,  who inadvertently pointed out Pig Dude’s bottom on every page while he read to the kids!!!!!!!!

Michael Wagner at The Little Bookroom

Sounds dreadful doesn’t it? Quite the contrary actually. Michael is a consummate author and entertainer. He had the children, and their parents, absolutely enthralled. Children were eating out of the palm of his hand, laughing at every page turn as Michael read from his newest release, Pig Dude- He can Do Anything. And, as for Ike, if my kids are thinking about books and talking about characters, then I call that a WIN!

Pig Dude – loose pants aside- is far from an undesirable character. He is completely lovable. The endpapers tell us that Pig Dude had been abandoned as a baby and adopted by a loving mother who encourages Pig Dude to do anything. Filled with encouragement, Pig Dude sets out to fly, and actually achieves some degree of success.

Pig Dude-He Can Do Anything by Michael Wagner

The reaction of the children as Michael read the story proves that Michael is onto a good thing. He seems to genuinely understand what makes kids tick and what makes them laugh… boys in particular (without meaning to be stereotypical). But I must point out that girls enjoyed the book as much as the boys. Pig Dude is full of silliness and nonsense and unbelievable acts. They’re the kind of acts that have kids turning the pages of the book so quickly, searching for MORE.  In fact, if it was possible to capture slapstick comedy in a book, I’d say Michael has done just that.

Silliness aside; despite foiled plans, a careless flock of birds and a wayward arrow, Pig Dude forges on and demonstrates to our beautiful youngsters the values of creativity, self-belief and persistence.

This is essentially a book for early-independent readers. Short paragraphs, large font and coloured illustrations help it bridge the gap perfectly between picture books and chapter books.

Ike simply loves his signed copy.

Signed copy of Pig Dude

Book Details:

Author: Michael Wagner

Illustrator: Adam Nickel

ISBN: 9780994251718

Publisher: Billy Goat Books, 2015

Age recommendation: 4-8

AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE AT THE KIDS’ BOOKSHOP

Other (coloured) illustrated early-reader books we love:

The Boris series by Andrew Joyner

The Cleo Stories by Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood

The Little Rockets series (New Frontier Books)

Ruby Red Shoes by Kate Knapp

The Figaro and Rumba series by Anna Fienberg and Stephen Michael King

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About Jackie Small of My Little Bookcase