Congratulations! You’ve started or joined a writing club. Now it’s time to figure out what the kids will write about. The topics are endless, which is both great and overwhelming. Here are some tips to keep your prompts interesting and enjoyable for your child’s writing club.
The number one thing to keep in mind while you’re creating prompts is to make sure kids will want to write about the selected prompts. This may mean you’ll need to tap into the deep recesses of your mind to remember the types of things you liked as a kid. Keep the topics purposely ambiguous, so that kids can insert their creativity and direction. Talk to your kids about the writing they do in school and why they like or don’t like it. This will give you some guidance on what inspires kids to write.
While you’re working on your list of prompts, here are some to get you started. Each prompt is full of fun and imagination, and also targets a specific, hidden writing skill. For more ideas, watch how our writers club reworked a classic play into an original production.
That Time I Was a Superhero
Have you ever imagined that you had super powers?
For this writing exercise we’ll need to use our imagination. Set a timer for 5 to 10 minutes and use that time to visualize yourself as a superhero. When the timer goes off, write about yourself, who you battled, and what super power you used. Be sure to write in past tense!
For kids who have a hard time coming up with a super power, talk about telepathy, telekinesis, or laser vision. You could also talk about a few well-known superheroes and their abilities.
Tip: Imagination Soup’s Melissa Taylor suggests using sticky notes instead of marking up your child’s paper. Write suggestions and corrections (in this case we’re looking specifically for past tense usage) so that they feel empowered to make changes on their own.
How to Adjust for a Writing Club: To adjust this prompt for a larger group, add a simple theatrical element. Have the kids act out their stories for the group—just make sure they start their story using some flashback device like waving their hands a la “Wayne’s World.”
Mini Mad Men and Women
Ever get an advertisement stuck in your head? What makes them so sticky? And what’s their purpose? They want to make us buy something!
Ad writers use many strategies to get us to buy a product. Three of the most commonly used are: Repetition, Bandwagon and Endorsement.
Repetition: repeating a claim or jingle over and over again
Bandwagon: showing us everyone is buying/doing it
Endorsement: having a celebrity or professional say they use a product
Your job is to choose something you love and create an advertisement for it. You can either act it out or create a poster, but you must use one of the three strategies above.
How to Adjust for a Writing Club: This is a great activity when you have kids in a group who have a variety of interests. Let the kids pick whatever they’d like to write about: a sports team, favorite snack, toy or video game. This project will also hopefully get them thinking critically about the advertisements they see every day. If you have access to a smart phone, have the kids film their commercials to watch together at the end of the session.
The world is filled with things—lamps, books, floors, dogs, cats, computers—but what is it that makes those things different from one another? For instance, a cat and a chair each have four legs. How can we tell them apart? Adjectives! One is hairy, soft and noisy when it gets hungry. The other can be hard or soft, sometimes make noise but is never hungry. Adjectives or describing words help paint a picture in a reader’s mind.
Now, let’s play an adjective game. You’ll need at least two players for this one.
- Take a piece of paper and tear it into four rectangles. Do this with several more sheets.
- Next choose an object. On each piece of paper write down one adjective that describes the object.
- Crumple up the slips of paper and pile them up to form a mountain.
Once you have your mountain built, it’s time for the second player to choose a ball from the mountain. Have them unfold the paper and read the adjective aloud, then try to guess the object. If they guess right, they win; if they’re wrong, they choose another piece from the mountain until they correctly guess the object. If the mountain topples, make sure you yell AVALANCHE!
How to Adjust for a Writing Club: Award players with ribbons for tallest mountain (player who uses the most adjectives), fastest climb (player who correctly guesses the object first) and best gear (player who uses the most creative adjectives).