We’re excited to welcome back Julie Petersen to Minds in Bloom today! Julie’s written a great post for us about fun writing activities for kids, so please read on and comment with which activities you want to try with your students!
What’s your style of teaching? Is it based on repetition? Yeah, that doesn’t work. I’ve tried it.
When I was a high-school student, I had a teacher who would give us a lecture and then have us repeat the most important things, one by one. It worked. I still remember the facts he taught us. I thought that was the most effective way of teaching, and I tried it with my first class. It doesn’t work. Not for these generations. They want something fun.
Yes – the students expect to be entertained. And we can use that to our advantage.
If I could make writing fun for my students, I believe I can encourage them to learn anything with that method.
They want diversity, and that’s exactly what makes teaching more fun, too. I’ve tried several writing activities that worked. These are the most effective ones:
1. Journaling for Beginners
For this activity, you’ll need to provide journals and colored pencils. If you can provide this for your students, they will be excited to do the task. If you don’t have the finances, however, you can tell them to use their own notebooks and pencils.
If your students still don’t know how to write, they can draw. The important thing is learning self-expression.
Tell them to write (or draw) what they did throughout the day. How they brushed their teeth, what breakfast they had, how they prepared for school…anything. It’s even better if you can encourage them to express feelings, such as happiness, excitement, anger, or whatever else they feel.
You can teach the parents how to support journaling at home, too.
When you assign homework, your students don’t see a greater purpose. Some of them realize that homework is important for learning and grades. That’s not motivating enough.
Cards are a real-life project with a purpose. Whenever there’s a holiday, you can use this method to get them to write and have fun while doing that. Let them design and write cards for Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and all other holidays.
3. Fill in the Story
It was a sunny day. The little tiger just woke up… He saw the _____________, and he said _____________. Together, they ____________________________. Then, they ________________________. They had lots of fun. They agreed to ________________________.
You’d be surprised to see how creative your students can get with few simple sentences. If you need inspiration, then you can get some worksheets with blank stories.
4. Drawing Words
How would you draw the Moon? How would you draw the word “precious”? Think of different words. They can signify items, but you should also let them play with abstract concepts, such as love or beauty.
This activity inspires writing because it helps the students understand the true meaning and importance of every word they use.
5. Birthday Messages
Whenever someone has a birthday, get the entire class to write a message. You can get a big piece of paper, where everyone will have space to write. You can also turn this into an art project, so the students will make it more beautiful.
The sentences can start with, “I wish you…” Let everyone express their message and appreciation for the friend.
6. Cut Out My Name
This is a great way to teach cursive writing. Get some paper and fold each piece lengthwise. Each student should write their name in cursive on one half, with the fold being at the bottom. Cut around the upper side of the name.
When you unfold the paper, you’ll get a symmetrical figure. Each name gives a different figure. What does it look like? A bug! Let them draw or paint on the clean side of the paper.
7. Chalkboard Writing
For this activity, you’ll need clipboards, chalkboard paint, a paint brush, tape, and chalks. Tape the clipboards on the sides, so you’ll get a nice frame for your board. Then, paint the middle with a coat of chalkboard paint. Let it dry, and apply a second coat. When that dries, you can remove the tape, and the chalkboard will be ready.
You can get all students to tape their own boards, and you’ll be the painter. When the tiny boards are ready, they can use them to write answers to your questions.
8. Write Your Own Tale
This is an advanced exercise. You can assign it when you’re sure your students can write. It’s fun because it doesn’t set a framework. They can write whatever they want.
I noticed that assigning essays or short stories traps a student’s creativity. They get confused. Some of them are so desperate that they turn to writing services. Since we don’t want that to happen, we have to prepare the students for essays and short stories by assigning more fun projects. Storytelling is the best! They all have stories inside. We just have to encourage them to express themselves.
9. Vocabulary Challenge
Pick a new word for them to learn. Think of something unusual. Explain the word. Tell them to use it in a sentence. Then, tell them to write a short story around that sentence. If you turn this into a team activity, it will be more fun.
10. Typing Challenge
This is the best one. Students have to learn how to type right after they learn how to write. There are great online keyboarding games they can try. Do you know what worked for my class? I showed them a typewriter. I let each student write sentences in a logical flow. One after another, the students wrote a story on the typewriter. They felt like real writers.
We, teachers, have to be fun. It’s a choice, but it’s the right one to make. With a bit of creativity and effort, we can make even the most challenging aspects of learning easy on them.
Julie Petersen is a tutor, a writer, and a blogger who features the latest career and educational trends in her articles. At the present time, she is running her essay writing blog AskPetersen.com and working on her first ebook dedicated to online learning. You may see Julie’s latest publications and contact her via LinkedIn.