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The written word is a wonderful way to connect with others and is especially useful during this time when kids aren’t able to connect in person with their friends and family members. I put a list of fun summer writing activities together last year so I thought this would be the perfect time to share some new ideas of writing activities that kids can do at home as we head into the colder months.
1) Start a journal.
Give your child a diary, or even just a plain spiral notebook, and encourage them to spend just 10 minutes journaling in it every evening. They can write about their day, their future dreams, keep a gratitude journal, or just write about anything that comes to mind. You can even write back and forth to each other. (My friend Brandi from the blog Mama Knows It All wrote this journal for moms and daughters which I can’t wait to use with my toddler when she’s older!)
2) Write a pen-pal.
When I was little I had a pen-pal and it was so fun writing to someone that I had never had the chance to meet. When my kids were about 7 and 8 I wanted to give them that same experience I had but didn’t know where to find any penpals at so I put a call out to my friends on Facebook. Within a few hours I had a number of responses from people I felt comfortable giving my home address to. If your child is writing and it’s not legible yet you can encourage them and their penpals to draw pictures along with their writing to communicate that way. This is a great way for them to make new friends, learn how to communicate better, and learn about new places. Bonus: If they live nearby it would be fun to meet up eventually!
3) Write a letter to a family member who they haven’t seen in a while.
Since many children haven’t been able to see extended family members in a while, and might not be able to spend time with them anytime soon, this is a great way for them to connect. Kids can share what life has been like for them over the past months being stuck at home.
4) Create a fall or winter bucket list.
There are so many fun things to do during the fall and winter seasons so encourage your child to make a bucket list of all the activities they want to do and then see how many your family can cross off the list! If they are looking for ideas of things to include I have some of my family’s past bucket lists here- Fall Bucket List, 60+ Ideas For Fall Family Fun, and Winter Outdoor Bucket List.
5) Write out a script for a play or puppet show.
This may be the perfect way for older kids to keep busy. Have them create their own play! They pick the theme and create a story around characters they create. Younger children may have an easier time writing a short script for a puppet show. Make sure to pop some popcorn to enjoy while you watch their creativity unfold before your eyes!
6) Plan a family fun day.
Have children write out the itinerary for a family fun day. They can include what your family will be eating, where to go, or what specific activities they want to do. My youngest son loves doing this for his birthday every year as he plans his perfect day of celebration doing all his favorite things.
7) Write invitations for a virtual party or event.
Kids might not get to have parties and playdates like usual but they can plan a fun virtual event for their friends. Have them write invitations they can mail or drop off to people.
8) Make a packing list.
Make your (older) children responsible for packing their own suitcases for a trip to visit family, your next camping trip, or their backpack for a day trip. Have them create a list of items they need so they don’t forget anything important. Younger kids can help create packing lists as well but will probably need more help with them.
9) Create a shopping list and plan for a family party.
Have children help plan a small get-together or party for your immediate family if a birthday or special holiday is coming up. Enourage them to make the shopping list for all the groceries, decor, and items you will need and also have them make a quick list of things that need to be done as well. Kids are more likely to pitch in with cleaning or other chores if they are helping plan the party ;)
10) Write a book.
This is something I loved doing in school and I used to do with my pre-k classroom so it can be modified for kids as young as 4 who are just starting to learn to write. Blank books can be found at craft stores, teaching stores and occasionally I have seen them in Target’s dollar section. Here are my tips for this activity (which will span a few weeks): have children plan out the book first. They should think about the theme of their story and the characters that will be in it and then write it out on paper. A parent or adult can help edit or you may choose to let the child do it on their own and let the spelling/grammar be (I prefer to do it the second way). The next step is to figure out how to break the story up into pages so they might need an adult to help them do that. This is not such an issue for shorter stories but if they have a longer story this is important so they don’t run out of pages before the story is over. Make sure to leave space for pictures as well! The last step is creating the final book. Do the cover in pencil and then go over it with marker, make the title page and then the children can transfer the story from paper to the book page by page. This is a long process but the final product is something the kids will want to hang on to for years to come!
11) Start a nature journal.
Follow these easy instructions to make a nature journal and then explore your backyard and neighborhood while your kids journal what they see. Nature walks are a great way to get some fresh air while kids learn about the world around them and fall is the best time to explore with all the beautiful Autumn colors around.
12) Make a card for a loved one or friend.
Instead of buying a card for an upcoming birthday or holiday have your child create their own. It’s always nice to receive handmade things and they are a lot cheaper, too. (Here’s a cute kid’s cardmaking kit!)
13) Create a recipe.
Have a little one who loves to help you in the kitchen? Have them create a recipe of their own! They can recreate their favorite fall treat or create a brand new dish. Make sure they write the ingredients and directions and then you can make it together for the family to enjoy. Here are some spooktacular fall treats for kids, many of which are easy and don’t require a lot of ingredients.
14) Make a treasure map.
Have your child hide something in your home or backyard and then draw a treasure map for family members to find it. Instead of just pictures, they can label the items on their treasure map.
15) Write to get published.
There is nothing more exciting for a young writer than seeing their name in print! Enourage your child to submit their writing to different writing competitions and contests. Here’s a list of writing competitions for 2020 along with tips for kids on how to submit their writing.
16) Create your own board game.
Board games are perfect for cool fall and winter days so what would be more fun than creating a game of their own? Children can label things on the game board and also write out instructions so others can play their game. If they really enjoy this I’d suggest they enter the Young Inventor Challenge they have at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair. Partnering with the fair for years has given me the opportunity to meet dozens of young inventors and it’s always amazing to see what they create. This year the fair is all virtual and more details can be found here.
17) Do a Mad Libs book or create a Mad Libs story.
Remember Mad Libs? If not, here is a reminder- http://www.madlibs.com/. These books were so fun when we were younger and they are definetely something fun to introduce to your kids if they haven’t seen them yet! Someone asks you for random words and they read the story back to you with the words you chose in the spaces. They have lots of themed books nowadays but if you have an older child they may want to create one of their own mad libs stories and then ask family members to fill in the blanks. Here’s a fun Halloween themed Mad Libs they can fill in themselves, too!
18) Make a daily schedule.
I’ve found that things normally run smoother when we have a schedule, even more so now that we are spending more time at home. Develop a daily schedule with your children and have them write it down. Things to include: snack, outdoor time, reading time, quiet time, meals, story time, homework, and other bedtime routines.
19) Write thank you notes.
Kids can write thank you notes for gifts they have received, a thank you to a friend for helping with something, a note to their teachers thanking them for everything they do, or to a community worker like your local postal worker.
20) Play a name game.
Have children write their full names on paper and then see how many words they can make out of it. They can do this for everyone’s name in their family, the titles of their favorite books, or really any set of words they want. To make it more fun they can play against someone to see who can create the most words.
21) Write a letter to save the environment.
Have a little environmentalist? Have them write a letter to their representative about an environmental topic they are passionate about, whether it’s saving endangered animals, conserving water, or global warming.
22) Build a town for barbies or cars.
Children can use boxes, paper or chalk outside on the sidewalk to build a town for their cars or barbies and then can have their toys “visit” the places. They can practice writing when making the road signs and labeling the places. This led to hours of fun when I was a little girl playing with barbies and my boys had fun doing this with their cars when they were younger. Their “town” included a car wash, bank, movie theater, and jail.
23) Make a list of movies to see or books to read.
My kids always tell me what movies they want to see or books they want to read next. Have them create a list so next time you have a family movie night or are picking up books from the library you can remember what movies and books they wanted to check out. I have lists for Halloween family-friendly movies to stream on Amazon Prime and throwback movies to watch with kids to get them started on their movie lists!