Friday, February 24, 2012

Ten Writing Challenges for Kids

Writing challenges can be one way to switch kids onto writing. Adult writing classes do this too. They ask you to "write a story with no letter 'f' in it" or "tell a story in six words". I believe this kind of prompt can work for some people, some of the time. They're definitely worth a try. Sometimes, by concentrating on the parameters of the challenge, we can unleash our inner creativity. I saw this work over and over with my drama students. If I asked them to choose any topic they wanted to create a scene about, they would spend ages arguing with each other or staring into space. But ask them to improvise a scene about a goldfish, a football player with a problem, and a cranky teacher, and Whoosh! They were immediately full of ideas.

Here are ten challenges that just might inspire some writing in your kids.

1. Write a story about a mad monkey without using "and" once.
2. What if you had a pair of magical, emerald-green, curly-toed slippers? Write about your first adventure without repeating any word twice.
3. Open a dictionary. Put your finger on a word. Do that three times. Use those words in your 49 word story about shopping.
4. Write a story about a wet cat, an itchy shopkeeper, and an umbrella salesman.
5. You look in your pocket and find a miniature unicorn. Describe it in 50 words.
6. Write an advertisement in 67 words for a product called Gloppo.
7. Describe the messiest bedroom you can imagine without once using the letter "m".
8. Write a 99 word letter to the editor, complaining about the children of today.
9. What if you had a pet potato? What would you call it? What would it look like, sound like, do, love to eat? Ask your friend to choose a number smaller than 100 and write this many words about your pet potato.
10. Change the words of a song you know to make a new one.

If you're interested in children's writing, you might like to check out some very popular articles here at The Book Chook, How Do Kids Write a Book Review, How to Encourage Kids to Write, Make Writing Fun - Guest Post, My (Almost) Interactive Prompt for Children's Writing, and Children's Writing - Write a Procedure. I also have a Creative Prompt Series which can be used for writing. You can search under the Writing button in my right sidebar. And one of my ScoopIt pages scoops up resources to do with children's writing.


  1. I love these challenges, especially no. 4. I only wish I'd been given stuff like that at school.

  2. @ElliMe too! Number 4 does sound like fun - putting elements that are really different near each other is a great way to spark creativity, I find.


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