Entries Tagged 'Holiday & Seasonal Ideas' ↓

Easter writing activities

Kids (and teens) can write testimonies and prayers or make a Scripture collage with these Easter writing activities

EACH YEAR, Easter brings wonderful reminders of God’s love and redemption, and the promise of new life and hope. Take some time this week to help your kids reflect on these themes with our list of Easter writing activities.

Write a Prayer

Elementary

Help your child start a prayer journal. Perhaps the two of you can pick out a new notebook from the office supply store. Maybe your crafty kid would rather make her own journal from paper, cardstock, and cloth she finds lying around the house. When the little book is ready, ask her to write her name and a favorite Bible verse on the first page.

Encourage your child to write an entry in her prayer journal every day. (Quiet times first thing in the morning or in the afternoon may work best.) These prayers can include specific requests or short lists of things she’s thankful for. During Holy Week, you might ask her to write different prayers that begin, “Dear Jesus, I love you because….”

High School

Ask your teen to write a heartfelt prayer that follows the model of the Lord’s Prayer. Begin with praise and adoration; continue with humble requests for physical or spiritual needs. Move into confession of sins, and thank the Lord for His forgiveness, strength, and guidance. End with a final expression of praise (“For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen”).

Reassure your older child that no one else will read this prayer unless he wants to share it. If he feels comfortable, allow him to read or paraphrase his special prayer at the family table on Easter Sunday.

Write a Testimony

Elementary

Ask your child to interview an older Christian, perhaps a sibling, parent, or neighbor. The child should ask to hear this person’s testimony—the story of how they gave their life to Christ. When, where, and why did this person become a Christian? When your child is finished listening and taking notes, he should neatly and concisely write the story down.

High School

Ask your teen to write his own testimony. Beside the basic facts such as when and where he gave his life to Christ, he should include other details that express the heart of his faith.

  • How my life has changed because of my relationship with Jesus Christ
  • Ways my life is set apart from the world and devoted to my Savior
  • How God has helped me endure ridicule or persecution for my faith

Make a “Good Seed” Collage

After a long, cheerless winter, the fresh buds and greenery of spring remind us how the Lord Jesus died and was buried and came back to life. Bursting with color, spring reminds us that a heart touched by grace can always be reborn.

Ask your kids to gather verses and stories from the Bible about seeds and plants. After they work on their lists individually, they can work together to create a poster collage of verses and pictures. This would make a beautiful decoration for Easter, and a wonderful surprise to send home with grandparents, aunts, or uncles!

The Bible abounds with verses and parables about things that grow! Here are a few to get you started:

  • David’s song about the man who is like a tree by rivers of water (Psalm 1)
  • The Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13)
  • Jesus’ teaching about the vine and the branches (John 15)

From our families to yours, may you have a blessed, joyful Easter!

WriteShop Blog--In Our Write Minds

Daniella Dautrich is a WriteShop alumna and a graduate of Hillsdale College. She and her husband fill their home with books on writing, literature, and computer science. Daniella also blogs at www.waterlilywriter.com.

Photo: Daren, courtesy of Creative Commons

Spring photo writing prompts

Excite a child's imagination with these photo-inspired spring writing prompts!

CHILDREN seem to burst with imagination this time of year. Don’t let them keep their ideas and stories locked inside! Inspire them to create wonderful worlds of fancy with these delightful spring picture writing prompts.

Mysterious Meadows

Many years ago, a delivery boy disappeared in this quiet field of flowers. The only thing he left behind was his faithful bicycle. What clues will you discover when you look deeper in this meadow? Where did the boy really go? Why did he leave his bicycle behind?

Excite a child's imagination with these photo-inspired spring writing prompts!

Locked in Stone

When the winter snows melted, the townspeople discovered a girl who had turned to stone. Write a story about this girl, using at least four of these words: spell, message, sunrise, water pitcher, shoes, twin sister, royal stables.

Excite a child's imagination with these photo-inspired spring writing prompts!

A Garden Guest

You wake up in a strange cottage and hear voices in the garden. Who will you meet along the garden path? What instructions will they give you, and what will happen if you don’t obey?

Excite a child's imagination with these photo-inspired spring writing prompts!

If you enjoy writing and journal prompts like these, be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays!

Photos: bm.iphone, Elliott Brown, and MAClarke21, courtesy of Creative Commons.

Valentine’s Day writing prompts

Kids will love these sweet writing prompts for Valentine's Day!

THE sweetest holiday of the year is just around the corner! We’re sure you and your kids will enjoy these Valentine’s Day writing prompts–complete with cards, chocolate, and flowers!

1. Around the World

Write a story about a Valentine card that gets lost in the mail. Write your tale from the Valentine’s perspective.

2. Sugar, Sugar

Imagine you are on a strict diet. List five ways you could avoid eating sugary treats on Valentine’s Day.

3. That’s Amore

Describe the perfect Valentine’s dinner date for your mom and dad. Where would they go, and what would they eat? Would it be fancy or casual? Describe the music, the table setting, the decorations, and the view.

4. Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

On the night of February 13, every last flower mysteriously disappeared from all the florist shops in town! As the most talented reporter for the Bridgeport News, you have been assigned to cover this story. Write the first paragraph of an article for the front page of the morning news.

5. It Takes Two

In poetry, a “romantic couplet” is formed by two lines with rhyming words at the end. Write one or two romantic couplets about someone who was born or married on Valentine’s Day.

Photo: Nicolas Raymond, courtesy of Creative Commons

Winter personification

How is Winter like a person? Invite your kids to explore personification with a fun winter writing activity!

This post contains affiliate links. Read our full disclosure policy.

ON frosty days, have you ever referred to winter as “harsh,” “kind,” or even “fickle”? This week, enjoy a winter writing activity with your kids and teach them to personify a season.

Personification ascribes human qualities such as thought, will, and emotion to non-human creatures and inanimate objects. Personification creates great fun for little ones (who hasn’t enjoyed reading about The Little House or The Little Engine That Could?). For teens, personification can be a handy literary device in their poetry or descriptive writing.

Get ready to gather your kids around the table and explore the possibilities of winter personification.

Step 1: Brainstorming

Ask your kids to imagine Winter as a person knocking at the front door.

  • What does she say? (She calls me outside to play. / She warns me to stay inside.)
  • What does she do? (Winter shows me a world of white, cold trees. / Winter builds sharp, dangerous icicles.)
  • What does she want? (She asks me to feed the birds who didn’t fly south. / She wants me to forget sunshine and summer.)

Step 2: Writing

Now that your kids are armed with ideas, it’s time to add details. Help your children write complete sentences with interesting sentence starters, strong nouns and verbs, and vivid adjectives and adverbs. Prompt them with more questions about Winter.

  • How does she talk? (With gentle whispers, she calls me outside to dance in the snow. / Howling from the rooftop eaves, she sends sharp warnings to stay inside.)
  • How does she act? (Winter pushes me playfully down the sparkling street. / Winter rules from a fortress of icicles and frost.)
  • How does she reveal her character or personality? (Together, we spread banquets for rosy cardinal birds. / I see her stern face, and she sends chills down my spine.)
  • How does she “look” human? (Her snowy gown trails behind her as she waltzes through the woods. / Winter wears a white fur coat and a crown of ice crystals.)

Step 3: Publishing Project

Crafty placemats are a fun way to publish your children’s writing at home. To make winter placemats, you’ll need:

  • Large sheets of paper or cardstock  (11” x 17” pieces would work well)
  • Stickers, photos, pictures of winter, plus glue sticks for collages
  • Scissors and white, blue, or silver paper for hand-cut snowflakes

With a pencil and ruler, lightly draw lines on the paper. Now your children can write their final sentences in marker or pen. Allow them to decorate the blank area with paper snowflakes, photo collages, magazine pictures, or sparkly stickers. Be sure to add the date and child’s initials in a front or back corner.

To preserve their finished work, have the placemats laminated at your local office supply store. Now the family can admire these winter personification masterpieces for the rest of the season—and after-meal clean-up will always be a breeze!

WriteShop Blog--In Our Write Minds

Daniella Dautrich is a WriteShop alumna and a graduate of Hillsdale College. She and her husband fill their home with books on writing, literature, and computer science. Daniella also blogs at www.waterlilywriter.com.

Photo: Andrew Magill, courtesy of Creative Commons

 

Printable Writing Prompt ~ January

The third Monday in January we remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his contribution to our country. In 1963 he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C.  After reading or listening to his speech, have your children write their own “I Have a Dream” paragraph.

Invite kids to write their own "I Have a Dream" paragraph. {Printable Writing Prompt from In Our Write Minds}

 

Click the image above to download the printable ”I Have a Dream” writing prompt. If you would like to share this prompt with others, link to this post. Do not link directly to the PDF file. Feel free to print this PDF file for your own personal use. Please do not sell or host these files anywhere else.

Be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays!

New Year’s resolutions for writers

Resolve to build and reinforce writing skills with hands-on activities for each of the four seasons.

JANUARY is the perfect time to set goals for learning and growing with our families. If your journey in 2014 will include writing lessons with any age, then this list of New Year’s resolutions for writers is for you.

Inspired by common metaphors and figures of speech, our playful list includes a lesson to be learned in each of the four seasons. Let the hands-on adventures in writing begin!

Spring: Resolve to Polish Your Writing

Spring cleaning rituals remind us to notice details, from closet doorknobs to dusty cabinets. When we take time to scrub, buff, and polish our belongings, we learn to appreciate each part of our home—and we begin to understand how all the parts work together.

Invite your children to help you polish wood furniture, hardwood floors, or heirloom silver. Ask them to describe the difference before and after their efforts. Then, the next time they turn in a dull piece of writing, remind them why we need to edit: if you polish your writing, you’ll make it shine!

Summer: Resolve Not To Cherry-Pick Facts and Examples

The summer months offer opportunities for enjoying hand-picked fruit. If possible, arrange for your teens to spend an afternoon picking cherries, strawberries, or other delicate fruits. Do they choose only the best and ripest specimens? Explain to them that while a basket of smooth, plump fruit is the most appealing, it doesn’t accurately represent the whole tree (or crop).

Through high school and college, your teen will likely write research papers on a variety of topics. Although it’s tempting to cherry-pick examples—to include only the most convenient evidence—it’s important to present both sides of the picture. A paper about a well-known author should discuss both the fans and the critics. A paper on historic events should weigh opposing, contradictory sources. Help your teen remember: When you cherry-pick examples, your readers lose sight of the whole tree.

Fall: Resolve to Encourage Late Bloomers

When the showy flowers of summer fade, fall gardens burst into new and beautiful colors. Pink and purple asters, warm heleniums, and goldenrod are just a few of the late bloomers that delight autumn gardeners and attract migrating butterflies on their journey south.

Mom of late bloomers, you might be tempted to give up when it comes to teaching writing. But don’t lose hope! Encourage your child by reading aloud, letting him dictate assignments, and trying different writing programs, such as WriteShop. Your child might be a late bloomer, but he will brighten the world in his own special time.

Winter: Resolve to Celebrate the Snowball Effect

Rolling down a white winter hillside, a little snowball can quickly gain mass and momentum. At the journey’s beginning, that fluffy snowball won’t have much to brag about. When it reaches the end of the long white slope, however, the snowball is really something to see and admire!

Look back on the past year and recognize the snowball effect in your child’s writing skills. Each lesson learned, no matter how small, builds on the last until progress is overwhelmingly clear. Celebrate the small successes and tiny achievements. Each one is building your child into an independent, well-equipped writer.

Daniella Dautrich is a WriteShop alumna who adores all four seasons.

Photo: Ann, courtesy of Creative Commons

Winter picture writing prompts

Kids will love creating stories of winter adventure and mystery with these photo writing prompts!

FROSTY, fanciful, and far-fetched tales delight the child in each of us this time of year. Let your kids create their own seasonal stories with these winter picture writing prompts!

Frozen in Our Tracks

Four sheep were enjoying a stroll through the meadow until a dark figure blocked their path. What does the  stranger say? Can he be trusted? Will the sheep help him find the one thing he is looking for?

Sheep in Snow

A Chilly Cavern

You and a friend have stumbled across a mysterious cave. The path inside has led to you to a frozen waterfall and a strange, rainbow-colored lake. Who lives here, and why have they allowed you to discover their world?

Frozen Waterfall

Brightly Shining

Every year on Christmas Eve, a light shines from the frozen lighthouse. Write a story about this mystery using at least four of these words: abandoned, compass, flag, reindeer, captain, pickaxe, baked beans.

Frozen Lighthouse

Photos: Matt Belton, Jedimentat44, and wsilver, courtesy of Creative Commons.

How to write Christmas shape poems

Help kids practice free verse poetry with holiday alliteration, contrast, and onomatopoeia!

CHRISTMAS themes make writing activities a whole lot merrier! If you’re looking for a poetry lesson with a holiday twist, then gather the kids for an hour of writing Christmas shape poems.

Last month we spotlighted rhyming poetry activities. Today we’re excited about writing free verse poetry. Free verse has no set requirements for the number of lines, syllables, or rhymes. Instead, free verse relies on lyrical phrases that trip lightly off the tongue when read aloud.

Christmas Shapes

For your child’s free verse poem, choose a simple Christmas shape such as a tree, star, or snowman. This will determine the shape of the poem. A strong-willed writer will need few guidelines to build her poem into a recognizable shape. If your child prefers specific directions, however, you should draw an outline on a blank sheet of paper. Use a ruler to fill in the outline with 8-10 straight lines. When these blank lines are filled, the poem is finished.

Help your child brainstorm different aspects of his Christmas shape. If your son chose the snowman, he might think of cold weather, colorful mittens, and imaginary friends. Now he has three possible topics for his Christmas shape poem. Using our winter word bank, he could expand with words like cozy hat, snow bank, or bare branches.

For poems with a specific Christmas theme, direct your children toward two different word banks, one focused on Jesus’ birth and the meaning of Christmas, and the other filled with words about Old St. Nick, holiday feasts, and trimming the tree.

Example: “A Mountain of Pine”

 

A

Tree

So tall

Strung with lights

Branches sag

Ornaments dance

A mountain of pine needles

Fills our home with forest fragrance

Children gaze at the angel above

Cats snuggle in piles of presents below

Purr

Poetic Devices

Without relying on rhymes, writers can enhance their free verse poems using a few other tricks of the trade. Help your child understand and apply the three poetic devices below:

Alliteration

Ask your kids to include at least one or two instances of alliteration in their shape poems. Adjacent nouns can create alliteration (“piles of presents”), or a noun and an adjective can achieve a similar effect (“forest fragrance”). If a completed poem contains no alliteration, help your child go back and find alliterative synonyms for existing words.

Contrast

Through careful word choices, free verse poetry can leave strong impressions on the reader. Help young writers create a memorable poem with careful contrast:

  • Contrast light and dark colors (flaming star / ebony sky)
  • Contrast small and large items (pea-sized button / floppy felt hat)
  • Contrast opposite actions (sag / dance; gaze above / snuggle below)

Onomatopoeia

Sound words can make any piece of writing come alive! Encourage your children to insert onomatopoeia into their free verse poems whenever possible. When it comes to a snowy gust of wind, a shy forest animal, or a melting icicle, sound words are a wonderful way to “show—don’t tell.”

I hope you and your children enjoy creating your Christmas shape poems! Who knows … maybe one will end up on next year’s family Christmas card.

WriteShop Blog--In Our Write MindsDaniella Dautrich is a WriteShop alumna and a graduate of Hillsdale College. She and her husband fill their home with books on writing, literature, and computer science. Daniella also blogs at www.waterlilywriter.com.

Photo: Dan McKay, courtesy of Creative Commons

Christmas music writing prompts

Children will enjoy writing stories, creating their own carols, and more using these fun Christmas music writing prompts!

This post contains affiliate links. Read our full disclosure policy.

THE joyful sounds of Christmas swirl through streets and homes each December. Church choirs, car radios, piano recitals, and holiday musicals will surely inspire your children as they respond to these music writing prompts!

1. All I Want for Christmas

Gregory E. Turbine wants only one thing for Christmas: a song. Where does Gregory live, and what does he look like? Why does he want a song, and who will bring it to him on Christmas morning?

2. The Little Drummer Boy

Imagine you are the little drummer boy who played a special song for baby Jesus. Write a letter to an old friend, describing your feelings as you approached the stable and met the Christ child for the first time.

3. Christmas Bells

Write a story about a silver bell named Jingle. Begin with this sentence: After five years in a stuffy old box, Jingle knew this Christmas would be different.

4. Write Your Own Carol

You have been invited to enter the “Create Your Own Christmas Carol” contest. The rules are simple: Choose a favorite Christmas carol tune and write new lyrics. If you need help thinking of words that rhyme, try RhymeZone, a free online rhyming dictionary. When you are finished, invite others to sing this new carol with you.

5. The Twelfth Day of Christmas

Miss Patsy Sweetwater has just received a remarkable delivery from her true love: twelve drummers drumming, eleven pipers piping, ten lords-a-leaping, and nine ladies dancing. Write the speech Miss Patsy will give to her new holiday helpers, expressing her delight and her grand expectations.

Be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays, and check out our Holiday and Seasonal Ideas for more Christmas-themed writing activities.

Photos: Mike (bell), Carlos Madrigal (drum), David Skinner (youth orchestra), and Prayitno Photography (Southern belle), courtesy of Creative Commons

Write letters to Santa, or make birthday cards for Jesus

Writing letters to Santa, Baby Jesus, and family members helps children appreciate the wonder of giving—and receiving—handwritten letters.

NOW that the Christmas season is here, postal workers and volunteers around the world are busy answering letters to Santa. Every year, these widespread efforts encourage children to appreciate the wonder of reading and writing handwritten letters.

Did you know? This year:

  • About 30,000 letters to Santa will be answered with a postmark from “Santa Claus, Indiana.” Children should send their letters by December 21 (be sure to include a return address) to “Santa Claus, PO Box 1, Santa Claus, IN 47579”
  • Over one million letters in more than thirty different languages will be sent to “Santa Claus, North Pole, H0H 0H0, Canada.” Each letter mailed by December 17 (with a return address) will receive a reply!
  • Santa Claus’s Main Post Office in Finland receives about 32,000 letters a day around Christmas. Letters from nearly 200 countries have found their way to Santa’s Village in the Arctic Circle:

Santa Claus’ Main Post Office
Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi
Tähtikuja 1
FI-96930 Napapiiri, Arctic Circle
FINLAND

  • In Germany, eight Christmas post offices in cities such as Himmelsthür (“heaven’s door”) and Himmelpfort (“heaven’s gate”) receive letters to the Christkind (Christ child). Other cities will receive letters addressed to Father Christmas and Saint Nicolaus. More than 600,000 replies are written each year!

This week, set aside time to help your children write their own Christmas letters.

If your family doesn’t encourage letters to Santa, one of the following Christmas traditions might be a better fit:

“Happy Birthday, Jesus!” Cards

Elementary-age children will enjoy decorating and writing special birthday cards for Jesus. To start, give each child a folded piece of green, red, or gold paper. Offer them different supplies to decorate the front:

  • Crayons and markers
  • Glue sticks and pictures cut from magazines or old Christmas cards
  • Stickers and glitter (boys usually steer clear of these, but girls love them!)
  • Pipe cleaners and cellophane tape to create tree, cross, or star shapes

When your children write the inside, encourage them to include:

  • A reason they’re thankful that Jesus came to earth
  • A gift they would like to give Jesus this year (being kind to a sister, spending more time praying, helping a neighbor, etc.)
  • A favorite Bible verse

Display the finished cards in your home to remind guests and family members about the true meaning of Christmas.

Family Christmas Cards

In olden days, large families and churches often hung Christmas gifts from the branches of Christmas trees. (Laura Ingalls Wilder recalls such a scene in her novel On the Banks of Plum Creek.)

Today, most of us prefer to keep wrapped packages safely below the decorated boughs. But my family still likes to surprise each other with something else in the tree branches on Christmas morning—handwritten Christmas cards.

Set aside an afternoon when your children can write secret cards or friendly letters for each of their parents and siblings. Make sure they write the recipients’ names on the envelopes. On Christmas Eve, allow them to place these little tokens of love around the tree. Our family liked to open cards on Christmas morning, before the flurry of presents began.

If your kids need ideas for what to write, offer one of these suggestions:

  • Write about your favorite Christmas memory with this person.
  • Write about something you admire in this person.
  • Write about the gifts you would buy for this person if you had a thousand dollars.
  • Write about your plans for New Year’s Eve.
  • Thank this person for the cookies they have baked, the lights they have hung, or the stories they have read aloud to you this Christmas!

Christmas cards and letters give children a chance to practice their hard-earned writing skills, from brainstorming to final drafts, from salutations to closings, from capital letter formation to paragraph indents. Help them discover that Christmas letters aren’t just an activity for moms this joyful time of year!

WriteShop Blog--In Our Write Minds

Daniella Dautrich is a WriteShop alumna and a graduate of Hillsdale College. She and her husband fill their home with books on writing, literature, and computer science. Daniella also blogs at www.waterlilywriter.com.

Photo: Zechariah Judy, courtesy of Creative Commons

 

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