Entries Tagged 'Holiday & Seasonal Ideas' ↓
June 18th, 2014 — Holiday & Seasonal Ideas, Writing & Journal Prompts
Let’s face it. When you tell your kids you’re going on vacation, it usually means a road trip to visit Grandpa and Grandma!
Sure, you might spend a week at the beach—or even blow a wad at Disney World—but it’s pretty unlikely that most homeschooling families can afford to take the children to faraway places around the globe.
That’s what I love about today’s dream vacation writing prompts: they let your kids dream about exotic trips to places they may never otherwise get to visit. So, what are you waiting for? Pull out the atlas and set the kids free to do some armchair traveling!
1. Hakuna Matata
You just found out your family is going on an African safari! Write about four things you will do at your exciting destination.
2. How I Spent My Summer Vacation
What if your restful summer vacation turned into an unexpected adventure? Write a story about this crazy experience using at least five words from this list: roof, jewels, thief, trap door, popcorn stand, tourist, speedboat, bookstore, escape, camera.
3. Where in the World?
If you could travel anywhere in the world for a two-week vacation, where would you go? Write a letter convincing your parents to take you there.
4. Distinctive Digs
Imagine spending the summer in Great Britain! For your holiday accommodations, would you rather:
- Lodge at a restored English castle?
- Explore the Devonshire countryside from a thatched-roof cottage?
- Stay in a lighthouse on the rugged coast of Scotland?
- Sleep in a fancy hotel in the heart of London?
Explain the reasons for your choice.
5. Horsin’ Around
Your aunt and uncle have just invited you to spend a week at a dude ranch in Colorado. Make a list of 10 things you’ll want to pack in your suitcase.
Did you enjoy these writing ideas? If so, be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays!
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June 11th, 2014 — Holiday & Seasonal Ideas, Writing & Journal Prompts
This week, let’s celebrate Dad! With these engaging Father’s Day writing prompts, kids will jump at the chance to design a robotic assistant, craft a special award, plan a dream date with Dad, or make a Father’s Day card.
1. Father’s Little Helper
For a Father’s Day gift, you’re debating between giving your dad a robot that does outside chores or one that fixes broken things around the house. Which one do you think he’d rather have? Describe five chores this new robot will perform.
2. That’s My Dad!
Make a greeting card listing 10 reasons your dad is the greatest father in the world. Illustrate your creation with photos, clipart, or drawings. Seal it in an envelope and present it to him on Father’s Day.
3. Dad’s Dream Day
If you could surprise your dad with a special day, what would the two of you do together? Would you go fishing, hiking, or sky diving? Visit an amusement park or air museum? Race go-karts, play miniature golf, or try bungee jumping? Read and watch movies together? Think of something he would really love to do, and describe your ideal day. Don’t forget to include the pizza, burgers, or ice cream!
4. Best Man
Using a blank sheet of paper and colored pencils or markers, design an award to give your dad for Father’s Day. Include a motto or slogan such as: Superhero to one wife and four kids since 1998 or Best Pancake Maker and Paper Airplane Flyer. For added fun, fill in and print an “official” certificate for free from 123Certificates.com.
Note: Be smart! Always use the Internet with parent supervision.
Did your children enjoy these prompts? Check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays!
June 9th, 2014 — Holiday & Seasonal Ideas, Writing Games & Activities
This article contains affiliate links for products we’re confident your family will love!
Whether you school year-round or take a long break over the summer, it’s always a good idea to include activities that involve writing. Consider an out-of-the-box book report, dabble in writing across the curriculum, or try one of the following ways to keep kids writing during these hot and sultry months.
1. Book Journals
Since reading and writing go hand-in-hand, I hope reading activities are on your family’s list of summertime priorities! From time to time, invite your kids to reflect on a book (or chapter) they just read. This activity isn’t meant to be a book report. Rather, encourage them to choose one of these book journal prompts and run with it!
- I can’t believe ______ (character) ______ (did what). I think that was a ______ idea because …
- When ______ happened, it made me feel ______ because …
- My favorite character is ______ because …
- I have three questions about what I just read. First, I wonder why ______ .
- I would / wouldn’t like to visit the setting where this book takes place because …
- I would / would not recommend this book to ______ (name of friend) because …
- My favorite part of the story happened when …
- I didn’t like the part where ______ because …
2. Pen Pals
Help keep those letter-writing skills sharp with real-life pen pal practice! If your kids can’t think of someone to correspond with, consider these ideas:
- Does your child have cousins or grandparents who live in another state or country? Encourage them to develop a stronger relationship through letter-writing.
- Homesick soldiers love to receive and send mail! Do you know a family whose son or daughter is deployed overseas?
- Does your family sponsor a child through an organization like Compassion or World Vision? These sponsored children may not be able to write back often, but nothing brings them more joy than getting a letter from your kids!
- Does your church support a missionary family? Their kids would love to hear from home.
- Are you friends online with a homeschooling family in another part of the country? Find out if her children would be interested in becoming pen pals.
3. Writing Prompts and Story Starters
Summer is a great time for writing lighthearted, imaginative stories you may not get to during the traditional school year. When children have a terrific writing prompt, or the basic story elements are in place—such as character, setting, and some sort of storyline or plot—they’ll enthusiastically jump right in!
WriteShop StoryBuilders are perfect for this! The printable cards make great writing prompts and set kids off on a story-writing adventure with humorous or inspiring ideas like these:
- A reluctant moose travels deep into the jungle in a time machine.
- Everything goes wrong for the competitive gymnast on the miniature golf course.
- Disaster strikes while a nervous explorer is in a cave.
This should be a low-pressure writing experience for most children, but younger or reluctant writers may get stressed at the thought of “all that writing.” To keep things relaxing and enjoyable, let them dictate their stories to you as you write or type.
Story starters are even more fun when you write round-robin style! You can use any writing prompt, or you can try a different kind of round robin by downloading this free Round Robin Adventure printable.
How do you write a round robin? Start by giving each child his or her own prompt and set the timer. Every three minutes, everyone passes papers to the left and continues adding to the story in front of them.
When you think they’ve had enough time, announce the last round and have them wrap up the story they’re holding. Take turns reading the stories aloud and laughing over the silly plot twists each one takes!
Not every writing activity needs to involve physical writing! My granddaughters and I love creating oral stories using Rory’s Story Cubes. This activity encourages storytelling skills and artistic expression—and keeps everyone laughing as the plot takes silly turns. Voyages Story Cubes is a fun variation, and the Actions Story Cubes set adds 54 everyday verbs to the mix.
A bonus? Story Cubes are small and portable, making them perfect to tote along on vacation—and are especially ideal for occupying children on airplanes, where space is at a premium.
Writing Prompt Ideas
Finally, don’t forget that every week, on Writing Prompt Wednesday, we add another set of clever journaling and writing prompts for kids. You’ll find loads of fresh story ideas just waiting for summer picking!
May 5th, 2014 — Holiday & Seasonal Ideas
MOTHER’S DAY is the perfect time for children to show Mom that she is the family’s cherished queen. This year, why not give your kids some gentle hints that you’re hoping for the royal treatment? Start by making paper crowns to stash away for Sunday (and don’t be afraid to use felt or silk flowers if you’re feeling fancy!).
When it comes to handmade gifts, your kids are sure to love our palace-perfect Mother’s Day writing projects. Older children will need little more than supplies and ideas to create their original Mother’s Day surprises. If you still have small children, pass along these ideas to a grandparent, Dad, or older sibling.
Write a Royal Proclamation
One hundred years ago, President Wilson signed his Mother’s Day Proclamation to announce a new national holiday. Your children can write their own Mother’s Day proclamation with a fun medieval twist!
Begin by gathering a large sheet of paper, at least 11×17 inches. White butcher paper or light-colored, non-shiny wrapping paper would work well. Your kids will also need a thick black or brown marker.
The proclamations can include several items:
- Official opening such as Hear ye, hear ye! Let it be known throughout (street / city / state) that today is hereby proclaimed a celebration in honor of (Mom’s full name)
- List of ways the family will celebrate Mom
- List of gifts the family must present (hugs, kisses, kind words, cheerful obedience, cards, flowers, hour of alone time)
- List of things Mom is not allowed to do (specific chores, cooking, errands)
Attach wooden dowels or paper-towel tubes to the top and bottom of the finished proclamation (for easier reading by the town herald). Then roll it up like a scroll and tie it with a pretty ribbon.
Write a “Real-Life” Fairy Tale
Mother’s Day is a day to remember that fairy tales do come true! Encourage your artistic child to write and illustrate a story especially for Mom.
Provide your little storyteller with plenty of blank sheets of white paper or cardstock. Use a three-hole punch on these pages ahead of time. Also, use a ruler to draw several lines at the bottom of each page where the text will go.
For the illustrations, make sure your child has access to family photos, scissors, glue sticks, and plenty of crayons or sharpened colored pencils.
The story can go in any direction. Ideas could include:
- Traditional opening such as: Once upon a time…
- Wedding where the princess (Mom) marries her prince (Dad)
- Sparkling castle built just for the new queen
- Wardrobe full of beautiful outfits for the queen to wear
When the story is finished, tie ribbons through the three sets of punched holes to keep the pages together. Or, display the story in a small binder with a decorated cover.
Write a Royal Menu
Every Mom looks forward to Mother’s Day tea, brunch, or breakfast in bed. Encourage your family to set the table or breakfast tray with a custom menu that adds the royal touch! Here are some ideas to get them started:
- Use a rectangular piece of heavy cardstock for the menu.
- Write a fancy title, such as: Blissful Mother’s Day Breakfast.
- Write creative titles for each of the menu items, such as: Golden Nugget Breakfast Potatoes, Melodious Melon Salad, Enchanted Meadows Spinach Quiche, & Carefree Creamed Coffee.
- Design a decorative border around the menu with markers and stickers.
Whatever your royal celebration looks like, we hope you have a beautifully blessed Mother’s Day!
Find more Mother’s Day writing ideas here:
Daniella Dautrich enjoys writing, crafting, cooking, and making memories with her Mother.
April 14th, 2014 — Holiday & Seasonal Ideas, Writing Games & 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
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….”
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
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.
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!
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.
March 19th, 2014 — Holiday & Seasonal Ideas, Writing & Journal 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.
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?
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.
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?
If you enjoy writing and journal prompts like these, be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays!
February 12th, 2014 — Holiday & Seasonal Ideas, Writing & Journal Prompts
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.
January 13th, 2014 — Holiday & Seasonal Ideas, Publishing Project Ideas
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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!
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.
January 8th, 2014 — Holiday & Seasonal Ideas, Writing & Journal Prompts
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.
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!
January 6th, 2014 — Encouragement, Holiday & Seasonal Ideas
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.