Entries Tagged 'Writing & Journal Prompts' ↓

8 out-of-the-box college essay topics

Out-of-the-box college essay topics to help teens practice prepping for admission applications. They're great "any time" writing prompts too!

These days, students applying to colleges of their choice face stiff competition. To help narrow the selection of applicants, some universities have come up with out-of-the-box college essay topics to see who stands out from the crowd.

From the student’s point of view, application essay prompts are often boring, but clever topics like these inspire creativity. So whether you’re brushing up your college essay skills or are simply on the lookout for fun or unusual writing topics, one of these quirky writing prompts has your name on it!

1. Seen Through Their Eyes

If any of these three inanimate objects could talk, how would your room, computer, or car describe you?

Source: Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley

2. Just As I Am

Describe one of your quirks and why it is part of who you are.

Source: University of Virginia

3. Ablaze

What sets your heart on fire?

Source: Villanova University

4. 140 Characters

Some say social media is superficial, with no room for expressing deep or complex ideas. We challenge you to defy these skeptics by describing yourself as fully and accurately as possible in the 140-character limit of a tweet.

Source: Wake Forest University

5. Back to the Future

You are required to spend the next year of your life in either the past or the future. What year would you travel to and why?

Source Brandeis University

6. The Man in the Red-Striped Shirt

So where is Waldo, really?

Source: University of Chicago

7. Just Say No

What invention would the world be better off without, and why?

Source: Kalamazoo College

8. Pot of Gold

What do you hope to find over the rainbow?

Source: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

If you enjoyed these college application essay prompts, be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays! Once a month, we feature topics especially suited for high school students.

Photo: David Masters, courtesy of Creative Commons

4 funny persuasive prompts | Writing with kids

These funny persuasive prompts help kids practice writing to convince, but instead of dull, ordinary topics, each one offers a touch of silliness!

Who doesn’t love a good laugh? A healthy dose of humor is pretty hard to resist. These funny persuasive prompts will help you practice writing to convince, but instead of dull, ordinary topics, each one is laced with a touch of silliness!

1. It’s a Cover Up

As a citizen of your town, you want to convince the city council that pets should wear clothing. At their next meeting, you will have the chance to state your case. Prepare an explanation telling why animals want to dress up, why the public wants pets to wear clothes, and what sorts of outfits pets might wear for different occasions or in various settings.

2. Dragon’s Lair

A dragon has made a nest in a large tree in your backyard, and the two of you have just started becoming friends. How will you persuade your parents to let it stay?

3. Extreme Sports

The Summer Olympics feature core sports such as archery, beach volleyball, and gymnastics, but there are always new events that ask to be included in the program. Invent a crazy new summer sport you would like to add to the Summer Olympics, such as underwater boxing, parachute biking, or camel wrestling. Write a letter to the International Olympic Committee in which you describe your sporting event and persuade them to consider adding it as an event in the 2024 Summer Games.

For extra fun, ask a parent for permission to use the Letter Generator at ReadWriteThink.org.

4. Go, Granny, Go!

While on vacation with your grandparents in Hawaii, you see an advertisement offering a 2-for-1 deal on a snorkeling or parasailing excursion. Make a list of reasons why your elderly grandma should do one of these activities with you.

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

By Kim Kautzer

Photo Credit: Louise Docker, courtesy of Creative Commons

Summer vacation writing prompts for kids

Summer vacation writing prompts that help kids imagine adventures digging up dinosaur bones, heading to sports camp, or planning a staycation!

Summer may be screeching to a close, but these imaginative summer vacation writing prompts can still inspire your children. Whether they’re floating in a houseboat or roaming the local nature center, real or imaginary summertime outings can be packed with adventure!

Kids will love to picture themselves zooming down a rollercoaster, working as a cruise director, digging up dinosaur bones, or heading off to sports camp. Each prompt is so much fun, they may want to choose all of them!

1. My Kind of School

This summer, your family has decided to take a “learning vacation.” Options include participating in a dinosaur dig in Utah, exploring ancient ruins in Rome or Greece, or snorkeling at a coral reef off the Australian coast. Which one would you vote for? Write about three things you would like to explore, discover, or learn about on this vacation.

2. House Float

Imagine your family will live on a houseboat for a week this summer. Write about four things you will do on this vacation.

3. Good Sports

Are you crazy about baseball? Is volleyball your game? Maybe you love sailing, soccer, or gymnastics. Imagine your surprise when your parents tell you they’re sending you to sports camp this summer! What kind of sports camp will you attend? Write a paragraph describing three skills you want to learn or improve while you’re away. Make sure to explain why each one is important.

4. Staycation

Instead of traveling this summer, what if your family decided to vacation at home? Talk with your mom or dad about fun places within 100 miles that you have never been to before, such as botanical gardens or nature centers; zoos; museums; historical landmarks; parks or recreational sites; sports centers; amusement parks; or community theater.

Now pretend you have visited one of these places during your “staycation.” Write a journal entry describing your day. Use your five senses to tell about what you saw, heard, and felt. Don’t forget to describe some snacks or meals, too!

5. Cruisin’ Kids

A cruise ship has hired you to be their Children’s Activities Director. Make a list of 10 or more crafts, games, activities, and special events you will plan for this summer’s cruising families.

If your children have enjoyed these, be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays!

Photos: miamism.com (snorkeling), Chris Cruises (ship), Alan L. (Coliseum), USAG-Humphreys (soccer camp), courtesy of Creative Commons

Free printable story prompt

Stir up some spectacular storytelling creativity with August’s free printable story prompt! Invite the kids to pick several words from the list and start spinning a tale of mystery or enchantment.

 
This free printable story prompt from WriteShop invites kids to choose words from a word bank and write a magical, mysterious, enchanted story!

Click the image above to download the Spectacular Storytelling free writing printable. If you would like to share this free writing prompt with others, link to this post. Do not link directly to the PDF file.

Check out our huge archive of prompts from Writing Prompt Wednesdays!

4 writing prompts for letter-writing fun

4 writing prompts for letter writing to inspire creativity and laughs as kids apply for a job in a candy shop or rebuke a naughty appliance

Whether your kids are applying for a job in a candy shop or rebuking a naughty vacuum cleaner, these writing prompts for letter writing will inspire creativity—and even a few laughs!

1. The Sweetest Job

Your favorite candy store is hiring children. Write a letter to the owner of the store explaining three reasons why you are the perfect person for the job.

2. Pet Protests

Pretend you are a family pet who wants more freedom. Write a letter to your owners in which you ask them to give you one or two new privileges. Make sure to give several good reasons for your request!

3. Wish You Were There

Think about a recent educational field trip or memorable outing. Perhaps you explored an amazing science museum, took the plunge at the local waterpark, went to a Civil War reenactment, or toured a potato chip factory. Write a letter to a grandparent, cousin, or friend describing your experience. Include at least three details about something you saw or did. When you’re finished, mail your letter!

4. You Shouldn’t Have

Have you ever held a grudge against the brush that pulled your hair or the vacuum that sucked up your shoelaces? How did you feel when a pen leaked ink on your favorite shirt or the toaster burned yet another bagel? Think about a time when an inanimate object caused you a bit of distress, and write a letter to this object to express your disappointment.

If your children have enjoyed these, be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays!

Photos: Steve Snodgrass (candy sticks) and Alexander Savin (envelope), courtesy of Creative Commons

More Minecraft writing prompts

Minecraft is all the rage. No wonder it’s getting easier to find Minecraft-inspired educational and writing activities to motivate your children!

Our last set of Minecraft writing prompts was so popular, we promised to come up with more. Now you can capture your reluctant writer’s interest with six new Minecraft writing prompts that encourage descriptive, narrative, and informative writing.

Capture your reluctant writer's interest with six new Minecraft writing prompts that encourage descriptive, narrative, and informative writing.

1. If You Build It

Use your imagination to design a Minecraft building such as a shop, cave dwelling, mansion, or theater. What will you design? How will you persuade others to come to your building? Make a list of 6-10 reasons why people will love this place.

2. Minecraft Scenario

After a terrifying shipwreck, you find yourself on a beach. You don’t know where you are, and it will soon be dark. What will you do?

3. Avatar Adventures

Write a story about your Minecraft avatar. How did you arrive in your world? What are some of your goals? Who are your allies?

4. It’s a Zoo!

You have been hired to build an enclosure for a Minecraft zoo. Choose a mob to live in your enclosure, and describe the enclosure you will build for them.

5. Tools of the Trade

Describe three Minecraft tools and explain how you like to use them.

6. Dear Grandma

Your grandma has never seen Minecraft, and she has asked you to help her understand it. Write a letter in which you explain what Minecraft is and why you enjoy playing the game.

Did you enjoy these writing ideas? If so, be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays!

Photo: Filter Forge, courtesy of Creative Commons

Creative writing photo prompts that tickle the imagination

These creative writing photo prompts invite kids to write imaginative, whimsical stories about mysterious and magical places!

It’s fun to take inspiration from a photo, especially when the image is unusual enough to tickle the imagination! Your children are sure to love these four creative writing photo prompts that invite them to write whimsical stories about mysterious and magical places!

1. The Butterphant

While on a walk through a blossoming meadow, you discover a mouse-sized elephant with butterfly ears flitting among the flowers. What is it doing? Are there others like it? Is it friendly? What will happen if you capture it?

These creative writing photo prompts invite kids to write imaginative, whimsical stories about mysterious and magical places!

2. Castle on the Moor

Use at least five of these words to tell a story about this photo: wind, balcony, window, dungeon, troll, treasure, knight, mysterious, lonely, rescue

These creative writing photo prompts invite kids to write imaginative, whimsical stories about mysterious and magical places!

3. Honey, I Shrunk Myself!

Who is this tiny man? Where is he? What is he taking a photo of? What emotions is he feeling? Write a story explaining what’s happening in this picture.

These creative writing photo prompts invite kids to write imaginative, whimsical stories about mysterious and magical places!

4. Toy Story

Day after day, these Pez heads sit quietly on display in the candy store. But when the store closes in the evening and the owner goes home, funny things begin to take place! What happens at night in the candy store? Write a story from the point of view of one of the Pez heads.

These creative writing photo prompts invite kids to write imaginative, whimsical stories about mysterious and magical places!
Be
sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays!

Photo Credits: Fiona McAllister (“Castle“), (“Pez“), Nathan O’Nions (“Viewfinder“), thethreesisters (“Elephant“) courtesy of Creative Commons

6 beach-themed writing prompts

These beach themed writing prompts will help kids make up stories, plan a seaside tea party menu, choose a crab's new house, or make three wishes!

Whether you live near the coast or far inland, nothing says “summertime” like the beach! Gather your kids around the table for some summer writing fun, using these beach themed writing prompts as a jumping-off point. They’ll love creating imaginative stories, planning menus for a doll’s tea party, or choosing a new home for a crab.

1. The House that Herb Built

Herb the Hermit Crab has outgrown his shell. In his search for a new place to live, he comes across a plastic cup, a tin can, and a large, empty snail shell. Which one will he choose for his new home? Explain your answer.

2. On the Morning Tide

On a morning beach stroll, you stumble upon an unusual item that has washed ashore. Write a paragraph telling what is it, where it came from, and whether you will keep it or throw it back into the ocean.

3. Ocean Overtures

Describe the ocean using all five senses. What color is the water? How does it move? What sounds do you hear? How does ocean spray feel and taste? If you have never been to the ocean, use your imagination! Or, with a parent, you can watch some of these short ocean video clips:

Waves Crashing on Rocky Beach

Birds Flying Over the Ocean

Thailand Sea

Sunny Oregon Coast

Turquoise Waves on a California Beach

4. Digging Deeper

Write a short story beginning with this line: My jaw dropped when a tiny voice at the edge of my shovel said, “Don’t hurt me!”

5. Genie of the Shell

At a beachside souvenir shop, you buy a beautiful golden shell. As you polish the shell to remove some crusted sand, a genie suddenly pops out to grant you three wishes! His only condition is that each wish must bless someone other than you. Who will benefit from your wishes? Explain what you will wish for, and why.

6. I’ll Have a Sand-wich

You are a restaurant owner who has been hired to cater a doll’s tea party. Create a beach-themed summer menu for the party guests using only items you might find at the seashore. Give each dish a descriptive name, such as “Mixed Seaweed Salad in Clam Shells.” Include each of the following on your menu: Appetizer, Soup, Salad, Main Course, Dessert, and Beverage.

Did you enjoy these writing ideas? If so, be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays!

Photo Credit: Bill Sutton, courtesy of Creative Commons.

Free Robot Writing Printable

Robots come in all shapes and sizes. Imagine you are a medical nanobot exploring the brain. What did you find? How did you get there? What did you see? Write down your observations on this month’s free robot writing printable.

Free robot-themed printable writing prompt

Click the image above to download the “robot-themed” free writing printable. If you would like to share this free writing prompt with others, link to this post. Do not link directly to the PDF file.

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

Writing prompts about books

Using books as a springboard, kids can discuss characters' personality traits, describe a main character, and persuade a friend to read a book.

This article contains affiliate links for books we think your family will love!

From wordless books to favorite novels, your kids’ reading can provide a springboard to book-themed writing activities. This week, let them take journaling inspiration from literature with these writing prompts about books.

1. You Have to Read This Book!

Some books are like best pals: we never get tired of spending time with them! Think of such a book—one you love to read again and again. Then, persuade a friend to read this book by making a list of 6-10 reasons why it’s so appealing.

2. No Words

Find a wordless book—one that has mostly pictures and no (or very few) words—and write a story to go along with each page in the book. It will help to ask yourself what is happening in the picture, how each character might feel, and what might happen next. Feel free to give the characters names!

Encourage kids to write a story that goes along with a wordless book such as Chalk.
If you have younger siblings, you probably have some wordless books lying around, such as ChalkGood Night, Gorilla, or The Red Book. If not, visit the library and look for one of the shorter books on this list of 10 wordless books

3. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

In fiction, the protagonist is often called the “good guy,” while the antagonist—the character who opposes the protagonist—is known as the “bad guy.”

In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, for instance, Aslan is the protagonist and the evil White Witch is the antagonist. In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the protagonist, of course, is Alice, who finds herself at odds with the cruel Queen of Hearts.

Choose a protagonist from a favorite book and explain how this character’s behavior and positive character qualities inspire respect or admiration. Then, think of an antagonist (from the same book or a different one) and explain what makes this character unlikable.

4. She’s Got Personality

Have you ever thought about writing a novel? If so, you probably already have ideas about the characters you might include!

Write a paragraph that describes your main character. Include details about this character’s appearance, personality traits, likes or dislikes, and a surprising or interesting fact about his or her background. If you get stuck thinking of words, you can find some ideas here and here.

Did you enjoy these writing ideas? If so, be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays!

Photo Credit: Kozzi
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