Entries Tagged 'Writing & Journal Prompts' ↓
January 28th, 2015 — Holiday & Seasonal Ideas, Writing & Journal Prompts
The weather outside may be frightful, but these writing prompts about winter will take some of the chill out of the air. Let your kids pick a prompt. Before you know it, they’ll be imagining the perfect snow companion, writing winter poetry, or persuading you to let them take up a new snow sport. Note: These prompts are best served with a cup of steaming cocoa!
1. Frosty the Snowman
Most kids are familiar with the song, “Frosty the Snowman.” The first stanza tells us what he looks like:
Frosty the Snowman
Was a jolly, happy soul,
With a corncob pipe and a button nose
And two eyes made out of coal.
We also know Frosty has a magic hat that brings him to life:
There must have been some magic
In that old silk hat they found,
For when they put it on his head
He began to dance around.
Pretend that you and your friends are going to build a life-sized snowperson. Make a list of items you will use to make its face, arms, and clothes. What name will you give it? Does your snowperson come to life like Frosty? What makes the magic happen? What personality does it have?
Write a paragraph or two describing a day of adventure with your snow friend. For an added challenge, write a poem instead. See if you can get the second and fourth lines of each stanza to rhyme, just as in the “Frosty” song.
2. Winter Memories
What is your favorite winter memory? What word best expresses your main feeling or emotion? Focusing on that emotion, write a paragraph or two describing this memory.
Write an acrostic poem for the words “snow” or “winter.” Here are several examples:
S oft drifts
N ever-ending blizzard
O utside wonderland
W inter’s white blanket
W hirling snow
I cy nights
N oses red and cold
T oes all numb
E ating snowflakes
R ed scarf and mittens
W hite and silent
I cicles hanging from the eaves
N estling in patchwork quilts
T obogganing down smooth, whitened slopes
E xpecting snow tonight!
R acing on ice skates across a frozen pond.
4. Mild vs. Wild
Make a list of adjectives to describe a snowfall. Make a second list of adjectives to describe an avalanche. Think of words that describe how each one looks, sounds, and feels. Compare your lists. What differences and similarities do you see? Next, write a paragraph describing either the snowfall or the avalanche. Include as many adjectives as possible from that word’s list.
5. Winter Workout
You want to take up a new winter sport, but you’re not sure your parents will agree. Which of these appeals the most: ice skating, snowboarding, downhill skiing, snowshoeing, or tobogganing? Find out what kind of equipment you would need, and write a letter to your parents expressing three reasons why they should let you take lessons.
Feeling inspired? Be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays!
January 21st, 2015 — High school, Writing & Journal Prompts
Invite your students to choose one of these creative writing prompts for teens. Options include describing a personal experience as if it were a movie, developing fun poems or stories, writing about their first name, creating a story using only one-syllable words, or exploring point of view.
1. Lights, Camera, Action!
What kind of year has it been for you? What events and experiences marked your most memorable moments? Write about an event as if it were a synopsis of a movie, choosing one of these famous film titles as the title of your own “movie.”
- For the Love of the Game
- Family Vacation
- Home Alone
- The Money Pit
- The Sound of Music
- Wreck-it Ralph
- Field of Dreams
- Despicable Me
- It Happened One Night
Keep in mind that your synopsis probably won’t follow the original movie’s storyline! For example, if you just went through the coldest winter in memory, you might pick Frozen as your movie title. If you backed your mom’s car into a fire hydrant, Wreck-it Ralph or Despicable Me could make a good choice.
2. Writer’s Choice
Choose List 1, 2, or 3. Write a poem or story that uses as many words from that list as possible.
- List 1: brick, alley, broom, kittens, nervous, window, slam
- List 2: red, swing, squeak, envelope, gust, photo, exhilarating
- List 3: forest, jeep, gate, key, blue, rickety, wild
3. A Rose by Any Other Name
Write about your first name, choosing one, some, or all of the following questions to help direct your writing.
- Do you think your name suits you? Explain why or why not.
- Is there a story behind your name? Have your parents ever explained how or why they chose it for you? Write about it.
- What does your name mean? Do you think the meaning fits your personality, nature, character, or gifts/talents?
- Do you sometimes wish you could choose a new name for yourself? If you had the chance, what would it be? Why would you choose it? What would you want this new name to say about you?
4. A “Short” Story
Using at least 10 words from each list below, describe a scene or situation. Try to capture emotions along with sensory details of sound, smell, and touch. Your challenge: every word you write may contain only one syllable!
- Nouns: boat, swamp, boots, light, hole, splash, eel, night, shore, boy, dock, wire, stick, rope, reeds, noise, dog, pail
- Verbs: fall, drop, steer, slosh, seize, hope, reach, grasp, turn, hide, glide, howl, shake, chase, yell, laugh, lurch, leak
5. Putting Things Into Perspective
Describe a place from an unusual point of view or vantage point, such as:
- Your bedroom or den from your fish’s viewpoint
- A winding mountain road from a car’s point of view
- Your neighborhood from a hawk’s vantage point
- Your backyard from your dog’s perspective
- A grocery store from the point of view of a loaf of bread
- Your refrigerator from the viewpoint of a wrinkled old apple
- Or, come up with your own idea!
Looking for more writing prompts? Check out our extensive collection on Writing Prompt Wednesdays. Most months, we feature a set of prompts just for teens!
January 14th, 2015 — Holiday & Seasonal Ideas, Writing & Journal Prompts
This article contains affiliate links for products we’re confident your family will love!
Did you know there are hundreds of special days to celebrate every year? In addition to familiar ones such as Martin Luther King Day, Easter, and Father’s Day, the calendar is filled with plenty of unusual holidays too.
These writing prompts for January encourage kids to have fun writing about a few of this month’s lesser-known holidays.
January 14: National Dress Up Your Pet Day
People who celebrate Dress Up Your Pet Day dress their pets in cute or clever outfits. Imagine that you’ve been invited to design a costume for a mouse, turtle, elephant, penguin, or giraffe. Which one will you choose? Write about the outfit you will create, using as many descriptive details as possible.
January 18: National Thesaurus Day
A thesaurus is a reference book of synonyms (words with the same or similar meaning). For many years, students and writers have used the thesaurus to avoid repetition and weak vocabulary and improve the quality of their writing.
In honor of National Thesaurus Day, write a short story that includes these elements: ship, clock, storm, frog, shirt, bucket, discovery. After your story is written, read it carefully and circle any vague, dull words AND words you have repeated too many times. Look up at least five of these words in the thesaurus and find more interesting synonyms to replace them in your story.
January 21: National Squirrel Appreciation Day
Yes, there really is a National Squirrel Appreciation Day! Imagine that you are a squirrel who lives in a tree in John Crabapple’s back yard. Mr. Crabapple thinks you’re a nuisance because you chew on wires, monopolize the birdfeeder, and drop acorns on the roof. Write a letter to Mr. Crabapple in which you give three reasons why he should appreciate you.
January 23: National Handwriting Day
Writing by hand is becoming a lost art as more and more people rely on computers, tablets, and smartphones. National Handwriting Day is a chance to celebrate pen and paper! Express yourself in writing by picking one of these activities. Whichever you choose, use your very best printing, cursive, or calligraphy.
- Write a friendly letter or thank-you note to a grandparent, cousin, or friend. Don’t forget to mail it!
- Write in your journal or diary about something unusual or special that happened this past week.
- Copy a favorite poem, Bible passage, or inspirational quote. When finished, illustrate it, if you wish.
January 25: National Opposite Day
National Opposite Day is crazy day when everything you say and do is backwards. If you say you’re sad, you really mean you’re happy. If someone tells you to raise your right hand, you raise your left hand! You would sleep all day and stay awake all night, and you’d eat dessert first. How confusing! Write about three zany ways you could celebrate National Opposite Day. What would you do?
Looking for more writing prompts? Check out our extensive collection on Writing Prompt Wednesdays!
January 7th, 2015 — Writing & Journal Prompts
Our family loves to play card games! Have you noticed the wide variety of styles, artwork, and themes?
This month’s free writing prompt puts you in charge of designing the artwork for a new deck of cards. What would your custom-made cards look like? Sketch some samples and describe in detail the colors and designs you would choose.
For an extra challenge, see if someone else can design a card according to your description!
Click the image above to download the Royal Brush writing prompt. If you would like to share this free printable with others, please link to this post. Do not link directly to the PDF file. Be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays!
December 17th, 2014 — Holiday & Seasonal Ideas, Writing & Journal Prompts
Did you enjoy last week’s holiday writing prompts? If so, we have a new set of engaging Christmas writing prompts for your family! The kids can write about cookie-baking and tree-trimming, create a heartwarming holiday story, build acrostic poems about the first Christmas, and make plans to spread a little joy.
In the midst of the holiday frenzy, set aside a few quiet minutes and invite your children to choose a favorite topic from the list below.
BONUS: To score some major Mom points, serve up some hot cocoa and a plate of cookies alongside these prompts!
1. C is for Christmas Cookie
December 18 is National Bake Cookies Day. If you were invited to invent a new Christmas cookie, what ingredients would you include? How would your cookie look and taste? What texture words would explain how it feels when you take a bite? Write a mouth-watering description of your creation.
2. O Christmas Tree
What’s your family’s Christmas tree tradition? Do you tromp through the forest to chop down a fragrant spruce? Do you visit the tree lot at the hardware store in search of the perfect fir? Or does your dad pull a box down from the attic or garage rafters and assemble the beloved artificial tree?
Describe one of your family’s most memorable experiences choosing, setting up, or decorating the tree. To help bring your story to life, include emotion words as well as sensory words of sight, touch, sound, taste, and smell.
3. The First Noël
The French word Noël and the Spanish word Navidad both mean Christmas. Choose one of these two words, and write an acrostic about the first Christmas. Your composition does not have to rhyme.
New star in the sky, you have
Opened our eyes.
Every shepherd watches and
Listens to angel songs.
4. A Christmas Story
Write a story that takes place on Christmas Eve. Use as many words from this list as possible: homeless person, bakery, snow, family, street corner, Christmas carols, lost wallet, dog, shoe, brother, memories.
5. Joy to the World
American poet John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892) wrote a short poem that begins:
Somehow, not only for Christmas
But all the long year through
The joy that you give to others
Is the joy that comes back to you.
Make a list of 10 or more ways you can spread joy to others in the coming year.
Be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays!
December 15th, 2014 — Holiday & Seasonal Ideas, Writing & Journal Prompts
When December rolls around, I’m always thankful for the seasonal traditions our family has built and the memories they evoke. While I don’t have an official Christmas memories journal, I try to take time to remember and write about the moments and memories of Christmas—both present and past—that speak to my heart.
Merry Mealtime Memories
I think most of us will agree that many of our holiday traditions involve food! For over 25 years, my neighbors have taken turns hosting our annual cookie exchange, so December always finds me stocking up on baking staples, scouring cookbooks (and now Pinterest!) in search of new recipes, and baking dozens of cookies.
Our big family dinner is on the 24th, with a glorious turkey and all the trimmings. And no matter what else is on the menu for Christmas breakfast, we’ll always bake fragrant cinnamon rolls and pull golden, icy-sweet summer peaches from the freezer—the ones labeled “For Christmas.”
Decking the Halls
Decorating the tree is an event unto itself. It means recounting 40 years of memories as we nestle ornaments, both old and new, among the branches. No one—and I mean NO one—can place a single ornament anywhere till my husband sticks his ancient yarn Santa on the tree, front and center.
Among our treasures are Snoopy and Woodstock ornaments from our first year of marriage in 1975, Battenburg lace angels and bread dough animals handmade by dear friends, a red double-decker bus purchased in the UK during a visit to our son, and ornaments with photos of our kids and grandkids over the years.
My stepmom passed away just over a year ago, and as I cleaned out her apartment, I found boxes of my dad’s glass ornaments—ones I remember from my own childhood. Talk about a rush of memories! Faded and fragile, these treasured globes have found a new home in glass vases on our sideboard.
Celebrating the Christ Child
On Christmas Eve, we bundle up and head to our pastor’s house. Sleepy children in fuzzy jammies, sweet babies resting in their mamas’ arms, and families dressed in Christmas finery on their way home from a celebration—we all gather to hear the reading of Luke 2, worship together, and welcome the Christ Child at midnight.
Christmas Memories Journal Prompts
Each family has special traditions, from Advent readings to caroling at convalescent homes, from setting up manger scenes to making gingerbread houses. Have you ever written down the different things that make Christmas unique and memorable for your family?
If not, don’t let another year go by without capturing those memories. It’s not too late to start a special Christmas Memories Journal that you can add to every year.
With your children, take time in the next few days, before the last-minute crush, to write about the sights, sounds, aromas, and activities that make the memories swirl every December. One person can do the writing, or you can share the pen and let everyone write something. Optionally, tuck in photos, Christmas cards, ticket stubs from a play or choir performance, or other memorabilia to enhance your journal.
Here are 50 Christmas journal prompts to get you started:
- How does your family welcome the holidays? Do you do something special to launch into December?
- What are your family’s Advent traditions?
- Do you have Nativity set traditions? Where and how do you display the pieces? Describe what your set is made of and how it looks.
- What are your favorite Christmas books?
- How many Christmas trees do you decorate each year? Is each one different from the rest? Describe them.
- Record your Christmas dinner menu.
- Make a list of friends and family who stopped in to visit over the holidays.
- Have you ever had a Christmas mishap? Write about what happened! (For example, we can look back and laugh about the year our kids got coal in their stockings as a joke, even though it pretty much backfired at the time!)
- Do you get a fresh tree each year? Do you chop it down yourselves or buy it from a tree lot or farm? Write about your experience.
- When do you decorate your Christmas tree? Do you have tree-decorating traditions?
- Does your family put presents under the tree all month long, or do they all appear on Christmas Eve?
- Do you have a special Christmas stocking tradition? Are stocking gifts wrapped or unwrapped?
- Who is the first person to wake up on Christmas morning? What time does everyone wake Mom and Dad?
- What are you most thankful for this Christmas?
- Do you have special gifts from Santa?
- Do you leave out milk and cookies?
- If you don’t have a fireplace, where do you lay out the stockings?
- What are your gift-giving traditions?
- What is each family member’s favorite Christmas ornament?
- When do you start listening to Christmas music? What is each person’s favorite carol?
- Which family traditions will you keep when you are older?
- Make a list your favorite holiday cookies or treats.
- Write down memories about cooking and baking. Do you bake with others, or do you like to bake alone?
- What are your favorite spiritual Christmas traditions?
- What homemade gifts have you made for others? Received as gifts? How does it feel to give or receive this kind of gift?
- Do you give your pets Christmas presents?
- How do you encourage or bless those who are less fortunate than you are?
- Do you have a favorite Christmas movie? Do you have movie-watching traditions?
- How does your family decorate the outside of your house?
- What are your favorite Christmas smells?
- What was your most memorable childhood Christmas? Why?
- Do you go to church on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or both? Write about your favorite parts of the service.
- Is Santa Claus part of your family’s Christmas festivities? Tell about some of your family’s Santa traditions.
- Have you ever peeked at presents before Christmas? How did you feel?
- Do you host family Christmas celebrations at your house, or do you go somewhere else, such as your grandparents’ house?
- How do you spend Christmas day?
- What are your Christmas Eve traditions? Are there things you do every year, no matter what?
- Do you have a special Christmas breakfast? Is it the same every year? When do you eat breakfast?
- Does everyone take turns opening Christmas gifts, or is it a free-for-all around the tree?
- Some people get a special kind of ornament every year, such as snowmen, angels, rocking horses, or gingerbread men. Do you have an ornament collection or tradition?
- Does your family wear Christmas pajamas?
- Do you dress up or go casual for Christmas dinner?
- Some families open gifts on Christmas Eve and others wait until Christmas morning. What is your family’s tradition?
- Have you traveled a long way to celebrate Christmas in a faraway place?
- Have you ever been stuck on the freeway or in an airport on Christmas Eve? What was it like?
- Do you have a musical family? Write about the special role instruments and singing play at holiday gatherings.
- What are some ways your family remembers Jesus at Christmas?
- Write about one of your family’s most meaningful Christmas traditions. Why is it so important to you?
- Is there a traditional place you visit or an event you attend every Christmas, such as a tree-lighting ceremony, Christmas pageant, or holiday lights display? Write about it.
- Does your family celebrate holiday traditions from other countries? What special foods, decorations, or activities mark the event?
For some of us, it’s been a hard year, and Christmas may be bittersweet. As we celebrate the birth of the King, may your family times be meaningful and warm—no matter the circumstances. And may 2015 be filled with hope and promise for each of you.
What prompts about Christmas memories and traditions would you add to this list?
December 10th, 2014 — Holiday & Seasonal Ideas, Writing & Journal Prompts
As Christmas draws near, why not swap out some of your everyday writing for one or two holiday writing prompts? These four topics will encourage your children to write vivid descriptions, make a party-planning list, and write a story about generosity.
1. Up on the Rooftop
Imagine that your neighborhood is holding a Christmas lights competition, and you are in charge of decorating your house or rooftop with Christmas lights. What picture or design will you create? Will you use white lights, colored lights, or both? Describe the scene you will create, using as many adjectives as possible.
2. One Magic Christmas
What is your favorite winter or Christmas memory? What word best expresses your main feeling or emotion? Focusing on that emotion, write a paragraph or two describing this memory.
3. Party Planning
Your mom has offered to let you invite three friends to a holiday party. Brainstorm by making a list of ideas for activities, games, crafts, treats, and decorations your guests might enjoy.
4. Better to Give
Generosity is the character quality that imitates the Lord Jesus, who said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” In a paragraph or two, write a story about a generous person. Try to include as many of these words as you can: Christmas Eve, duct tape, knock, silver candlesticks, secret, mice, kitten, limousine, and apple cider.
5. The Trouble with Cookies
Apparently, Santa has been nibbling a few too many cookies. His little round belly shakes when he laughs, like a bowlful of jelly, and his elves are worried about whether he can slide down chimneys in his current state. Imagine that you are one of the elves. Write a letter to Santa in which you try to convince him to drop a few pounds. Support your persuasive letter with three reasons.
If your children have enjoyed these holiday writing prompts, be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays!
December 3rd, 2014 — Writing & Journal Prompts
Jingle is not your ordinary Christmas bell!
This little bell has spent the last five Christmases in a forgotten, dust-covered box. But this year, Jingle experiences something very different!
Click the image above to download the Christmas Bell writing prompt. If you would like to share this free printable Christmas story starter with others, please link to this post. Do not link directly to the PDF file.
Keep Your Students Writing This Christmas
Break up your routine or add punch and variety to holiday-season writing lessons by occasionally offering Christmas Mini-Builders. Use them in addition to or instead of a daily writing activity.
Looking for more ways to get your kids writing over the holidays? Come back next week for some great Christmas prompts. Meanwhile, browse our huge collection of writing prompts here!
November 19th, 2014 — High school, Writing & Journal Prompts
A reflective essay calls on the writer to express his or her own views of an experience.
Sometimes, reflective writing will ask students to think more deeply about a book, movie, musical work, or piece of art. Other times, the topics will invite them to reflect on a personal encounter or other experience.
These four reflective essay prompts for high school students are more personal in nature. For this activity, encourage your teens to choose the topic that speaks to them the most.
1. The Wind Beneath My Wings
A role model is a person you look up to—someone you respect or admire more than anyone else. Who is your role model? Your grandpa? Youth pastor? Coach? What have you learned from this person? Which of their character qualities or traits do you hope to one day have yourself? Write an essay explaining how this individual has influenced who you are today.
2. Can I Get a Do-Over?
By the time you reach high school, you have already experienced some of life’s ups and downs. You’ve seized some great opportunities and turned your back on others. Though you’ve made good choices, you have also made poor ones. You’ve both rejected and heeded good advice. Looking back, surely there are things you wish you had done differently. Write an essay sharing your most important piece of advice with a younger sibling or friend.
3. The Time of My Life
Have you lived or traveled overseas? Held an interesting or unusual job? Participated in a sport that challenged you physically and mentally? Think about an unusual experience or incident from your life. Write a reflective essay explaining how that experience has impacted you and caused you to grow as a person.
4. Picking Yourself Up
No one is immune to failure—scientists, authors, athletes, surgeons, and great leaders can all recount times of falling flat on their faces. Describe a time when you failed at something, and write a short essay explaining what you learned from this experience.
If you enjoyed these reflective essay topics for high school, be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays! Once a month, we feature topics especially suited for teens, such as:
Compare and Contrast Essay Prompts
Persuasive Essay Prompts
Expository Essay Topics
November 12th, 2014 — Holiday & Seasonal Ideas, Writing & Journal Prompts
As Thanksgiving draws near, it’s natural to turn our thoughts toward gratitude and acts of kindness. These five writing prompts about gratitude will help children and teens focus on contentment as they celebrate the gifts of family, friends, and creation.
1. Because of You
Invent a holiday to celebrate a person you love, such as “Aunt Laura Day” or “Papa Appreciation Day.” Write a paragraph expressing three reasons why you’re thankful for this special person.
2. Count Your Blessings
In what ways are you fortunate? Make a list of 10 things you are grateful for. Include people and things, events and experiences, both past and present. Each day, for the rest of the week, add 10 more items to your list. At the end of the week, you will have written down 70 reasons to be thankful!
3. For the Beauty of the Earth
God’s incredible creation causes gratitude to well up in many a heart. Think of something from nature that makes you feel close to God, and write a haiku poem about it.
4. Thankful Heart
Think about a time when a friend, relative, or total stranger did something incredibly special for you. Write a letter to thank them for that act of kindness. If possible, mail your letter of appreciation to this person.
5. The Secret of Contentment
It’s easy to feel happy when everything is going our way. But what happens when you don’t get everything you want? In Philippians 4:12, the Apostle Paul says:
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
Write a paragraph explaining how godly contentment compares to the world’s view of contentment. Use at least five of these words: grateful, selfish, jealous, possessions, loss, attitude, character, faith, friends, family.
Enjoy even more gratitude-themed writing activities!
Also, be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays!