Writing warm-ups

Imagination

There’s nothing quite like a writing warm-up or game to put some fun into writing and get the creative juices flowing. Whether you’re teaching young children or teens, writing games serve an important purpose in the writing process.

Spend five or ten minutes a day gearing your kids up for writing with some of these enticing activities!

Five-Word Stories

This is a great group activity to play with several children at home or with a co-op or class group.

Directions: Each person begins with a 5-word prompt and then adds exactly five words of his own. Pass papers in a circle. Each time the papers are passed, players add exactly five words to the story in front of them in round-robin style. When you’re ready to wrap things up, tell the kids to begin bringing their stories to a close. Finally, pass the papers one last time so players can add their last five words to the ending.

Five-word story prompt ideas

  • Once upon a time there . . .
  • The mystery began when the . . .
  • In a kingdom far away . . .
  • Once, long ago, a tiny . . .
  • Last week, while digging in . . .
  • Today was far from normal!

Word Association

Another fun family or group exercise!

Directions: Each person begins by writing a word on a piece of paper. When you exchange papers. Read the word the other person wrote and write down the very first word that comes to mind. Don’t think, just write! Keep exchanging and adding to the list! Here’s one we did with our family. See how each word connects to the next?

    dog – Casey – baseball – diamond – sparkling – cider – apple – pie – sky – clouds – storm – thunder – lightning – flash – Gordon

Unrelated Words Game

Directions: Write two unrelated words on a white board such as fish and trampoline or stapler and zucchini. Ask your kids to write sentences using both words. Repeat several times.

For older kids, write up to ten unrelated words and have them create a silly story using as many of the words as possible. 

Messing with Modifiers

This is a great vocabulary-building exercise for all ages.  Don’t think this activity is beneath your teenagers! The thesaurus will help them come up with some challenging, advanced word choices.

Directions: Ask students to write the letters of the alphabet down the side of a sheet of lined paper. Next, have them leave a blank space followed by a noun that begins with each letter. Finally, tell them to go back and add an adjective in front of each noun. If you want to give points, add an extra point for alliteration (using the letter of the alphabet for both the noun and the adjective).

Example (younger child)

    A – _______ apple
    B – _______ beaver
    C – _______ cat
    A – crunchy apple
    B – busy beaver (extra point for alliteration – b/b)
    C – purring cat

Example (older student) 

    A – _______ argument
    B – _______ borrower
    C – _______ collection
    A – abstract argument (extra point for alliteration – a/a)
    B – delinquent borrower
    C – haphazard collection

These activities barely scratch the surface of the wealth of pre-writing games you can use to tickle your kids’ writing fancy. I’ll post more in a week or two!

Meanwhile, you’ll be happy to know that both WriteShop Primary and WriteShop I and II include pre-writing activities to enhance each lesson. With September just around the corner, order soon so you have time to get acquainted with your new materials!

Related Posts with Thumbnails

5 comments ↓

#1 Darren on 05.08.09 at 7:40 pm

Hey Kim,

I like your blog and you’ve got some great writing warm-ups that I plan to use in a short writing course I am planning at my school. Thanks.

Darren

#2 Riss on 03.16.10 at 7:48 am

Hi Kim,

These ideas are so great! My students really enjoy doing these.

#3 Kim on 03.16.10 at 9:34 am

They are a lot of fun, aren’t they? Glad you’re enjoying them!

#4 Sabrina on 02.08.11 at 6:16 pm

thanks for these ideas!

#5 Kim on 02.08.11 at 6:22 pm

Glad you stopped by, Sabrina!

Leave a Comment