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Activities to help with creative writing

5 Fun Creative Writing Activities

We’ve gathered five fun creative writing activities you can assign to spark a love for writing. Our hope is that these activities will create a workshop-like environment that fosters feedback and collaboration in your writing classroom.

You’ll notice that none of the activities focuses on the technical aspects of writing. Instead, the activities encourage creativity, reflection, and self-expression—hallmarks of meaningful writing.

Minilesson 1: InstaMemory

  1. Imagine a favorite memory as a cellphone picture.
  2. Finish this sentence starter: My memory snapshot shows . . .
  3. Keep writing until you’ve described your memory snapshot in full. Make sure to include who is in it, what is happening, where it is happening, and when it is happening. Note colors, emotions, facial expressions, and other visual details about the moment.
  4. Read your memory snapshot. Does your writing create a clear picture?

Minilesson 2: Back-and-Forth Stories

Writing back-and-forth stories takes a little creativity and a lot of flexibility. How long can you and a partner keep this story going?

An abandoned home sat at the top of the hill. Matt and Brianna knew the rumors about it, but they had to see it for themselves. They tiptoed their way up the steps, and when they reached the door, it swung open. Inside . . .

20 Creative Writing Activities for Elementary Students

Writing activities have an emotional toll on young learners, given the sheer volume of letters to learn by heart, words to spell, and sounds to remember. Your students will be more excited doing tasks they consider easier, such as character description. Perhaps it’s time you considered introducing fun activities to help the learners in their writing. Here are 20 of our go-to fun activities for creative writing skills among elementary kids.

1. Writing a Comic Strip

Create a comic book idea, leaving the speech bubbles around the characters empty for the students to fill. Alternatively, you can source the comic from your favorite magazine or author and rub out the dialogue between the characters for the learners to complete.

2. Mad Libs

Have the students copy a few paragraphs from a famous book. Ask them to erase words they wish to remove and replace them with a blank line. Under the space, the students should give a hint to indicate the required type of phrase or word.

3. Vocabulary Challenge

Select a new word for the learners and explain its meaning to them. Ask them to create a sentence using the new term. Tell them to practice writing an entire story based on this word.

4. Using an I-Spy Jar

Ask a reluctant writer to practice writing their names by fetching and arranging all the letters that make it. For an older writer, ask them to pick an object from the jar, redraw it and give a brief description of what it is or the scene.

5. Identifying Objects

This reading and writing game is suitable for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten-aged students. Ask them to color the object highlighted in the descriptive sentence. It enhances their fine motor skills, memories, and emotion.

6. Picture Dictionary

The goal of picture dictionaries will help early learners who are struggling with creative writing exercises and reading skills. Ask children to match the words provided at the top to the activities being performed in the pictures. This reading and writing activity can be developed for individuals, families, or the classroom.

7. Journal writing

Journal writing works for learners who excel in creative stories or drawing. Have your students engaged in daily writing tasks. For instance, what food did they eat for lunch or a boring character in a favorite piece of writing?

8. Roll a Story

Roll a story will have the learners enjoy rolling dice to discover the character or scene they will be exploring in their writing. Examples of a scene they can get include casino, school, or ancient pyramid.

9. Copy-writing

On a drawing paper, make a word entry and ask the pupils to highlight it with a paintbrush or crayon. These creative writing exercises’ goal is to enhance the learner’s artistic, emotional, and fine motor skills.

10. Pass-it-on Story Writing

This writing game engages the language input of creative writing classes. Write the first scene of a story on a piece of paper. Have the learners come up with a sentence that continues the story. The paper is then passed on to the next child until every student has written something.

11. Sentence Scramble Writing

This writing activity’s goal is to help children to improve their writing and sentence-building abilities. Ask the child to cut out the words at the bottom of the paper and rearrange them correctly to form a sentence.

12. Picture Writing Prompts

Creative writing prompts activities test not only imagination but also a learner’s ability to make conversation on behalf of characters. Provide an entry with a picture accompanied by 3-4 writing prompts to guide them in exploring the scene. A sample question for the scene above will be, “Do the lambs feel safe with the lion?”

13. Cut Out My Name

Help your kindergarten students in writing their names with this fun writing activity. Print out the learner’s name. Next, print the letters of the pupil’s name and mix them with a few random characters. Cut them apart and ask them to sort out the letters in their name.

14. Cards

Writing cards helps students to engage in purposeful moments. Provide the learners with blank holiday or birthday cards. Ask them to draw or write something to the card’s receiver. Alternatively, students can design their cards and write down the desired message.

15. Grocery List

Sit down with the child and help them write a list of healthy food items or other household objects you require. In the grocery store, have them cross out the items as they are added to the shopping cart.

16. Label a Diagram

Engage your child’s reading and writing abilities by printing out a diagram of simple objects such as flowers, insects, or external human body parts. Provide a list of the answers to the parts and ask them to write the word that matches each in the blank space.

17. Disappearing Words

On a chalkboard, write down a word. Ask the learners to erase the word with a wet sponge. This way, the learners will learn how to design the letters of the alphabet. Although this writing activity is the opposite of copywriting, they both serve the same purpose.

18. Write a Story Based on the Ending

Test your student’s creativity by providing them with writing prompts that focus on an entire book, a song, or a famous story. For instance, ask students to write a story based on the ending, “And they lived happily ever after.”

19. Found Poetry

Collect words or a group of words from a favorite story or song. You can either write them on a piece of paper or cut them out of a printed page. The overall goal is to rearrange the words differently to make an interesting poem with a unique writing style or genre.

The Best Creative Writing Activities for Engaging Your Learners

Great creative writing teachers are very passionate about literature, and because of them many of their students will continue to pursue creative writing outside of school. Those teachers also impact learners because of the great creative writing activities they use to get the students’ imaginations to run free.

Here are some creative writing activities and prompts that will honor your students’ imaginations. Let them free their muses to soar.

Creative Writing Activities to Explore

This terrific list of activities come from Marcus Roskilly in the UK:

  1. Free Writing—5 minutes to write on a “spark word” determined by the teacher. Then pair and share.
  2. Flying Balls—Bouncy Castle balls with an opening sentence written on each. Toss a random one to a student who continues the “ball rolling” with a further thought or another sentence on the first. The ball is then tossed to another student who does the same.
  3. Modelling—Show them examples of good, interesting writing. Key in on students’ interests.
  4. Character—Show random pictures of people from the Internet. Develop a character from the image using prompt questions provided by the teacher.
  5. Skills Lessons—Teach writer’s craft elements in chunks and focus on specific ones at a time. Examples are dialogue, developing setting, conflict, narrative point of view, etc.
  6. Music—Play low-volume atmospheric instrumental background music while students are working.
  7. Learning Outcome and Success Criteria—Helping them know and understand the goal or outcome they are striving for and where they are going allows them to stay focused.

Other Engaging Approaches

Here are some select creative writing activities from Caroline Swicegood:

  1. Life is Not Like a Box of Chocolates: Use the prompt: “Life is like a box of…” You fill in the blank and go from there.
  2. No-Send Letters: If you know you’ll never send a letter to someone of your choice, what would you write on it?
  3. Raising Voices: Teacher creates character names, ages, and occupations, and assigns one character to each student. They create a monologue for that character.
  4. Mixing Up Metaphors: Brainstorm overused metaphor phrases. Replace the last word of each metaphor with something creative and unexpected.
  5. Found Poetry: Camera scavenger hunt around the campus—locate signs, labels, notes, words and snap pictures. Compile pictures in class and compose poetry (or create a collage) using only those words.

Creative Writing Prompts

  1. “You’ve just reached your one millionth hit on your YouTube video. What is the video about?”
  2. “If you were to write the story of your life until now, what would you title it and why?”
  3. “What’s a question that has changed how you understand the world? What changed?”
  4. “Design your own three-and-a-half week course and describe what you would do.”
  5. “A good story starts with a good beginning. Get us hooked in the first 150 words.”
  6. “What one invention would you uninvent if you could, and why?”

Teachers who display an infectious passion for great creative writing can inspire us to great heights. They will know how to tap into students’ genius. It might take a simple interesting prompt that spurs their imagination.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.