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A writing prompt journal can be a great way to encourage your kids to write every day – regardless of whether your kid struggles with writing or loves it.
Why are writing journals so effective? A journal allows kids to be creative and have fun without the pressure that goes along with more formal writing. It’s an awesome way for kids to exercise their writing and creativity muscles.
By making a writing prompt journal yourself (and involving your kid, of course), you can personalize the journal and tailor the creative writing activities to your child’s particular interests. If you can make it special, your child will want to write and will be more interested than with a store-bought journal.
Daily writing prompts are fantastic for encouraging writing and can easily be used as a daily writing activity. Prompts also give your kids the chance to try out many different types and styles of writing.
If your child is a reluctant writer or a perfectionist, their journal can give them a chance to write without worrying about corrections. There’s no worry about a final product.
If you have multiple kids across multiple grades, a writing journal is something they all can do. You can even give them the same topic and encourage them to share their different perspectives. Even your smallest kids can draw a picture and write a sentence for their response.
You can use writing journals for independent writing time or for center time, freeing you up to have one-on-one time with other kids.
Create a Writing Prompt Journal
We recommend using a binder for each journal, preferably a larger one so that you have room to add to it as you go along. A binder gives you the flexibility to add and rearrange pages, and you can choose fun papers. You can find binders in many colors and with view pockets, so your kids can choose their favorites.
Make It Special
Make a big deal out of your kids’ writing journals! If your kids are more “makers” than “writers,” creating their journals can help get them excited about writing.
Let them help you create front and back cover images. They can either draw these on cardstock or create them using an online program and print them out.
Create an “About the Author” page. Let your kids fill out details about themselves and include pictures.
If your kids are really getting into the project, make a copyright page with dates and other info and use dividers to separate the journal up by months.
Give It Some Flair
Sure, you can fill your binders with lined paper and hand your kids a pencil, but that’s not very exciting or motivating. Start with finding some special paper. Choose fun colors and prints.
You can also print or create pages for all different types of creative writing activities. Include pages for illustrations, collages, cutouts, pop-ups, paintings, magazine clippings, and more. Use your imagination (and your writing prompts) to guide you.
In some ways, the journal can be a sort of scrapbook. You can include photos and mementos. For example, if your kids are writing about nature, you can add pressed flowers or leaves, or do some leaf rubbings.
You can create pictures prompts using photos, drawn or printed images, and magazine cutouts for picture prompts.
Include Different Types of Creative Writing Activities for a Writing Prompt Journal
One of the best things about writing prompt journals is that kids get chances to try out all sorts of writing. Many kids don’t like writing because they have only written in a couple of contexts. Your kids may discover a love for writing through one of these prompts.
Narrative writing includes much more than writing a story. Kids can also write a personal narrative (something that happened to them written in story format), create silly stories, and retell favorite novels or movies. It’s a lot of pressure to give kids a blank page and tell them to “tell a story,” so good prompts can be incredibly helpful here.
Expository writing is writing to inform. Kids get a chance to become an expert. You can create prompts around things your kids know, such as describing a favorite app or sport. Kids can also write directions or recipes. There are so many ways to get creative with expository writing.
Writing a Letter
You can start with basic letter writing, such as writing a letter to a friend or family member. Then, you can branch into more creative areas, like writing to a state representative, a favorite book or film character, or a famous historical figure.
Journals are a great place to record memories. You can start a prompt with “Tell about a time when…” or use a picture prompt. Paste in a photo from when your children were younger and let them write about what they remember.
There are many imaginative, creative writing prompts you can use. Kids can write about something completely new, like inventing a planet and its inhabitants or they can extend a favorite story by telling what happened to the characters after the ending. Kids can come up with an innovative solution to a problem or invent a new product. The possibilities are endless here.
Opinion / Persuasive
If your kids are like mine, they probably have some pretty strong opinions. My son could write a full essay on why oatmeal is the worst! What is your kid passionate about? They can turn it into opinion writing.
There are many different ways to approach an opinion essay. Kids can express and opinion and support it. You can also prompt your kids to persuade someone of something, like why you should buy them a new video game console.
One of my favorite ways to get reluctant writers to write is through lists. For some reason, lists aren’t as daunting as paragraphs. There’s a lot you can do with lists: top ten favorite toys, a grocery list for a favorite meal, ten places you’d like to visit, etc.
Need Help with Writing Prompts?
It can be challenging to come up with creative writing activities every day. If you’d like to have writing prompt ideas sent straight to your inbox, you can sign up for our newsletter.
You’ll receive a monthly journal prompt calendar with 12 months of writing prompts. These fun and engaging elementary writing prompts, great for morning work, daily writing practice, and centers.
The pack also includes a monthly calendar for reference and planning. Prompts include thought-provoking prompts, silly story starters, and seasonal themes (with no reference to religious holidays, so you can use with kids from any background).
These writing prompts take the guesswork out of your kid’s writing prompt journal and ensure that your kids have fun and diverse writing tasks to complete. Sign up for our newsletter to get started!
Hillary is a former teacher who went rogue and became a freelance writer. When not offering support and advice to homeschooling families, she tends to her own garden, family, and cat. You can connect with her on her website, homegrownhillary.com.