Keep Your Writer Inspired Throughout the HolidaysDecember 12, 2019
When the holidays start approaching, do your children start getting antsy? If all they want to talk about is the holidays, vacation time, candy treats, and snow, then this is the perfect time to have them write a creative story—not a short two or three-pager, a real story. Give it a try, and watch how inspired they become!
It Starts with the Theme
You know better than anyone; if your children aren’t interested in writing about something, they might not do a great job on their paper. But if they’re interested and excited about a topic, that can make a world of difference. That’s why the theme is so important for this creative exercise. Here are a few winter writing prompts to get your children started. Have them write:
- The story of the tree that no one wanted
- Lyrics to a brand new holiday song
- How they’ll spend the longest night of the year
- About what they’d do if they found themselves snowed in
- Their plan (with recipes!) for the best holiday meal ever
- The holiday memories that mean the most to them
- A comparison of holidays from around the world
Don’t just stick to these ideas though; be creative and have fun. Write your own ideas out on a board, and let your children pick and choose. They may come up with completely new and unexpected ideas of their own—just let them run with it! After all, the point is to give your children ideas they’re excited about.
Move Writing Out of the Classroom
Instead of staying at home and having your children write in their usual spot, change up the location. New sights, sounds, smells—they all help inspire different ideas. Try checking out:
- The local library. Your children will be surrounded by writing!
- The park. Even if it’s chilly, just being outside can be refreshing.
- A friend’s house. This can also be a great way to collaborate with others.
When your children leave their normal lesson area and mix things up, their imaginations will expand. You’ll be amazed at how many paragraphs can be written when surrounded by new or different places and things.
Take a Break Once in a While
It may seem counterproductive, but everyone needs a break. Your children need time away from writing to decompress and reflect on their stories. It doesn’t mean that the thoughts and ideas need to stop flowing though!
Have your children keep a small notebook with them. Whether at home or out and about, when they see something or someone they find interesting, have them jot it down for possible use in their story. Soon your children will be thinking about their characters, the settings, and the theme even when they aren’t “officially” working on their stories.
After the First Draft is Done
Once the first draft is complete, it’s time for your children to self-edit. You’ll want to have your children check their work for things like spelling errors, grammar mistakes, and sentence structure. Fair warning, this may get a little tense. Many children will think their work is fine and dismiss this exercise. Reassure them that editing is a good thing; it’s not a criticism of their work. Its purpose is to make it better! You should:
- Make a copy of the finished story. If your children used a computer, print out their story. If they used a pen and paper, photocopy it. By doing this, they’re not marking up their original as they edit.
- Have your children read their story out loud, sentence by sentence. This will help them concentrate on each word and hear how the punctuation works.
- Keep your children focused on one thing at a time. For example, have your children read their stories and check for spelling errors first, then read again to check for run-on sentences, and so on.
- Edit your children’s stories on your own as they’re self-editing. Once everyone’s done, compare the edits, make suggestions, and give praise and encouragement.
Your children may get frustrated, but teaching editing skills is important. Once the nuts and bolts are done, have your children think bigger. Maybe they want to expand the story, add another character, make extensive adjustments, or just small changes here and there.
The Finish Line
This is a long process and can be challenging, but it’s a great way to keep your children writing throughout the holidays. It’s also incredibly rewarding, especially when your children see the final results! Speaking of the final stories, consider having them printed, either as a gift for your children for all their hard work or as a gift they can give. That’s a memory that will last a lifetime!