The Top 7 Ways to Incorporate Writing into Children’s Summer Activities
by Stephanie Steen, Ed.S.
It’s that time of year again: School is out and the sun is hot! Kids are busy exploring, biking, swimming, and occasionally reaching for their electronic devices. Am I right? Parents, encourage your child to develop their writing skills at the same time they enjoy their favorite summer activities.
Consider this: The Common Core State Standards require students to “demonstrate increasing sophistication in all aspects of language use, from vocabulary and syntax to the development and organization of ideas.”
Read on for fun and creative ways to weave writing into your child’s routine!
1. Sensory Scavenger Hunt
Send your child on a mission to gather objects of various sizes, shapes, and textures. Examples: pebbles, leaves, and sticks or a toothbrush, a book, and a shoe. Ask them to use all five of their senses (sight, smell, touch, hearing, and even taste) to describe the objects in detail.
2. Menu Creation
Ask your child to describe what they want for dinner. Tell them to create a menu that details the food in the most delicious-sounding way! Challenge: Incorporate all five senses into the descriptions (sight, smell, touch, hearing, and even taste).
3. Haiku Sidewalk Chalk
Explain the poetry form Haiku and provide a few examples. Pick a topic and challenge your child to a Haiku-off! Bonus points for scrawling the poems outdoors using sidewalk chalk!
4. Sports Language
Calling all athletes! Ask your child to list every word they know relating to their favorite sport. For example, goal, shot, pass, or punt. Then direct your child to write a story about a friend who teaches a buddy how to play their sport of choice. Take movement breaks often to practice putting words into action.
5. The Lost Language of Letters
Send a letter to a family member, a friend, or even a celebrity. Using organizational words like first, next, then, after, and last, your child will describe what they have been up to so far this summer. The more descriptive, the better!
6. Texting an Icon
Talk about the historical, political, or famous people you look up to or admire and ask your child to do the same. You may wish to pull up pictures of these people while talking. Ask your child to write a text message chain of their perfect conversation with their icon.
7. Creative Comic Strips
Reminisce about favorite or standout memories with your child. Ask them to select a single memory and begin sketching the memory one moment at a time. Encourage the use of descriptive dialogue to move the plot along.
Who can use these writing prompts?
These writing prompts are designed to be used with children in kindergarten through high school. Simply adjust the task to meet the needs of your child. For example, primary students require specific prompting and questioning and may rely more on verbal explanations and/or drawing pictures to demonstrate their thinking. As a parent, you can write their thoughts as they are dictated to you.
Stephanie Steen is an educator with over 15 years of experience as a high school English teacher, an instructional coach, a K-8 principal, and a director of MTSS and literacy.