I don’t know what to write about! {26 writing ideas for kids}

What to write about

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Mom, I don’t know what to write about! Who among us hasn’t heard one of our kids make that complaint?

If you’re between writing lessons, need a pre-writing warm-up, hope to propel your children out of the doldrums, or simply want to mix things up a bit, look no further than this list of clever and creative writing ideas. Some offer topics that will coax stories or reports out of a reluctant writer. Several of our ideas encourage children to think outside the box, while others are simply vocabulary-building tools or lists that aren’t meant to become works of prose at all!

Do you have younger children, reluctant writers, or kids with special needs? Don’t hesitate to let them narrate their ideas if they’re not able to write independently. After all, writing is much more about the thinking process than about who actually puts pencil to paper!

26 Writing Ideas for Kids

1. Rewrite a familiar story. For example, change the setting or the create new characters.

2. Write a cento poem.

3. Copy a paragraph from either a fiction or nonfiction book. Replace weak or boring words with strong, more descriptive ones.

4.  Use guided writing to draw out ideas.

5. Make a bucket list of places you want to see and things you want to do before you’re old.

6. Write about a time you needed stitches, broke your arm, crashed your bike, or experienced a similarly exciting or hair-raising event.

7. Write your own math word problems.

8. Write a letter to your mom explaining why writing is hard for you.

9. Write a 100-word story.

10. Pretend you are an animal and journal about some of your activities.

11. Make a comic strip. Write speech bubbles for the characters in the strip.

12. Make or build something and explain the steps you followed to make your creation.

13. Invent and write about new uses for familiar items such as pool noodles, buckets, duct tape, or popsicle sticks.

14. Play sentence-building games.

15. Become pen pals with Grandma. Everyone loves getting “real” letters in the mail!

16. Act out a story using a variety of plastic toys and figurines while someone writes it down.

17. Think of one aisle or section of the local grocery or department store, such as Electronics, Sporting Goods, Produce, Health Care, Toys, or Garden Center. Make a list of things you might find in that section. See how many items you can add to your list!

18. Create a short report or story and turn it into a PowerPoint presentation.

19. When pictures replace certain words in a story, it’s called a rebus. Write a story, but replace some of the words with pictures to make your own rebus. You can use stickers, clipart, or your own drawings. You can find rebus examples at ABC Teach.

20. Instead of a written nonfiction report, make a diagram, scrapbook, brochure, mobile, flap book, or display board about your topic.

21. Make lists of items in different categories, such as vegetables, toys, or things found at the park or zoo. The list should include 5-10 items, depending on the child’s age.

22. Tell a story about one of your baby pictures.

23. Write a summary of a short book.

24. Use a story-prompting activity such as Rory’s Story Cubes or WriteShop’s StoryBuilders.

25. Tell about a place you visited recently. Explain where you went and what happened while you were there.

26. Have fun inventing silly or serious stories using a magnetic story-making kit.

Which of these ideas will appeal to your restless writers?

Photos: Carissa Rogers (boy writing), breakmake (child & flag), shelnew19 (broken leg), davidd (plastic ponies), courtesy of Creative Commons.

4 Comments

  • Posted 6 days ago

    Leah Courtney

    My younger girls love to write, but there are times when I get the, “I don’t know what to write about” excuse. These are good ideas! I’m stopping by from The Homeschool Nook Linkup, and I scheduled this post to share. 🙂

    • Posted 6 days ago

      Kim Kautzer

      Thank you so much for the kind words and the share, Leah! Hope your girls enjoy choosing from these ideas when the muse just isn’t inspiring them.

  • Posted 4 days ago

    Susan Evans

    I love these creative writing prompts. When kids can pick what to write about, they get more excited about their writing!

    • Posted 4 days ago

      Kim Kautzer

      That’s so true! I love finding ways to help kids own their writing. Thanks for stopping by, Susan!

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