3 writing activities pre-writers will love {free printable}

Writing Activities Pre-writers Will Love

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When children aren’t able to write independently because of age, reluctance, or small motor issues, there’s still plenty you can do to help them become writers.

Sometimes they amaze us with their ability to weave a story. Those clever little minds are fairly bursting with ideas! But since they can’t write yet, it’s up to us to capture their words before they become a distant memory.

Remember that your children’s speaking vocabulary far exceeds what they can write by themselves. By encouraging pre-writers to tell stories aloud, you make way for their creative ideas to bubble up and spill over. Don’t hesitate to let the kids tell stories just for fun, but any time you want to preserve their narration, simply write down the words as the child shares.

Here are three ideas to get you started.

1. Mom’s Story Basket

Strengthen thinking skills and creative vocabulary with a fun Story Basket! Fill a basket, empty cookie tin, or mesh bag with small toys and other items that are lying around the house, such as:

  • Loose, wooden puzzle pieces in the shape of vehicles, familiar objects, or geometric shapes {think toddler puzzles}
  • Lego minifigs
  • Matchbox or Thomas the Train cars, or other small vehicles made of wood, plastic, or metal
  • Small plastic animals, dinosaurs, water creatures, or insects
  • Finger puppets
  • Miniature doll dishes, utensils, doll house furnishings, and play food
  • Small dolls, doll clothes, and accessories
  • Sea shells and pebbles
  • Silk flowers
  • Costume jewelry such as beaded necklaces
  • Photos of family members, friends, or pets

Invite your child to choose several items from the basket and tell a story about them. If she likes, she can first create a scene using her items, and then describe the scene. Otherwise, she can simply make up a tale that includes each of the items. If she runs out of ideas, she can pick another item or two and continue with her story.

When she has finished, pick out some items from the basket and tell your own story.

For a fun twist, the two of you can take turns adding to the same story. Choose three items from the bag and have your child to do the same. Encourage her to begin making up a story. After a few minutes (or when she runs out of ideas), continue the story using your three items. Draw new items as needed and keep adding to the narrative until one of you is ready to wrap it up.

Variations on the Story-telling Theme

Instead of objects, try one of these fun card or dice activities to prompt imaginative storytelling!

  • Rory’s Story Cubes Kids love to roll the cubes and spin their yarns using this pocket-size story generator.
  • Tell TaleThis set of cards features images children will use as the foundation of their story.
  • WriteShop StoryBuildersPrintable writing prompt card decks include cards for characters, character traits, settings, and plots.

2. Wordless Books

Kids love to make up stories using a wordless picture book as a springboard. Curl up in your favorite chair and look at the pages together. Invite your child to tell you what’s happening in each picture. Mix things up from time to time, alternating new or unfamiliar books with old favorites. Here are a few fun titles to get you started:

3. Poetry Word Strips

Sometimes children learn to read long before they’re able to manage a pencil. An activity like this one, which allows them to manipulate word strips to create a poem, inspires and encourages reluctant students who aren’t confident writing the words by hand.

Download this free printable, print it onto sturdy cardstock (or laminate the page), and cut out the word strips. Then, let your young wordsmiths have fun moving the strips around to create little poems or sentences.

Free printable! Kids can manipulate these fun word strips to create a poem or special message.

Summer is perfect for taking a break from the same-old-same-old and trying something new. Carve out special time with your child, pull out one of these fun activities, and know you’re investing in a future writer!

Kim Kautzer | WriteShopKim Kautzer, veteran homeschooler and author, loves to help parents feel more confident about teaching writing. She is the co-author of WriteShop, honored as one of Cathy Duffy’s 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum. She loves English breakfast tea, the Sunday crossword puzzle, her eight grandkids, and traveling with her husband—but not necessarily in that order! Kim shares writing tips and weekly writing prompts at her blog.

2 Comments

  • Posted May 11, 2016

    Karen Doll

    LOVE this, Kim 🙂 ! My passion is creative writing/writing/pre-writing, etc. I too am a veteran homeschool mom and even though my 2 “students” are all grown up now, I continue to mingle with fellow homeschoolers by writing about home education topics. I love anything with even a hint of creativity…these ideas ROCK!!!

    • Posted May 11, 2016

      Kim Kautzer

      Thank you, Karen! You’re so kind to say so. I always appreciate your visits to our blog!

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