When all else fails, you can usually extract some decent writing from your children when it centers on a holiday theme of some sort. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, here are some creative (and painless) ways to encourage your kids to write.
Vocabulary and Spelling
Hidden in Your Heart
Encourage vocabulary and spelling development.
Supplies: Purchase a package of pre-cut paper hearts, or cut your own from scrapbooking or construction paper.
Directions: On individual hearts, spell out one of the following words or phrases. Let your child find other words hidden within the longer word or phrase and write them down on a list. Older children can have a contest to see who can come up with the longest list of words.
- VALENTINE’S DAY: say, lend, vial . . .
- HEARTS: star, ear, rat . . .
- I LOVE MY FAMILY: mail, yam, live . . .
Short and Sweet
Messages from the Heart
Spread Valentine love throughout your home by hiding heart messages for your family.
Supplies: Hearts cut from red, white, pink, purple, and light-blue paper.
Directions: A day or two before Valentine’s Day, have the kids prepare and sign little love messages on their stack of hearts. You can make some too! Then, on Valentine’s Day, encourage everyone to play Cupid by hiding the message hearts around the house for others to find. Messages can be tucked into shoes, pockets, bedroom or kitchen drawers, in a favorite book, under pillows, in the toy box, or into PJs. Be creative! Everyone will have fun giving and receiving these little love notes!
Give your younger children some sentence-writing practice.
Supplies: Colorful hearts cut from construction or scrapbooking paper (or a purchased package of paper hearts), glue stick, large sheet of construction paper or sentence strips.
Directions: Write words your children can read without help, including family members’ names, color words, common sight words, number words, and other words they know how to read. Encourage your kids to form sentences from the words on their hearts, gluing the words to the construction paper or sentence strip.
I Am Loved
Help your children think of pets and people who love them. Ask them to complete this sentence, filling in the blank with a different name each time. They can write one or more sentences, depending on their age and ability.
I know ________ loves me because ….
Valentine Writing Prompts
Stimulate writing ideas by providing your children and younger teens with some heartfelt writing prompts.
- Write an acrostic poem using the word FRIEND, HEART, or VALENTINE.
- Make a list of ways you can show your love for your family members.
- Write a letter to a parent, grandparent, or sibling telling them why you love them.
- Tell about a time when you felt especially loved.
- Draw a picture of yourself and a friend or family member enjoying a special moment where you felt or expressed love. Write one or two sentences—or even a whole story—about it.
- Write a poem entitled “Love Is.”
- Write a paragraph or essay telling what makes someone a good friend.
- Write a paragraph or essay defining and describing love.
- Imagine a world where everyone loved their neighbor as much as they loved themselves. What would it be like to live in such a world? How would families and communities be changed?