Brainstorming ideas to inspire your children’s writing

Kelly Kilpatrick is joining me today as a guest blogger here at In Our Write Minds.

Light bulbWhen it comes to writing, sometimes the hardest part is just getting started. Letting children know that this is natural and that there are some ways around this problem will help boost their confidence and reduce frustration. There are many different ways you can get children off on the right foot with a writing assignment; here are a few tips to jumpstart the process for children.

Free Writing

The idea behind this process is to simply have children get started writing and not to let up until they have something to work with. Generally the process is timed, usually less than ten minutes so that they don’t get overly tired or frustrated. Instruct children to start writing anything and everything that comes into their mind, including any feelings of frustration they may be experiencing. This process is helpful in getting rid of excess mental baggage and bringing the better ideas up to the surface.

Sentence Starters

Depending upon the topic you would like you child to write about, you can create a handful of sentence starters to get them headed in the right direction. Have your child select one or two sentence starters to work with—or more. There will always be time to hone what has been crafted later. Always emphasize that writing is a process and that there are many different ways to get this process started. You are really helping them fill their “toolbox” with ways to deal with writing assignments in the future as well.


Creating lists is another great way to get writing projects off to a smooth start. Have children begin listing as many things as they can that are related to a certain topic. Once the primary list is completed, have them eliminate anything that doesn’t seem to fit. Now, have them list things related to the items in the first list. Before you know it, you will have a fairly workable outline with a little bit of tweaking. There are many workable options that can come out of listing, especially when children are guided through the process.

Semantic Mapping

There are many different options for semantic mapping, all of which allow your child to look at the writing process in a different way.  Diagrams and bubble maps are the most popular ways with which writing students use semantic mapping. You can learn more about this process by visiting this website. See other examples here and here.

© 2009 by Kelly Kilpatrick

Kelly Kilpatrick invites your feedback at kellykilpatrick24 at gmail dot com


  • Posted January 18, 2009


    Other ways are to ‘warm up the word’ by playing games such as shouting out 5 disasters for superman or how many ways can you think of to cross a river. With these you are looking for ideas that go above and beyond the usual, cross the river by sitting on the back of a glistening white swan. Jot down ideas and phrases that are really good and store them for future use.

  • Posted January 23, 2009


    Joy! Thanks for sharing these great ideas.

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