Brainstorming ideas to inspire your children’s writing

Brainstorming Ideas to Inspire Your Children's Writing

Kelly Kilpatrick is joining me as a guest blogger today.

When it comes to writing, sometimes the hardest part is just getting started. Letting children know this is natural—and there are some ways around this problem—will help boost their confidence and reduce frustration.

You can use many brainstorming ideas to set children off on the right foot with a writing assignment. Try one or two of these tips to jumpstart the process.


The idea behind the freewriting process is simply to have children get started writing and not let up until they have something to work with. Generally, this is a timed process—less than ten minutes as a rule—so they don’t get overly tired or frustrated. Invite children to start writing anything and everything that comes to their mind, including any feelings of frustration they may be experiencing. This process helps kids rid their minds of excess baggage (I like to call it a “brain dump”). In doing so, it brings the better ideas to the surface.

Story Starters

Depending on the topic you would like your child to write about, you can create a handful of story starters or StoryBuilders to point them in the right direction. Have your child select one story starter (or several StoryBuilder cards) to work with. They can always hone what they’ve crafted later.

Always emphasize that writing is a process they can kickstart in different ways. 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 they’ve completed the primary list, have them eliminate anything that doesn’t seem to fit.

Next, ask them to make a list of words and phrases 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. Many writing ideas can develop through listing, especially when you take time to guide a child through the topic-narrowing process.

Semantic Mapping

Blogs and educational websites suggest 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 mapping tools. Learn more about semantic mapping here.

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.

  • Posted January 22, 2019


    have a jumble pile of word starters is sometimes a great way to kick start a writing project

    • Posted January 22, 2019

      Kim Kautzer

      I also love using words and sentence starters to launch a writing activity, Annette!

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