On frosty days, have you ever referred to winter as “harsh,” “kind,” or even “fickle”? This week, enjoy a winter writing activity in your homeschool by teaching the kids to describe winter as a person.
Personification ascribes human qualities such as thought, will, and emotion to non-human creatures and inanimate objects. Personification creates great fun for little ones (who love reading about The Little House or poetry or descriptive writing.
This activity is ideal for elementary kids, so gather your children around the table. As you describe winter as a person, you’ll help them explore the possibilities of personification!
Do you homeschool a teenager? In Lesson 14, WriteShop I teaches point of view via a fun personification lesson! Middle and high school students learn to write a detailed, descriptive first-person narrative from the perspective of an object such as a toaster, lawnmower, or toothbrush.
Step 1: Brainstorming
Ask your kids to imagine Winter as a person knocking at the front door.
- What does she say? (She calls me outside to play. / She warns me to stay inside.)
- What does she do? (Winter shows me a world of white, cold trees. / Winter builds sharp, dangerous icicles.)
- What does she want? (She asks me to feed the birds who didn’t fly south. / She wants me to forget sunshine and summer.)
Step 2: Writing
Once your kids are armed with ideas, it’s time to add details. Younger children may need help writing complete sentences with interesting sentence starters, strong verbs and nouns, and vivid adjectives and adverbs. Prompt them with more questions to help them describe winter as a person.
- How does Winter “look” human? (Her snowy gown trails behind her as she waltzes through the woods. / Winter wears a white fur coat and a crown of ice crystals.)
- How does she talk? (With gentle whispers, she calls me outside to dance in the snow. / Howling from the rooftop eaves, she sends sharp warnings to stay inside.)
- How does she act? (Winter pushes me playfully down the sparkling street. / Winter rules from a fortress of icicles and frost.)
- How does she reveal her character or personality? (Together, we spread banquets for rosy cardinal birds. / I see her stern face, and she sends chills down my spine.)
Do you homeschool a 5th or 6th grader? In Lesson 2, WriteShop Junior Book F teaches an exciting Tall Tales lesson! Children learn to write their story using figurative language such as personification, similes, metaphors, and idioms.
Step 3: Publishing the Project
Crafty placemats are a fun way to publish your children’s writing at home. To make winter placemats, you’ll need:
- Large sheets of paper or card stock (11” x 17” pieces would work well)
- Stickers, photos, pictures of winter, plus glue sticks for collages
- Scissors and white, blue, or silver paper for hand-cut snowflakes
With a pencil and ruler, lightly draw lines on the paper. Now your children can write their final sentences in marker or pen. Next, allow them to decorate the blank area with paper snowflakes, photo collages, magazine pictures, or sparkly stickers. Be sure to add the date and child’s initials in a front or back corner.
To preserve their finished work, have the placemats laminated at your local office supply store. Finally, the family can admire these winter personification masterpieces for the rest of the season—and after-meal clean-up will always be a breeze!
Daniella Dautrich is a WriteShop alumnus and a graduate of Hillsdale College. She and her husband enjoy their sweet daughters and fill their home with books on writing, literature, and computer science.
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