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ON frosty days, have you ever referred to winter as “harsh,” “kind,” or even “fickle”? This week, enjoy a winter writing activity with your kids and teach them to personify a season.
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 hasn’t enjoyed reading about The Little House or The Little Engine That Could?). For teens, personification can be a handy literary device in their poetry or descriptive writing.
Get ready to gather your kids around the table and explore the possibilities of winter personification.
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
Now that your kids are armed with ideas, it’s time to add details. Help your children write complete sentences with interesting sentence starters, strong nouns and verbs, and vivid adjectives and adverbs. Prompt them with more questions about Winter.
Fantasy & Fairy Tales StoryBuilders
Printable Writing Prompt Cards
192 printable writing prompt cards start kids off with the basic elements of a story—character, character trait, setting, and plot. Even your most reluctant student will beg for StoryBuilders!
- 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.)
- How does she “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.)
Step 3: Publishing 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 cardstock (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. 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. Now 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 alumna and a graduate of Hillsdale College. She and her husband fill their home with books on writing, literature, and computer science. Daniella also blogs at www.waterlilywriter.com.
Photo: Andrew Magill, courtesy of Creative Commons