Make a Menu
Let your child design and write the menu for a family dinner while you do the cooking. Write difficult words for them to copy, or let them look up words in a dictionary. This activity can be done on art paper with gel pens, or on a word processing program. A related idea is the Food Critic Restaurant Review from Scholastic.
Let your child write the grocery list as you dictate what you need from the store. This is a good way to keep her occupied while waiting to go to the store and to help her develop a sense of responsibility for household activities. Children can also write lists to pack for a trip, plan a busy week, and prepare for back-to-school or holidays.
Write a Letter to Grandparents
Keep a supply of kid notecards and stationery on hand for letter writing. A letter from a grandchild is always a delight; bad spelling and punctuation is overlooked! Stationery Studio is a great software program for letter writing and to inspire kids with many other writing projects.
Set a Goal
Write a Picture Story
Draw a line about 2/3 down on a sheet of art paper. Let the child draw a picture of anything she wishes at the top. Then, guide her to write a story about the picture at the bottom. Let her write unfamiliar words phonetically. Guide her to use the basic story elements of 'character, setting, and plot'.
Newspaper Reporter Activity
Your child can play reporter and learn the 5 W's of writing with this activity. Write 'Who, What, Where, When, and Why' down the left side of a sheet of paper or use this printable from Houghton-Mifflin Education Place. PBS TeacherSource suggests that you guide him to watch a news story or learn about one online, and to note on his sheet the 5 W's of the story. Carry it even further by writing an opening paragraph to the news story and comparing it to the newspaper article on the story.
Use Writing Prompts and Graphic Organizers
You need some ideas to help your child get started on a creative home writing activity. Try these sites to find a quick writing prompt.
- Education World Writing Bugs
- Scholastic's Write Your Own Ending Activity
- Laurie Candler's Imaginative Story Topics
- CanTeach Elementary Writing Prompts
- Write Source Writing Topics Organized by Grade
- Region 15 Graphic Organizers
- Houghton-Mifflin Education Place Graphic Organizers
- Ocean Beach Elementary Graphic Organizers
Play with Poetry
Use Laurie Candler's friendship cinquain lesson, but make it a family cinquain. Interview a family member or write the cinquain about the entire family.
Play Scholastic's Newspaper Word Poetry Challenge, which is an inexpensive way to copy the 'poetry magnets' you see in the educational toy stores.
Print these poetry form worksheets from ABC Teach:
Make a Book
Enchanted Learning's Make Your Own Book templates require a $20 annual membership. Not bad for tons of printables for your child.
Picture dictionaries are a must for emergent literacy. Your child and you can make your own picture dictionary with this project from Scholastic.
Sesame Street Workshops gives step-by-step instructions to Make a Homemade Storybook.
Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord gives some creative free samples for making books with children.