Some kids just don’t like to write. Others ﬁnd the lure of technology much more responsive and
engaging. So what is a parent to do? Kids still need good old-fashioned paper and pencil skills,
right? Here are some engaging activities that your child may actually enjoy more than tapping
the keys on your iPhone.
1. Arrange a pen-pal: Has a dear friend or relative recently moved away? Do you sponsor a
child that lives in an exotic part of the world? Have you thought about signing up for a pen-
pal? These are all great ways for your child to practice story telling, writing, and penmanship
skills. The best part is anticipating and checking the mail to see if there is a response!
2. Post cards: If you’re on the go with the family, stop by your nearest tourist trap establishment
and purchase some postcards. Your child will enjoy telling friends and family about their
discoveries and adventures. Just be sure to carry an address book and post card stamps with
3. Make lists: Kids generally like to be helpful. You can include your child and teach a valuable
skill when you enlist them to write grocery and shopping lists. Keep a running list on your
refrigerator and ask your child to add items as needed. Planning a trip? Your child can create
a packing list and check off items as they are put in the suitcases.
4. Make an itinerary: Itineraries involve a bit of research so this is an excellent activity for older
children. Itineraries can be useful for planning local outings such as a park/picnic day,
birthday party, or another event that your family must plan. If you happen to be arranging a
trip, your child can investigate landmarks, museums, parks, or other places of interest and
create an itinerary.
5. Recipe cards: Do you have a mini-chef in the family? Your child can write down favorite
recipes on index cards and ﬁle them for future use. An older child can even practice
6. Thank you notes: Reinforce good manners by reminding your child to write thank you notes
for any gifts received during the holidays and birthday. Addressing envelopes is an important
writing skill, too!
7. Creative writing: Give your child a blank notebook to create new endings to favorite stories,
write his or her own story, or even a comic strip. Be sure to encourage lots of illustrations! If
you wish to print your child’s stories, you can send them to a copy shop and have them spiral
8. Journaling: Does your child have a journal or diary? Some children enjoy writing down
events of the day or penning their feelings. Years later, your child may enjoy re-reading the
9. Tongue twisters: Tongue twisters can be really fun to say. Encourage your child to create an
unique tongue twister. Family competitions may ensue!
10.Scrapbooking: Appoint your child as the family historian. Your child can use creativity to
adorn and annotate pictures of important family events. This can be something you enjoy
doing together, too! If scrapbooking isn’t of interest, perhaps the creation of a family blog will
do. Adding pictures and stories of events will be appreciated by family and friends from afar.
This enhances your child’s technology skills as well.
Writing doesn’t have to be boring. Your child can learn valuable writing skills from participating
in enjoyable, creative, and helpful activities. If your child shows interest in one of these ideas in
particular, go with it. All it takes is one spark to light the ﬁre!
Julie Rebboah has been a professional educator since 1998. She has been an Early Reading Intervention instructor, an English language development teacher, and a private tutor. Julie wrote Magic Letters; The Keys to the World of Words and Magic Words; Discovering the Adventure of Reading out of a need to provide materials to support and extend learning in her diverse classroom. http://www.lightningbuglearning.com