If most people have trouble dealing with staying inside, imagine having to stay home with bored kids, complaining that they have nothing to do the whole day, and dismissing any attempt to be entertained! Books are, of course, a great way to spend the time, but there are only so many books a kid can read before wanting to actually do something. If you’re a parent whose kids would gladly write stories, but you don’t have the mental energy to come up with writing prompts, Book Riot has got your back! Here are 20 writing prompts for kids that will keep your children entertained for hours in their own made-up world! You can thank us later (just enjoy your extra time, for now)!
- You find out that a dragon lives under your house. How did it end up there?
- You pick up a shell by the sea and when you hold it to your ear, the shell speaks. What does it say?
- You and your friends have to stay two meters away from each other. Write down or come up with a few games you can play, including all the rules and exceptions.
- Your hands are dirty from playing, so before heading back home you wash them on a lake. You see your reflection in the lake, but just as you are about to leave the reflection points in one direction. You follow that direction. What do you find?
- You find a doll by the side of the road, with a letter attached to it. Write the letter and, if you’re feeling particularly creative, what happens next (don’t forget you found the letter attached to a doll!).
- Write down the most disgusting recipe you can think of. Include ingredients and how to make it.
- Now write down the most delicious recipe you can think of, including ingredients and preparation.
- You and your family spent all afternoon baking a cake. In the evening, as you sneak to the kitchen to take a piece, the cake is missing! The only thing left is the plate the cake was on, and crumbs. Who took the cake, and how did they take it without anyone seeing it?
- You move into a new house. In your bedroom, there is a huge stain on the wall, as if the wall itself was burnt. When the sun sets and the room grows dark, the stain becomes a door. You open it. Where does it lead?
- You live on planet Earth now, but you come from far away, from a planet you can see up in the sky out of your bedroom window on a cloudless night. Tell me about your home planet and the people who inhabited it. If you feel creative, write about how you arrived on planet Earth and all that happened up to this point.
- You are woken up by a loud noise and when you go outside there is a spaceship in your backyard. Carefully you open its door and go in. What do you see? How did the spaceship end up in your backyard?
- Your pet has eaten something weird and they can now speak. Write down the dialogue you have with your pet and all the things you want to ask them (and their replies).
- You have eaten something weird and now the only one who can understand what you say is your pet. They are also the only ones who can help change this back to what it used to be. Write about the adventure you go through in order to get your language back.
- You wake up as a bird. You soar into the skies and look down. What do you see and where do you go?
- A package is delivered to your door, with your name on it. Inside there’s a magical book. Everything you write in it comes true. What do you write?
- You’re about to dig a spoon into a yoghurt when a bacteria comes out of it and says they’re in the wrong yoghurt! You need to go to the supermarket and find the right type of yoghurt and send the bacteria back into its right place. Tell me all about it.
- You’re home alone and there’s a knock on the door. Who is it and what do they want?
- The characters from your favourite book are real, and they are now your classmates. They invite you to spend an afternoon with them. Of course, soon enough something happens and you find yourself in the middle of an adventure. Write about it.
- You move to a different town. Write in detail about your new neighbours.
- There are various language codes. Try to figure this one out: ytkvkpi rtqorvu. What did I just write? The answer is: writing prompts! Now, read carefully; can you figure out the rules of the code?* Create your own language code, share it with your friends, and that way you can send secret messages to each other! Now you can even write a story only you can read!
*The rule of the code is as follows: for each letter, you skip two letters (A becomes C, B becomes D, etc. Book Riot would become Dqqm Tkqv). Fun!
Want to help your kids improve their writing? Here are a few children’s books about writing that will definitely help!
Amelia’s Notebooks by Marissa Moss
Many adults who have read these books as children vouch for them as a legit learning tool for writing.
The books are fun, and they are written as real journals, by the pen of Amelia, who describes her thoughts and all the things that happen in her life.
There are various volumes, directed to elementary and middle school.
Just Write: Here’s How by Walter Dean Myers
Myers is well known for his children’s books, and in this volume he teaches the reader to write both fiction and non-fiction.
It includes notes from his own notebooks, and questions and answers regarding outline, characters, and length.
It also questions the reader on what makes them want to become a writer, which might be a very interesting exercise to start off with.
Share Your Smile: Raina’s Guide To Telling Your Own Story by Raina Telgemeier
This book is a mix of a journal, a ‘make your own comic’, and scrapbook, because in its pages the little writer is encouraged both to write, draw, and glue things.
For this alone, I think it will be very interesting for kids. It’s not only about writing, but a little bit about crafting, and we all know how kids love getting creative, even when there are guidelines.
Q&A A Day For Kids by Betsy Franco
This a sort of interactive book. Each page contains a question, and all the kids have to do is write an answer.
It’s less a book of prompts and more an easy writing exercise, where kids don’t need to think too much to put something on the paper. It will also help create a habit of writing, as it’s supposed to be an-answer-a-day exercise.
It is great fun to do together with the parents or siblings, and compare answers.
Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly by Gail Carson Levine
This is a great one to motivate kids to write and to make them believe that they, too, can become great writers.
Not only does Levine explain how to create great stories – including dialogues, and how to come up with memorable characters – the book also contains writing exercises, to put to test what is taught across its pages.
A wonderful mix of fun and learning.
Another writing book by Levine that is worth adding to this list is Writer To Writer: From Think To Ink.
The Write Thing: Kwame Alexander Engages Students In Writing Workshop by Kwame Alexander
Written by a Newberry medal winner, this book is pretty much a way to help teachers and parents guide kids in their writing endeavours, in a fun way.
A bit of a step-by-step on how to go from creating a plot, developing interesting characters, drafting, and more.
It dares to go beyond the private writing, teaching you how to print a book, or how to present a text.
It’s like having all the material you need to create a story from start to finish, allowing you to help younger ones create them too.
If You Have Older Kids In The House, You May Also Like These Books For YA Readers
Find Your Voice: A Guided Journal For Writing Your Truth by Angie Thomas
This book includes writing prompts and craft tips, and it is said to be a perfect book for homeschooling, so definitely a good choice for times like these.
Thomas is well-known among young readers for her up-to-date and woke stories. She writes about young people with empathy, making them shine in her stories.
It also includes tips on how to write a ‘zero draft’, maybe the most important tip ever.
It was later in life that I found out you’re not supposed to write a good story the first time around – I was shocked, but thankful, to learn that – so this book would have been a treasure in my teens, and I’m sure many kids who enjoy writing, and want to keep enjoying it even as it becomes more challenging, will appreciate it.
Write Yourself A Lantern: A Journal Inspired By The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
More than a guide, this book is a journal, and what makes us better writers than writing everyday? For ourselves alone and with no expectations?
With lines from Acevedo’s The Poet X adorning its pages, this wonderful book is ready to be filled in by a writer who is not afraid to make mistakes. It’s supposed to help us find our voice, and make us accept that it may take a while for that to happen.
As consumers of books, it’s impossible not to be inspired by those we read. This journal becomes an invitation to draw inspiration from Acevedo’s writing and, with it, find our own.
We hope these prompts – and books – manage to provide hours of fun for kids, and some peace and quiet for all parents out there!
Stay creative, wash your hands, stay safe (and sane)!