Screenwriting Blog
Posted on by Victoria Lucia

How to Get Kids to Write Stories

Get Kids to Write Stories

Eventually, we want all kids to learn and master writing skills. Creative writing can activate kids' imaginations, improve motor skills, and help them to think outside of the box. But what do you do if your child doesn't want to write or doesn't know how to start writing a story? Discover five ways to work writing activities into your child's daily routines. 

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Brainstorm Story Ideas With Your Child

First, brainstorm an idea with your child. Ask your child what some of their favorite stories are and why they like them. For younger kids, draw on inspiration from board books and picture books. If your child is a bit older, a chapter book might be more appropriate. Then see if anything about those stories can inspire their own unique idea. You can also ask your child about real-life experiences they've had that they believe would make for an exciting story. For example, the time they lost a tooth or got a surprise.

If all else fails, there are always writing prompts for kids. Here are a couple of prompts that should help young writers who are stuck.

  • You're stranded on a deserted island; what do you do?

  • I looked out the window and couldn't believe what I saw …

  • Describe what your life would be like if you were famous.

  • Write about a day from your pet's perspective.

  • If you could travel through time, where and when would you go?

  • Write a story about a character who is keeping a big secret.

  • Write about a lost treasure.

  • Write a story about a creepy house on your street.

  • You get to trade lives with one of your friends. What's that like?

  • One day, you wake up and discover that you can talk to animals. The first thing you do is ...

Develop Kid-Friendly Characters

Once you've got an idea, help your child develop characters and a setting. Who is the main character, what are they like? Maybe the character has similarities to characters from your child's favorite TV show or board book.

Who are the character's friends? Teach your child to draw inspiration from their own circle of friends. 

Where does this story take place? Perhaps your child has a favorite place to visit or another place they're familiar with, like their school, playground, or grandma's house. Start with something familiar, or let their imagination take them to some fantastic place! 

Sort Out the Beginning, Middle, and End of the Story

Now that you've got your plot, character, and setting sorted out, ask your child to think about the beginning, middle, and end of their story. Help them figure it out by asking questions to help shape the narrative: What would be an exciting thing to happen to the characters? What would make a great ending? 

Teach Kids How to Incorporate a Conflict

Make sure that your child understands that every story needs conflict. For kids, an easy way to explain conflict is that something is getting in the way of their main character's goals. If the goal is to get to grandmother's house, perhaps a snowstorm gets in the way. If the goal is to do well on a test at school, perhaps the cat won't stop distracting the main character from studying. Conflict drives a story and keeps things interesting. Give examples of conflict from their favorite books or movies. What's the conflict of their story?

Write the Ending

Ask your child how the main character overcomes the conflict to reach their goal. Is the resolution straightforward, or is there a twist? Which does your child think would be more interesting for the reader? Finally, ask what life is like once the conflict is resolved. What is it like when the character finally reaches grandma's house or scores an A+ on their test?

Other Writing Activities for Kids

Hopefully, these steps can help you guide your child through writing a story. If they don't seem to enjoy writing in this way, try some of these other writing activities for kids.

  • Teach them to write a poem.

  • If your child would rather play video games, ask them to write about an idea for a video game that they'd design. 

  • Play a game of "finish the story." One person starts the story and trades off with another person until the story is finished.

  • Introduce your child to journaling, where they can write about their day. 

  • Write a recipe together.

  • Have your child write a persuasive essay about an activity they want to do or a toy they want. Why should they have it? 

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The next time your child is struggling to write, you'll be prepared! Hopefully, the tips & advice from this blog can help you to encourage them. Writing is an essential skill for children to learn, but it doesn't always come easy. Practice makes perfect. Keep at it. Happy writing!

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