Summer is a time to be out (or in) doing things! But that doesn't mean academic skills have to lag behind. Writing practice can be fun if you add a little action to the plan. Here are a few activities to put your kids' imaginations into gear.
Find your color
Choose a color you have some feelings about—good or bad. With a notebook in hand, look around for things that have color. How about bottles, labels, your clothes, book covers, shadows, wood, trees. You get the idea. Colors are everywhere! When you have a good list, select the images you like best and begin to write. How about a story in which everything is the same color? Or maybe a list poem is just the thing. Let yourself go!
Introduce some strangers
Look for pictures of people and animals in magazines or online. Choose interesting poses and scenes that evoke curiosity. Cut out or print a selection of pictures. Put them together in random ways until you have a grouping that gives you an idea for a story.
Text up a storm
Tell a story or write a poem using only text messages, email, or social media formats. This is good practice with writing dialog and even playwriting. "ttyl" by Lauren Myracle is an example of a whole book written in texts between friends.
Find yourself at home
Look all around your room and your house. Choose five objects that represent you. Write about each one in turn. For each one, ask yourself: Why is this thing important to me? What part of my personality does it represent? How would I feel if this thing disappeared?
Go somewhere else
Tired of the same old place? Imagine that you've suddenly awakened in another country and no one can understand a word you say! What is the first thing you would do? Or, look at pictures of events happening in another time. Now, imagine yourself there. Write about the adventures you could have in this new place or time.
Imagine 6 impossible things
Next time you're about to throw something away, stop! Put the object on the table (if it's not too dirty). Now, study it and imagine some new, completely unrelated uses for this object. Write down what you imagine and keep your notes for a story now or later.
Writing activities like these are great avenues to self-discovery. They also provide a good workout for critical thinking skills and put kinesthetic, spatial, and linguistic learning styles to use. With practice like this, falling behind won't be an issue this summer!