- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The summer hum-drums start knocking at my door quicker than I anticipate, almost every year. I have continually stocked our shelves with fun, engaging and educational activities, yet it never fails to surprise me how quickly my children appear bored.
Now, let me clarify. Notice that I specifically used the word "appear". They do not complain of boredom . . . to my face, at least.
There is a tried and true rule in the Mac house.
Books. Games. Activities. Hands-On Fun. God's great green creation.
All of these are choices are readily available for the proper use of free time for any child in my home. Complaining of boredom is not an option. I think that in the course of our family history, one child, once complained. Chores were given. No one really felt it was necessary to complain of boredom after that. Weird, huh?
I digress . . .
I digress . . .
During the summer, though, I attempt to lighten up and present more on the kitchen table to liven and enlighten our summer learning. I mean, they are schooling year-round. Why not reward them in a few fun learning ways?
I enjoy preparing workshops for my kids to enjoy during the summers, and on various weekends throughout the school year. I do this for many reasons, one of which is that it helps us to focus time and attention on subject that they may struggle with, or need inspiration in completing.
Ironically, writing with my kids has been less-than-inspiring recently. They perform well, technically, but lack the "oomph" that they need to truly inspire the reader of their writing, namely me. I decided to spend the summer inspiring them with some creative writing exercises, which are not necessary for making a great writer, but it couldn't hurt either. Especially since we have been somewhat in a rut as of late.
Here are 5 Writing Activities from our recent Writing Workshops that may help inspire your brood in writing:
- Set the mood to be enticing to writers. Sometimes the mood has to be right and my environment in perfect order before I will even attempt to write. I took special time and effort to create a quiet, warm and inviting space for creating great writing for my students. I lit a candle, put some lovely roses in a vase, found some fun postcards with animal pictures, displayed some fine works of art from a book and a few postcards, diffused some essential oils, and supplied plenty of fun writing supplies, stationary and freshly sharpened pencils.
• Try some FREE WRITING exercises with Picture Cards. I created picture cards using some old almanacs and National Geographic magazines that were free at my local library. I mounted each photo on the blank side of a large index card. Then I shuffled the stack and had each student choose a card without looking. They were give 20 minutes to write freely, in any prose or fashion they so choose, describing, narrating or explaining what was happening in their photo.
The girls enjoyed this first exercise in writing. I think it was a great activity to get the creative juices flowing before we moved on to more challenging writing that day.
We all enjoyed sharing our photos and then our writing examples. There was some great discussion on perceptions during this activity. We would show the photo first to the entire group, then discuss what we thought the picture was all about. Finally we read the writing example. Everyone's ideas and perceptions were completely different. Good stuff.
• Try a few new Writing Prompts that you haven't used before. Here are a few great online resources for you to try. Minecraft Writing Prompts, 4 Writing Prompts for Letter Writing, 3 Nature-Inspired Writing Projects, Creative Photo Writing Prompts That Tickle The Imagination, and just in case . . . More Minecraft Writing Prompts
• SCRAPPY WORDS Poetry to keep the writer striving for the interesting, and sometimes ridiculous. We love this writing activity. Simply clip interesting words from some magazine clippings. All different parts of speech and all different fonts and styles. Scramble them and give each student of set of several words. I believe I gave them 10 words.
The student then uses the Scrappy Words to create a scrapbook poem, combined with their own writing and any fun scrapbooking materials you want to allow them to use.The end result is a poem that represents their own unique creativity, perspective and personality. This is a great looking piece to file away in your notebooking pages.
• Emergency Writers Topic List: With the extra summertime hours, have your students begin thinking of creative topics they would like to eventually write about. Begin a list. List at least 50 writing topics and then tuck them away in your Writing Notebook for a "creative rainy day".
• Read! Okay, this is not a truly novel idea (ha! I crack myself up). Spend some time reading aloud to you student from one of their favorite works of fiction. Read about exciting moments, intriguing details, amazing adventures. Now have your student write more about the characters in the story you read aloud to them. Let them write an alternate ending, or continue the story.