SummaryYou’ll show your children how to write with meaning when they practice these simple, real world writing activities from veteran homeschool mom, Karen Doll.
Do your children dilly-dally and stall more times than Grandpop’s old jalopy at the mere mention of writing time?
Yikes! I’m a veteran homeschool mom and writer, so I feel your frustration. I’ve been there. And I survived to share my simple solution—meaningful writing activities.
Make writing time make sense with these meaningful, real world writing activities.
1. Create Cards
Make homemade greeting cards. Ingeniously disguised as a DIY craft, this is an easy writing lesson and a perfect match for any skill level. Start with blank cards from the local craft store or online resources. Encourage your children to decorate their cards with hand-drawn illustrations, rubber stamp pictures, stickers, or a combination of methods.
Although a little less DIY, computer-made cards can be just as personal using card-making software such as Hallmark Card Studio. So, go ahead and tap into the advantages of the digital age, and give computer-savvy children a way to hone their skills while brightening someone’s day.
Messages can be as simple or as elaborate as your writer’s abilities. Simple messages such as, I’m thinking about you and hope you feel better soon, Great BIG hugs to you, I’m praying for you, Smile, God loves you, or specific holiday messages and greetings work wonders towards lifting someone’s spirits. Add a special touch with colorful calligraphy pens. The great thing about this project is that typical greeting card messages are short. Let your children add the sweetness!
Send or personally deliver cards to the following people and places:
- Long-distance family and friends
- Single seniors in your community
- Lonely neighbors
- St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital
- Pediatric hospitals throughout the United States
2. Write Letters
Don’t you just love to get mail? I mean real mail. I absolutely adore receiving traditional handwritten letters and cards. They’re truly a treasure these days. I grew up long before the computer craze. Most households had only one telephone, and there was no such thing as call waiting, except those one-of-a-kind looks from Mom and Dad that meant they were waiting for a call. So, we wrote letters. And I still write letters.
During our homeschooling years, I made a big production out of writing letters. You need the right bait to attract your little homeschooling fishes. If you look like you’re having fun, you’ll definitely spark their interest. Oh, and just wait until you receive a reply! Excitement breeds excitement.
Now, it’s time to reel your young writers in. Have a basketful of supplies at the ready for just this moment—fun stationery, brightly colored gel pens, and stickers.
Well, now that you have all the supplies and the kiddos are ready, willing, and able, to whom do you write letters? That’s easy. Write to grandparents, faraway relatives, or pen pals. How about writing a letter to a younger sibling? You will make their day!
My two children each adopted a pen-grandma from our church—two widowed seniors in need of a little TLC. I hoped the letters would make these dear ladies smile. Well, the project was a hit!
Both ladies wrote letters in response. My children responded in kind. So it went on and on. Simply delightful! I truly believe that my children benefited just as much, if not more, from simply putting pencil to paper. What began as a simple project to hone writing skills and give to another grew into a friendship that my children chose to continue nurturing. God is good, indeed.
Writing letters to the editor of the local newspaper is also a great way for young people to express themselves; they can share thoughts about an important issue, show support for a cause, or just express their opinion.
3. Blog for a Non-Profit
Blogs are everywhere. Many non-profit organizations need help keeping their blogs up-to-date. Kids can help by brainstorming ideas for posts, writing posts, and even uploading pieces onto the website. Some benefits of writing for a blog are:
- Blog posts are typically shorter pieces.
- Students feel a sense of purpose, writing for a cause that’s meaningful to them.
- Interacting with readers and responding to comments will help to motivate young writers to continue.
- Bloggers hone their writing skills while making a difference in the world.
Kids can create their own blogs, too. Bloggers typically write regularly, adding new posts at least once or twice a week. Young writers get to practice writing skills and computer skills while sharing their passions. Writing lessons + passion = very meaningful writing activities. How about a homeschooling blog?
Now, that’s interesting. There aren’t many homeschooling blogs written from the perspective of young homeschoolers themselves.
4. Leave Love Notes
Don’t wait for Valentine’s Day, share your feelings today! Encourage your kids to express their love for their family with a simple gesture—writing love notes. Love notes? Really? No, no, no, not the mushy, sappy kind of love notes. I mean family-style love notes. Compliment your kiddos. How about a kudos for a job well done? Or, go ahead and write, I love you, only make it hip—write “I U!” Leave your “love notes” on heart shaped sticky notes all around the house for them to discover. Encourage your children to give it a go.
- Wish sweet dreams to Mom on her pillow.
- Write 3 things you like/love about family members on colorful sticky notes.
- Write cool compliments on the fridge or—surprise, surprise!—in the refrigerator.
- Tape little notes to doors, mirrors, desks, backpacks, Mom’s mixer, inside Dad’s newspaper, in shoes, and in Bibles.
Now for you moms and dads, feel free to leave a little romantic token on your spouse’s pillow. And, gentlemen, take heed: notes accompanied by chocolates are sure to make your lovely lady happy. Just some sweets for thought!
5. Be Thankful
Being thankful is a gift. Children need to be shown how to be thankful. Modeling thankfulness for even the tiniest things like snow flurries, a new bud on a bush, a pretty songbird at your garden feeder, a sunny day, or maybe a cozy rainy day can go a long way towards teaching your children to feel and show thankfulness.
And thankfulness is a great topic for writers. Here are some great ways to encourage your children to grow a thankful heart and mind while getting in a little writing practice at the same time.
Write in a Be Thankful Journal. Every night just before bedtime, sit with your children and talk about their day. Ask them questions that will prompt them to consider what activities, conversations, or events made them feel thankful.
Now that you have a good foundation, ask your children to choose 2 or 3 of those things for which they feel most thankful and write them in their journal along with the date. Journals can be homemade or store-bought notebooks. Your children may want to personalize their journals with stickers, photos, and artwork. As their journal entries grow, so too will their thankful hearts.
Send a heartfelt thank-you note. Handwritten thank-you notes, just like letters, can become cherished keepsakes. The two simple words—thank you—mean the world to the recipient.
Thank-you notes can show thankfulness for many things: a ride to soccer practice, help with a math assignment, an invitation to come over and take a dip in a neighbor’s pool, or for a super FUN night with the sitter while Mom and Dad had a mushy date night. Gifts come in a multitude of forms, and thankfulness molds easily to any form.
I hope you find inspiration in these simple, yet meaningful writing activities. May you and your children find new ways to put meaning back into your writing lessons.