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Tips for Encouraging Children to Write
By Deborah Shelton
Want to encourage your child's love of writing? Or inspire
one who would rather do anything but write? The answer may
be as simple as finding the right pen. Just as your child
may have had a security blanket or an impossibly dirty
teddy bear that she refused to let you kidnap to the dark
recesses of the washing machine, she may need a special
writing tool that's all her own.
This doesn't mean that you need to run out and buy
a "special" $500 Mont Blanc fountain pen. Perhaps a pen
with a case in her signature color would work. Maybe the
ink needs to be just the right shade of purple. Take your
little one on a stroll through the pen section of an art
supply or stationery store and let her choose. Seeing such
a wide array of writing supplies may spur interest on its
Once you have tracked down a favorite pen, try to do as
many creative things as you can think of to get your child
to use it.
1. Everyday Writing: Use everyday situations to help
children practice their writing. For example, the next time
you write a grocery list, have your child sit next to you
and write a list of her favorite foods. Whenever you write
thank-you notes, your child can write a miss-you letter to
Grandma and Grandpa. Time to pay bills? Have your little
one write about a recent dream while you write checks.
2. Ghost Messaging: Dip a cotton swab into a small
container of lemon juice. Use the swab to write a message
on a sheet of construction paper. When you're finished, set
the paper in direct sunlight and wait for the message to
ghostly appear. It's creepy and fun!
3. Hometown Reporter: Read through a newspaper together to
get an idea of the kinds of stories journalists write
about, and how they word headlines. Encourage your child to
write his own articles: investigative, human interest,
community events, celebrity profile, etc. "Publish" the
article in a word processing program and send copies to
friends and family. If the article is of mass interest,
send it to the local newspaper!
4. Sidewalk Chalk: Give your little ones the power to
express themselves and have a ton of fun at the same time.
Use sidewalk chalk to write poems, jokes and short stories
on the driveway.
5. Letter Puzzles: This project is fun for the writer and
the reader! First, write a letter to someone on a sheet of
paper. When you're finished, use a pair of scissors to cut
the note into interlocking puzzle pieces. Place the pieces
into an envelope and mail or hand-deliver it. The recipient
must assemble the puzzle in order to read the letter!
6. Dear Editor: Encourage your children to voice their
thoughts and opinions publicly by writing letters to the
editors of children's magazines, local newspapers and even
radio stations! Keep a scrapbook of all published clips, or
frame them as a constant reminder of their writing
About the Author
Deborah Shelton is the author of The Five Minute Parent:
Fun & Fast Activities for You and Your Little Ones. Visit
The Five Minute Parent for fun rainy-day activities, family
links, and a free email newsletter filled with craft ideas,
guest articles, contests and so much more!
In Leadership, The Eight Ways Of Right Action. (Part 1)
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