Teaching Kids to Write Stories

Writing is a wonderful tool that can help kids let their imagination fly, express themselves, and explore the people they are and their world. Writing, whether it is journaling or creative, can also be cathartic. If your child is bitten by the writing bug, you can do plenty to help them cultivate the writing habit.

I used these simple activities to get my kids to exercise their writing muscles.

Screen to Paper
My kids love movies and using that to spur them on, I asked them to write the movie in the form of a short story. We started with Penguins of Madagascar. Children’s movies are easier as they are usually told in a linear fashion. The kids had to basically narrate the story with a beginning, middle and end. This is similar to writing a movie synopsis. They did have trouble writing about the characters and introducing them into the story. So we did a separate exercise in writing character sketches. They gave the dialogues a miss and used reported speech where necessary. The movie also gave them a lot of practice in descriptive writing as they had to describe different places. This is suitable for older kids who are familiar with story structures, that is, they have done enough reading to know how a story is written. It is a good idea to set a word limit so that the writing is tight.

Girl Writing
DSC_3763” by Alexandratx is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Pebble Clues
This is an exercise in creativity and imagination. I drew a few things on pebbles. The kids had to choose three random pebbles and spin a story around them. For instance, in one round my son picked up a bicycle, a girl, and a rat. The best part of these types of writing exercises is that there is no right or wrong way to tell the story. It can be a fairy tale, sci-fi or even a case of whodunit. It can be one of them or all of them.

Drawing by Kid
DSC_3784” by Alexandratx is licensed under CC BY 2.0

A Day in My Life
It is similar to journaling but for kids to turn their day into a story, they have to learn to be aware of how they felt and related to their day. It will train them to pay attention to what they see and do. Being able to be an observer of life while standing on its periphery and yet being a part of it is no mean task as the kids will soon find out! Add an extra spin to this exercise by getting them to start off with a storyboard of their day. Using the storyboard as a guide, they can get their story off the ground. Offer them yet another variation – start the story from the middle or even build it backwards.

Colorful Set of Pencils
Colorful set of pencils-5” by Daniel Kulinski is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

These activities have built my kids’ confidence in writing. I prefer that they write by hand rather than type away on a computer. While these writing activities have been effective in getting kids started, you must keep in mind that kids do outgrow them quickly. By keeping an eye on the progress they are making, you can continue introducing more challenging activities and raise the bar for them.


I am an assistant teacher and my aim is to curate unique learning tips and techniques customized towards kids.

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