When we think of writing, very often, what comes to our minds are school assignments, essays, compositions, reports and other forms of serious (often boring) types of writing.
Therefore, it is not surprising to hear kids say things like, "I hate writing!" or "I don't want to write!"
Children are naturally drawn to activities that are fun and meaningful to them. So, if we want our kids to be drawn to writing, guess what? We have to make it fun and meaningful!
Here are some activities you can do with your child to get them to write and have fun doing it.
FUN READING AND WRITING ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS
1. READ TO YOUR CHILD
Reading and writing goes hand in hand. Reading enlarges a child's vocabulary range, which helps her to have a library of words to draw from when she writes. Writing helps a child in her reading, as she learns how to read what she has written.
I find that children who are being read to when they were little tend to be better readers and writers. If you have not realised the benefits of reading to your child until now, it is not too late to start!
Build a bedtime reading routine today. Read a book to your child every day before her bedtime. Reading one book a day means your child gets to listen to 365 stories in a year! That is a lot. You will see the fruits manifesting in her language abilities.
2. VISIT THE LIBRARY
This goes together with point 1. In order to read a book a day, you need to have many books available at home. If you do not wish to spend your money buying 365 books a year, the best place to go to is the library. Bring your child along and let her pick out books that she is interested in. Promise her that you will read a book to her a day. I am sure she will be more than thrilled to pick as many books as she can, because, which child does not enjoy a one-to-one bonding time with her parents?
3. LET YOUR CHILD READ TO YOU
Besides reading to your child, get him to choose one of his favourite books to read to you. When he is reading, give him your full attention. Switch off the television, computer and put away your mobile phones for that 10 minutes or so. Practise listening to your child and show enjoyment in what he is reading. Not only does this build his confidence, it helps to strengthen his reading skills and exposes him to proper sentence structure and a range of vocabulary.
4. START A JOURNAL
Encourage your child to keep a journal by buying her a pretty, colourful notebook. Journal writing does not mean you only write what happened or what you did in a day. That, to some children, can be really dry and boring.
Give your child the freedom to write anything they like in their special journal book. Do not correct or criticise their writing. Let their journal book be the place where they can have the freedom to write about whatever topics they like.
5. START A PARENT-CHILD COMMUNICATION JOURNAL
Related to point 4, you can get a journal or notebook together with your child. Use that book as a form of 'Daddy and Me' or 'Mummy and Me' communication journal. Let your child write a letter to you on one page of the book and you reply her letter on another page of the same book. On some days, you be the one to write a letter to your child and get him to write his reply to you on another page.
This is something I do with my own kids and they love it, even for my 11 year-old boy.
For the more artistic child, you can use scrapbooking to get her started on writing. Provide her with a scrapbook, some scrapbookig materials and photographs of herself or the family. Let her decorate a page and write about it! Do it together and make it a fun, bonding activity with your child while getting her to have fun writing at the same time.
7. WRITE LETTERS
Let your child write a letter to a friend, family member or relatives. When she is done, mail out the letter. To make it more fun, ask the recipient to write a letter to your child and mail it to her in return. Most children are thrilled to receive letters in the mailbox addressed to them. If it is too difficult to get others to write a letter to your child, you can write one to her and mail it out. She will be thrilled to receive the letter in the mailbox.
8. MAKE MINI-BOOKS
Mini-books are fun to make. There is a great supply of mini-book templates on the internet that you can download and print. You can also simply fold pieces of A4-sized paper into half and staple them at the side to make into a mini-book.
Let your child pick a topic and make a book all about the topic chosen.
9. MAKE COMIC BOOKS OR COMIC STRIPS
Some children are drawn to comics. Parents are sometimes reluctant to let their kids read comics, simply because they think comics do not help their kids write better compositions or improve their reading and writing.
Well, my view is, not all reading has to be with the sole aim of getting better grades in school. How about reading for enjoyment? Reading for fun?
If your child enjoys comics, take advantage of that and get him to make a comic book or comic strip. Show interest in what he has drawn and written.
10. WRITE ACROSTIC POEMS
Acrostic poems are poems where the first letter of each line spells out a word. Ask your child to choose a word or use your child's name for a start. Get her to write a phrase or sentence beginning with each letter of her name. That is an acrostic poem. When she is done, paste her poem on a piece of coloured card stock paper, get her to decorate it and display it at home!
11. BE A REPORTER
Your child might enjoy role-playing as a reporter. Let your child interview someone in the family or the neighbourhood. First, get your child to brainstorm and list the interview questions. Then, have her visit or call the interviewee to conduct the interview. Make sure she writes down the interviewee's response. Finally, ask your child to write or type out the response. You might want to show her some examples of newspaper articles and have her type according to the newspaper format. If your child enjoys doing this, she can even interview various people and compile the reports into a mini newspaper or book!
12. WRITE A FRACTURED FAIRY TALE
Fractured fairy tales are familiar fairy tales with changes in the characters, plot, setting or other elements of the story. Let your child pick a favourite fairy tale. Encourage her to think about how she wants to change the story by changing either the characters, setting, plot or ending. Have her write or type out her fractured fairy tale, illustrate it and make it into a mini book.
13. WRITE A NON-FICTION TEXT
Similar to making mini-books, your child can choose a non-fiction topic that interest him. Provide him with resources (online or other books) so that he can find out more information about that topic. Let him record his findings and compile them into a non-fiction text or mini-book.
14. CREATE A FAMILY BOOK
For kids who enjoy photography and art, you can let them make a family book by letting them take candid pictures of family members throughout the day, select and print out some of those photographs and paste them into a book. For each photograph, get your child to write a few sentences to describe what that family member is doing. When the book is completed, let the whole family read it!
So, these are some ideas for fun reading and writing activities that you can try out with your child. Do you have other ideas? Share it with us!