Developing your writing skills requires practice. For children, practice usually means too much work, and they resist wanting to write. Many will complain that it’s too hard or just resort to writing one word answers, much to the frustration of mom or dad. How then can we encourage them to keep writing? With engaging writing activities for kids!
The trick is to keep it interesting. While copywork is beneficial, that task can become tedious, and it may be time to shake things up. Try learning about different styles of writing. These include expository, descriptive, persuasive, narrative, and journal or letter writing. Each writing genre has its own unique purpose and requires different skills. Let’s take a brief look at each one.
This style will give the writer practice in using descriptive words to write the facts about the news and other technical journals and reports. Textbooks and essays are examples of expository writing.
This style uses descriptive words to paint a more vivid picture to the reader. The writer focuses on the smaller details to help the reader envision what they are reading in their minds. Descriptive writing can be used for both fiction and non-fiction pieces. Examples of descriptive writing include fictional stories, poetry, and scripts.
This style of writing is used when the writer wants to express an opinion in a way to convince the reader to share their opinion. It requires some convincing words to make their opinion stand out while giving solid evidence to back up their theories. Examples of this kind of writing include political pamphlets, advertisements or promotional material, and fundraising notes.
This is similar to descriptive writing but focuses more on the storytelling. Biographies are a great example of this kind of writing next to non-fiction stories.
This style of writing is more personal and allows the writer to express their thoughts in an open and honest way. Diaries and journals are great for kids to get their writing practice in.
This is one of the oldest ways of communication that still happens today. Even with the advancement of technology, the skills of letter writing are still useful when communicating with others, specifically for jobs or with dealing with people in a more formal setting.
Write a Letter - Activity for Kids
Let’s look at the basic format of writing a letter.
- Your contact information: This will include your address.
- The date: Write the current day, month, and year at the time of writing your letter.
- Contact information of the recipient (person who will be receiving the letter): Include the full name and address.
- Salutation/Greeting: Formal letters usually begin with "Dear...". If you don't know their name, you can begin your letter with "Dear Sir or Madam." Some also use “To Whom it May Concern" if the specific name is unknown. Make sure you put a comma after the salutation or greeting.
- Body of text: This is where you will put all the information that you are writing about. Include three parts.
- An introduction: This is where you tell the person the reason for writing your letter.
- The details: In this section, you give them more details about what you want to say, including specific information to make things clear as to why you are writing them.
- A conclusion: Give a short summary of the main points.
(For younger children, this part doesn’t have to be as detailed and could combine these three sections into one simple paragraph.)
- Closing: Depending on your expectations, there can be several ways to end your letter.
- For a complaint letter you could say, "I hope that this will be resolved for next time" or "Perhaps we can discuss this in more detail over the phone."
- For a written job application, you could say, "Thank you for your time and looking forward to speaking soon."
- If you are expecting a reply, say "I'd love to hear back from you."
- Sign the letter: Many use "Yours sincerely," or “Yours truly,” followed by your name.
Once you’ve learned about each part, start putting it together. Use this handy template to get started on your letter.
Who can you write to?
Here comes the challenge! Write 10 letters in 10 days! Here is a list of some options for you to choose to write to, but you can choose whomever you like!
- Pen pal
- Local MP’s or mayor
- Favourite author
- Favourite restaurant
- Scientist at a local science centre
- Creators of your favourite show or game
- Historian at a local museum
How many did you get written? Congratulations if you sent them all! Now, it’s time to wait for the replies. Hopefully, this has inspired you to be creative and keep writing. Now that you’ve mastered letter writing, why not try another style?
Need some more inspiration?
Check out our Creative Writing Roundup and see the engaging writing activities we have for children there!
This article has been written by homeschooling staff writers of The Canadian Schoolhouse (TCS). Enjoy more of our content from TCS contributors and staff writers by visiting our themes page that has a new theme topic added every month!