Monthly Archives: February 2012

Adventure Props

What would James Bond be without his gadgets? How could an explorer make discoveries without equipment?
In this activity a group of interesting objects is just what it takes to solve problems and escape from danger.
What You Need: a collection of objects that might be used in interesting ways on an adventure

How can these objects help a detective?

  1. Collect six or so objects
    To add to the fun, have each person bring  1 or 2 objects
  2. Talk about what each object might be used for besides conventional uses. Hmmm.. tape could be used to lift fingerprints, a flashlight taken apart to store a secret message…
  3. Act out possible scenes  play charades to have others guess what how each prop is being used as a tool for adventure.
  4. Mix it up by having the adventure take place in different locations. How does this change what the prop is used for?

Write About It!

Setting the Scene

  • Choose a location and main character for the adventure story. Will it take place in a city, the Arctic, at sea, in a desert, in your own community?
  • Is the main character a detective, explorer, inventor, archeologist, or a curious kid?
  • Are other characters in your story? Will there be friends to help? Enemies to avoid?
  • Describe your location and main characters.

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Categories: adventure writing, Writing Games | 1 Comment

Kids Write! Book

If you like these playful writing activities, checkout….

Kids Write!
Rebecca Olien

Kids Write Cover Want to find more activities using playful learning to encourage young writers?

Take a peek at Kids Write! Fantasy, Science Fiction, Mystery, Autobiography, Adventure and More!

View table of contents, sample pages and reviews at Amazon:

Winner of Teachers’ Choice AwardTeachers' Choice Award Seal

Categories: adventure writing, Animals/ Nature, Fantasy and Fairy Tales, Humor Writing, Talking Points, Uncategorized, Writing Games | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Magnificent Museum

Turn collections and creative artifacts into a museum with labels and signs to inform and entertain.

kids museum photo

The Amazing Dinosaur Museum

What You Need:

collection of interesting objects found and/or made

a space to set up displays such as a card table, counter, or closed boxes

paper and pens to make labels

tape, clay and craft sticks for holding up signs


Sort through your favorite collections for object to put on display in your museum.

Make other objects to add to your museum collection. For example: a clay dinosaur bone, a miniature mask, beads strung as jewels, clay arrowheads, miniature artwork

Decide how you want to display the collection for the museum.

Write About It!

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Categories: Animals/ Nature, Science Writing | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Animal Riddle Poems

Turn favorite or unusual animals into riddles with animal riddle poems. Fun to write and fun to solve!


  • Make a list of animals fun to write about.
  • Choose one and write a list of their interesting behaviors and features that make them unique.
  • Write descriptive lines from the animal’s point of view using first person “I”.
  • Arrange the lines into patterns to make a poem. Rhyme is fine! (but optional)
  • Print the poems into a riddle book or on cards with answers on the backs

Here are some riddle poems written by fourth grade children:

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Categories: Animals/ Nature, Poetry, Writing Games | Tags: , , , , , | 18 Comments

Engaging Kids with Questions

The right question is worth a thousand words. Well, maybe not a thousand words, but quite a few sentences! Just like adults, children writers often get stuck even when they are motivated to write through playful activities.
Asking engaging questions makes a world of difference to get those pencils moving (or keys clicking).

Here are some question pointers:

  • Ask open-ended questions that allows the child to answer in complete thoughts rather than one word answers
  • Listen to what the child is telling you about their story, and ask branching questions to help them add details
  • Be engaged with the child to learn about their thinking and imagination, ask questions that you really want to know about- children are masters of knowing when an adult is faking interest
  • Ask questions to help the child add details
  • Use the character names and details from the child’s writing in the question to show your involvement
  • Ask questions to help the child move the story forward- What happens next questions
  • If this is to be the child’s story be careful not to get so involved that you influence the child’s writing with your ideas.
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Categories: Talking Points | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Big Animal Adventures

Create life-size animals to act out amazing adventures, then write a book of favorite animal tales.

What you need:
large cardboard or paper, tempera paints, brushes

Big Animal Baby Elephant and Frog

Draw a large animal on the paper or cardboard. Make it almost as big as you! Paint the outlines of the animal in dark colors. Let dry. Come back and fill in the spaces with colors you choose. Let dry. Add details like hair, eyelashes, eye color, etc.. Now, have some fun playing with the animals and thinking up amazing adventures.

Write About It!

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Categories: adventure writing, Animals/ Nature | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Eggcellent Riddles

Hatch some fun with this animal riddle game that doubles as an egg hunt!

What you need: plastic eggs used for egg hunts, permanent markers or paint pens, oven bake clay

Play! Write!

Some possibilities...

1. Use oven-bake clay to make animals that hatch from eggs. Form animals small enough to fit inside the eggs.

2. Research to find interesting facts about the animals you choose. Unusual information make riddles trickier to solve and more fun to write.

3. Clever riddles are like puzzles. Choose four facts to write into clues. The clues lead to the answer without being too obvious.

4. Write the clues on the outside of the egg. Place the clay animal inside.

5. Hide the eggs! Once eggs are collected the fun continues as clues are read and animals guessed before opening each egg to see what pops out.

Riddle Tips

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Cartoon Self-Portraits

Self portraits can be awkward and hard to get just right. So lighten up and exaggerate your best features by making a cartoon self-portrait.
What you need:
mirrors, brown paper or recycled paper bags, black paint, paint brushes, oil pastels

  • Have fun making silly faces to each other and into the mirrors to see how to exaggerate expressions of surprise, happiness, worry, shyness, and other other emotions you wish.
  • Choose an exaggerated face to draw on the brown paper, the larger the better.
  • Paint over the main lines with black paint for an outline cartoon effect
  • When dry, fill in spaces with colorful oil pastels

Write About It!

Place the cartoon portraits on a wall and stand back to admire the work. What kind of emotions are being shown by the cartoon faces? Pretend the portraits are talking; what do they want to say? Cut out large cartoon talk bubbles to create funny cartoon conversations between the portraits.

Hint: Recycle old laminated posters or projects to make wipe-off talk bubbles.  Vis-Vis pens wipe of with a damp cloth for lots of conversation changes. You might want to have a dialogue switch where everyone changes what they are saying at a given time throughout the day.

Categories: Humor Writing | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Off to See the Wizard!

Using the Wizard of Oz as a starting place, gives children a story structure they can adapt and turn into a magical adventure of their own making.


Photo of children acting out scene from Oz

Acting Out Adventures in Oz

Children choose what characters they want to include from the famous book and movie, or add their own characters to the mix.

Make costumes! These can be simply constructed from all kinds of simple recycled clothes, scraps, cardboard, and used Halloween costumes.

Brainstorm the adventures for the characters, either following the main plot of the Wizard of Oz, or making up some new adventures for these lovable characters.

Decide on the setting or multiple settings needed for the adventures. In the photograph, these children acted out the story indoors until they reached the Land of Oz and recorded the story outside using the magical color and sounds of nature.

Write About It!

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Categories: adventure writing, Fantasy and Fairy Tales | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rebus Mystery Puzzler

Create a mystery puzzle for your friends and family to solve. Your story uses pictures for some of the words like a rebus. Once you have the story made you cut it into puzzle shape pieces.

Play!mystery puzzle example

What you need to create your puzzle:

  • Stickers of objects and story characters
  • a piece of 8 1/2 x 11 card stock, markers
  • round colored stickers (3/4 ” or 2 cm diameter)
  • manila envelope 6″ x 9″

Getting Ready to Create1.

1. Choose an idea for you mystery. Maybe something has disappeared, someone is acting strange, or something unusual is found.
2. Create characters for your story. You will need at least a main character with a problem and someone to solve it. Use your stickers to help you gather ideas for characters and story objects.

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Categories: adventure writing, Writing Games | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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