adventure writing

Life of a Snowball

Let it snow! This is a great time to motivate children to write wintery stories. This one is especially fun as kids imagine themselves as a snowball. During the writing process they will naturally make connections to weather and the water cycle.

What You Need: Snow! It’s not necessary but it really helps make this writing activity come to life.

photo of snowball

My life really changed once I became a snowball…

Play! Discuss the story writing idea about the life of a snowball. Use story building questions to gather ideas. This could be fun to do outside on a snowy day. The children make a snowball for each idea they come up with. There are bound to be lots of ideas when the children return inside to write!

Let’s Write!Use these prompts to get the story rolling!
Beginning: Describe what the conditions were before the snowball. How hard was it snowing? Does the story start in a cloud? What was it like there?
When did the snow turn into a snowball? Who made it? What did it feel like? What was the new snowball feeling and thinking? What does it want to do? Does the snowball talk or make noise? What does it sound like?

Middle: Now let’s add some action! Snowballs don’t just sit there! What was the snowball used for? Was it added to other snowballs to make a snowman, sculpture, fort?
Was it thrown? Where did it land? What happened to it? Was it changed? Did someone else pick it up?
How is the snowball feeling as these things are happening? Is it enjoying it’s life? Does it want something? How will the snowball get what it wants?

End: What happens to the snowball in the end of the story? Does it become something else? Does it melt? If it melts, where does it go?

Present your stories: Take photos of the snowballs to include with your stories. Act out the snowball stories outside with real snowballs.

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Playful Writing Book Now Available!

Playful Writing Cover image

Writing for fun and discovery!

Find 150 playful writing explorations for young children. Activities include a creative start and uses writing as a natural extension of self-expression, and playful encounters. Prompts and guiding questions keep children writing for real purposes children care about. Each activity includes Early Writer ideas for those emergent learners, as well as Ready Writer activities for those ready for more advanced and complete writing projects.

The playful writing activities are organized into 15 chapters. That include a combination of informational and fictional writing experiences. Take a look!

Playful Writing Link

Categories: adventure writing, Animals/ Nature, Early Childhood, Fantasy and Fairy Tales, Holidays, Humor Writing, Poetry, Science Writing, Talking Points, Writing Games | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jack Pumpkinhead to the Rescue

L. Frank Baum’s wonderful Oz books have enchanted readers young and old for over a century. One delightful character is Jack Pumpkinhead brought to life by Tip in the second Oz book, The Marvelous Land of Oz (1904). Land of Oz cover In this activity, kids create their own Jack Pumpkinhead and magical story adventure.

There are 8 additional Oz books with Jack Pumpkinhead as a character, including #23 with a book titled with his name.

What You Need
Oz books with Jack Pumpkinhead as a character

Children's Jack Pumpkinhead examples

Jack Pumpkinheads in a row- each a unique creationGive children plenty of time to play with their characters to think up their own marvelous adventures.

Pumpkins, old clothes, and poles
Cardboard scraps, paper, paper fasteners, paint, and brushes

Boy with Jack Pumpkinhead paper model

This Jack Pumpkinhead was made into a Jumping Jack!

Create a Jack Pumpkinhead character. If using a real pumpkin, create the character as you would a scarecrow using ta carved pumpkin for the head. This is great fun to construct in stages, reading the book The Marvelous Land of Oz along the way for lots of ideas.

If a real pumpkin is too diffiicult for your children to use for construction, create a paper version. I found a big sized model best and the most fun for children to use as they play and pretend Oz adventures.JumpingJack
Children create each body part separately and attach them together with paper fasteners so Jack can move in lots of positions.

For another fun option, attach the limbs to a central string in the back to turn the pumpkinhead figure into a Jumping Jack! Continue reading

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Spooky Shadow Stories for Halloween

Halloween is a perfect time to bring out the flashlights to write and perform spooky stories by flashlight.flashlight

What You Need: 

•Scraps of cardstock
•Colored plastic
Using a wall, ceiling, or piece of white cardstock as a screen, hands can be moved in front of the light to make shadow animals and creatures.
Children experiment as they discover how to make their shadows get bigger, smaller, and dance in front of the light.
Shapes cut from cardboard or heavy paper can be used as characters and props to act out Halloween stories and poems. Continue reading
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Write a Superhero Story

Super Hero to the Rescue!

Think of the superheroes you know from comics, movies, and television. If you think they are fun to watch, they are even more fun to create!

What You Need: large sheet of butcher paper or cardboard, poster paints, paintbrush

Play!cartoon child drawing a superhero

  1. Draw a large outline of a super hero on your paper or cardboard. You can draw it freehand or find an adult to trace around.
  2. Use paint to add details. Continue reading
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Blast Off Space Adventure

This play to write activity is out of this world!
Play! Create the setting, characters, and rocket for playing out a space adventure.

a clothespin, markers, plastic spray bottle top, foil, pipe cleaner
rocket: cylinder can or tube, construction paper, cardboard
space creature:
clay or any other materials you choose!

Make an astronaut:

  • draw a face on the round top
  • wrap a pipe cleaner around the clothespin for arms
  • dress the clothespin in a foil spacesuit
  • add a plastic top for a helmet

Make a Spaceship: Glue construction paper around a potato chip can or cardboard tube. Add a paper cone top and cardboard fins. Tape a paper cone to the top. Tip: If you want a spaceship that is more sturdy, use a cylinder can like the kind potato chips come in. This makes a good secure place for your astronaut to travel in too!

Make a Space Creature: Space creatures can be made anyway you like. It is up to your imagination! The one in the photo is clay, but you might want to make one that can fit inside the spaceship in case they want to travel together in your story.

Write About It! Continue reading

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Shadow Stories

Turn shadows into fun story characters with nothing more than the flap and wave of fingers, a

bright wall, and a dark night (or dark room!).

What You Need: lamp or flashlights, wall or ceiling


Darkness comes early on these wintery days. With a little light projected onto a wall and lots of imagination, children have lots of fun creating shadow animals and other story characters.
Try out these old time favorites and soon children will be making up their own versions or birds, animals, and people.

shadow animals: elephant, rabbit, bird, and dog

Try these classic animal shadows!

Once the children have their own favorite characters, encourage them to interact with each other to let the stories begin! Continue reading

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For the Birds!

It is the season for birds singing, building nests, and strutting their feathers. Join in the action with your own silly bird who wants to join the flock!
What You Need: Colorful tag board, pipe cleaners, glue, scissors, stapler Optional: googly eye, feathers, paper fastener


Photo of paper bird.

How do you think the big pink bird will fit in with the goldfinch on the feeder?

Use your imagination to create a colorful bird from colored tag board. Add some fun moveable parts by attaching wings to the body with a paper fastener and gluing on googly eyes. Bend pipe cleaners into legs and feet that cling to branches or other objects. These can be stapled to the body. Make your bird bright, bold and silly looking by adding other embellishments.

Now play with your bird in different outdoor locations to help you think of funny situations your bird might get into in nature.

Write About It!

Continue reading

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Pirate Adventure

Write a seafaring adventure with plenty of action and a pirate fit to shiver yer timbers!

pirate drawing

How many things were added to make this character look like a pirate?


Make a pirate ship out of a shoe box. Add cardboard on the sides in the shape of a ship’s sides. Use globs of clay in the the box to hold up sticks with paper sails.  All set… Now make some characters to act out your story.

Draw characters on thin cardboard or tagboard. Be sure to include details that make your characters come to life. How does a pirate dress? What else makes a character a pirate. How about a parrot, a chest of gold, a wooden leg….
What other characters do you need for your story? More pirates? A stowaway? A monkey? You decide…. Continue reading

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Fairy Tale Dress-Up

Playing dress-up is a great way to play the part and create colorful fairy tale characters to use in all kinds of magical stories.
What You Need: A play box full of fairy-tale inspired clothes and accessories.

Here are some ideas…

  • Fabric pieces and scarfs to use for capes, wings, shawls, sashes…
  • Cardboard cones, coins, wings, crowns, magic wands…
  • Hats- all sorts
  • Easy pull-on clothes
  • Vests
  • Old Halloween costumes
  • Dance costumes
  • Stuffed toy frog
Two girls dressed up in costumes

Two fairy tale characters prepared for adventure and magic.

Play! Try on different combination of outfits. Use safety pins and Velcro to help in the designs. All the time think about the character you are creating. How does this character fit into a fairy tale story? What does the character want in the story? What kind of magic will help? What other fairy tale characters do you meet? Make accessories as inspired by the character.

Act out stories until you have lots of ideas to write your own fairy tale.

Write About It!

Once Upon a TimeContinue reading

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