How to Get Tweens Writing
This Summer

by Sophie McNeill

Photo credit: Laurence Mouton, PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections/Getty Images

Summer’s here again. My children’s pure joy at the end of another school year is perfectly matched by my own despair at what on earth to do with them over eight (eight!) camp-less weeks. My eldest announced last night that she’s already read all the good books in the library, and I have a nasty suspicion that she might actually be telling the truth.

When I was a kid, my mum’s response to any complaint of boredom was “Write me a story.” I’m starting to think she was on to something. Especially as my kiddo claims she would like to be a writer when she grows up. I figure she could do with the practice, right?

So, this is my strategy to get her writing this summer. We’ll see if it works!

Super Supplies
In my childhood years, nothing incentivized me to write more than a blank composition book, or perhaps even something a little fancier. I found some nice hardcover spiral-bound pads in my local store but I bet creative families could make something fabulous from a plain book and some unique gift-wrap. Tiny Prints also offer personalized notebook designs, which my kids would find irresistible. I also invested in some glitter gel pens in my kids’ favorite colors (sneaky!)

Story Starters
The next thing we’ll need is some writing prompts. Scholastic’s Story Starters tool is a fun way for a kid or adult to generate writing prompts but there are also lots of lists online. Summer writing prompts should be really juicy and interesting — after all, this isn’t homework. I’ve curated my favorite writing prompts, which you can download at the end of the article. It’s fun to print them out, cut them up, put them in a jar, and get your kid to select one at random when that moment of boredom strikes.

For the really time-pressed, I’ve also found some journals suitable for tweens that incorporate writing prompts:

  • R. Gibson’s Bolts of Lightning Guided Journal contains writing prompts as well as drawing prompts, quizzes, and games. Examples include, “You are a superhero. Tell the story of how you got your superpowers.”
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid’s Do-it-Yourself Book looks like a great way for kids to make their own cartoons, and fill in fun facts and lists, Wimpy Kid-style.
  • Usbourne’s Write Your Own Story Book is harder to come by, but focuses solely on writing, without drawing or games. It suggests lots of different story themes such as murder mystery or outer space. Each activity has suggestions for characters, settings, and objects to include, as well as questions to prompt the imagination.

Long Live the Letter
Since this is my daughter’s first time at sleep-away camp I’m also hoping to revive the long-lost art of letter writing. I’m thinking about sending her off with some great stationery and pre-addressed envelopes. Making our own stationery could be really fun. Of course, we’ll have to keep our plans secret from each other so we don’t spoil the surprise.


Download these creative writing prompts to get your tween started!

15 Great Writing Prompts for Tweens
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