10 Open-Ended Writing Activities for Kids

I love writing activities for kids so much that I generally try to add some form of writing to everything M and M do. When Rebecca from Children Inspire Design offered me an Explorer Journal in exchange for sharing it with you, I was very excited! The journal is intended to be open-ended, meaning that each explorer will choose  their own way to fill it. M and M are enjoying their’s so much! Little M has about 20 notebooks and journals, this is her current favorite.

10 Open Ended Writing Activities for Kids (Plus an Explorer Journal to do them in)

10 Open-Ended Writing Activities for Kids

  1. Offer a secret mission. Ask you kids to write down everything they spy another family member doing for one day.
  2. Make it a vacation surprise. We gave the kids these journals on the first day of our road trip. It worked out perfectly and they recorded the events of our trip without any additional prompting from us.
  3. Bring it out for science experiments. Invite your little scientist to record each step of the experiment.
  4. Suggest a toy story.  Bring out a favorite toy, place it in the middle of the table and ask your kids to write a story about it.
  5. Doodle day. Write a few words or names on the top of a page in the notebook (with permission of course… learned that lesson the hard way). See how many different ways your kids can rewrite the word. Block, fancy, all capitals, backwards, etc.
  6. List it. Lists are just plain fun. Have your kids make a list or two. If they need prompting suggest friends’ names, favorite movies, foods that are cold, characters, things they’d like to learn, etc.
  7. Bring it out for pretend play. Make a map of a hidden pirate treasure (or suggest your little one does) and see how quickly that journal becomes a pretend play tool.
  8. Word Art. Have your kids draw a picture and then fill the page with words that describe or relate to the picture.
  9. Make it a happiness journal. Now I just wouldn’t be me if I didn’t suggest this! Have your little one write things that make them happy.
  10. Just hand it over. Sometimes all a kid needs is a blank page and a pencil to get writing.

Check out the Explorer Journal. (And then look around Children Inspire Design. You will find some really beautiful pieces!)

What are your favorite ways to offer writing activities for kids?


  1. Thank you so much, Jill, for this terrific list of writing ideas. Love the idea of the secret mission. At the moment, my boys love drawing new inventions and labelling the different parts or describing what the inventions do. Great for getting the imagination going as well as the writing skills. Thanks again for sharing.

    1. Inventions!!! Awesome! Big M is all about roller coasters (probably because he’s terrified and trying to figure out how they work.) 😉

  2. So far my 6 year old daughter is a reluctant writer, at least during vacations, but she loves lists. Perhaps I should consider a journal of lists – thanks for the idea.

  3. as a former teacher I think this is a great idea…… any thing which encourages writing activities is to be encouraged. combining drawing and writing appeals to most children. I used to do a folded booklet with my pupils……. a page written and a page drawn

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