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The world has suddenly been turned upside down by COVID-19, or the coronavirus. Many of us are working from home and most of us have kids who are also home because schools are closed. No one knows when things will get back to normal. We don’t want our kids to get bored and we don’t want their brains to turn to mush over the next few weeks or months while we are all practicing social distancing.
It is stressful to think about being in charge of your kid’s education when you are not a teacher or have never considered homeschool. Whether you are going all out homeschool or you are just trying to add in a few educational activities into the day to keep your kids (and yourself) sane, here are 50 journal prompts for kids that you can use to keep them writing while they are stuck at home during the coronavirus.
Why Bother with Journal Prompts for Kids?
If you are wondering why you should even bother with journal prompts for kids that are stuck at home during this strange time, there are a number of reasons why journaling is a useful activity for your kids. First of all, journaling is a well-known stress reliever. Writing down your thoughts helps you to realize and manage your feelings. Just because our kids may not understand the full implications of the current situation, does not mean it is not stressful or worrisome for them.
They know things are different and maybe a little scary right now. We cannot really answer the questions they may be asking like when can they go back to school, when can they see their friends, and when will things go back to normal? Being able to write about how they are feeling through these journal prompts for kids can help them process how they are feeling and work through those thoughts.
Besides being a good stress reliever, having some journal prompts for kids to respond to every day is an easy way for them to practice good writing skills. Simply, the more practice someone gets writing, the better writer they become. With these journal prompts for kids, younger kids get the practice of writing complete sentences and practice understanding how to explain themselves and provide details. Older kids get the practice of giving enough detail to support their ideas in a thoughtful and organized manner.
Keep in mind that any practice is good practice. Having your kids respond to prompts at home is not meant to be stressful for them – or for you. So remember to keep it light, try not to push them for perfection, and resist the urge to pull out a red pen and “grade” their responses every day.
Set Them Up for Success
Before you get your kiddos started on writing, set them up for success. Dig out a couple of those extra notebooks you have lying around that you bought for back-to-school or make your own by stapling some paper together. Then make them fun! Dress them up with cute drawings. Print out their favorite character and paste it to the front. You can even have them decorate their notebooks themselves with stickers and drawings. Go with whichever option you know will make them more excited about writing in their journal every day.
Once you have their journals ready to go, write out some clear basic instructions in the front of their notebooks. Something short and sweet like this: Using complete sentences (with capital letters and periods) write one full page in response to the writing prompt for the day. Look in your notebook for your writing prompt for the day! Then, every day write out a new journal prompt at the top of the page and number them. Make it a little more fun by writing their journal prompts in a different colored pen or colored pencil each day. If nothing else, it will make it a little more fun for you.
On day one and every day after that, set aside time for your kids to write in their journals. Having writing time at the same time every day is a good idea just to be sure you keep up the habit but do not feel pressure to force your kids to sit down and write at 9:30 a.m. every day. If they are in the middle of playing nicely together or reading a book or you are deep in a family game of Monopoly, wait until later for writing.
Once it is time for writing time, let them find a comfy spot, settle in, and take their time writing. Do not set time limits unless the prompt is something like “Write for 15 minutes straight about whatever comes to your mind.” Let them write for as little or as long as it takes for them to respond to their writing prompt for that day. Remember, this is not supposed to be stressful.
50 Journal Prompts for Kids
Now that you have everything ready, here are 50 journal prompts for kids to get your kiddos writing while they are stuck at home. These prompts are suited for elementary and middle school kids. They have not been divided into age groups or grade levels because you know your kids best. Choose the journal prompts for kids that best suit your kiddos’ ability level, and remember to set your expectations for the type of response they can give based on their age, grade, and ability.
- What is your favorite thing or things about summer? Why are these your favorite? What do you like about them?
- Describe 3 interesting, exciting, or weird things about yourself.
- (As a follow up to #2) Choose one of the things you listed yesterday and describe why it is interesting or weird.
- Imagine your school is thinking about making everyone wear a uniform to school. Do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea? Explain.
- Write about 3 things that worry you. Explain why each of these things worries you.
- What is your favorite book? What makes it your favorite?
- What is kindness? Define what you think kindness is and give examples.
- You are locked in a room with your greatest fear. Describe what is in the room.
- If you were president, what one thing would you change about this country? Why?
- Do you think someone needs to have a college education to be successful? Why or why not?
- In what ways have you changed since you started elementary/middle school?
- If you could only eat one thing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for an entire week, what would you eat? Why?
- Write about someone you care about and why they are important to you.
- Think about something you own that is one of your favorite things. Describe this item using words that explain how it looks, smells, sounds, and feels. Describe it so someone who has never seen it could picture it in their mind.
- What character from a book would you like to meet? Why?
- Write about something that you thought you couldn’t do, but did anyway. What happened when you tried it? How did it turn out?
- What is your favorite hobby? Why is it your favorite? What do you like about it?
- If you got to be principal for one week, what would you do?
- Should schools give homework? Why or why not?
- What is your favorite thing about yourself? Why is that your favorite thing?
- What makes you feel happy? Why?
- What makes you feel sad? Why?
- What makes you angry? Why?
- What is your favorite thing about your family? Why is that your favorite?
- If you could design an amusement park, what would you put in it? (You could follow up this writing prompt for kids with an art project where they draw their amusement park!)
- If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would it be? Why? What would you do?
- Describe your perfect day.
- Where is your favorite place to go on vacation? What do you like to do there?
- What would happen if dinosaurs still existed?
- If you could be a superhero, what superpower(s) would you have?
- Describe one thing you are good at doing.
- When you are sad, how do you cheer yourself up?
- What is your favorite subject in school? Why is that your favorite?
- What is your favorite season of the year – winter, spring, summer, or fall? What do you like about that season?
- If you could have any animal for a pet, what animal would you choose?
- Pick a book from your bookshelf. Open it up to any page. Copy down the first full sentence on the page. Now write your own short story with that as your first sentence.
- Imagine that you meet a dragon while walking in the forest. Describe what happens next.
- If you could be famous, would you be a famous singer, actor, chef, writer, or something else? Why?
- Imagine your school was going to get rid of art and music classes to save money. Do you think this is a good idea or not? Explain.
- What is your favorite game to play that is not a video game? What do you like about it?
- Do you like cats or dogs more? Why did you choose the one that you did?
- A lot of people around the world eat bugs as part of their diet. Would you ever try eating a bug? Why or why not? If you have already tried eating bugs, what was it like? Did you like it or not?
- What is your favorite movie? In that movie, who is your favorite character and why?
- Write a short story that starts with this sentence: “One morning I woke up and everything was upside down.”
- Do you like to be around a lot of people or would you rather be alone or with just one or two other people? Why? What do you like about the one you chose? What do you not like about the other choice?
- If you could go into the future, what would you like to do or find out?
- If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and what would you want to do there?
- If you could do something that you have never done before, what would it be? Why would you want to do that particular thing?
- Describe a happy memory.
- What is the hardest thing about being your age?
Hopefully, these journal prompts for kids will inspire your kids to write some thoughtful journal entries and help you keep your sanity while you are all stuck at home together. Read them over after your kids write them and respond with a sentence or two about something you liked about what they wrote or tell them what your favorite season or place to visit would be. Even better, encourage them to read you what they wrote and talk about it. You might be surprised at some of the things they come up with when given the time to write down their thoughts. Happy writing!
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article on How to Homeschool During the COVID-19 Crisis.
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