Sometimes all it takes to get the creative juices going for kids to write is a little inspiration. Below are 155 writing prompts for elementary age students and up that might provide a spark to get the imagination flowing.
Or click here to download a PDF of these Journal Writing Prompts that include 3 different formats for the prompts:
• Writing Prompt Checklists – Kids can pick and choose the prompts from the 10-page checklist and mark them off as they go.
• Writing Prompt Journal Jar Strips – Prompts are listed with guidelines to cut them into strips and put into a journal prompt jar for kids to randomly select when writers block rears its scary head
• Writing Prompt Month Long Grids – 8 pages of the prompts arranged in 4 rows of 5 blocks each can be used all month long for daily writing ideas. There are 6 bonus prompts included to complete the grids.
1. What is your least favorite chore? Make a list of ways you can make it more fun to do.
2. What is your favorite memory?
3. What is your favorite holiday and why?
4. What is your favorite time of day and why?
5. Choose any two of your favorite fairy tales and combine them into a new story.
6. What is your favorite color? Make a list of things that are your favorite color then write a poem using the list.
7. What is your favorite board game and why?
8. What is your favorite song and why?
9. Write an advertisement for your favorite product.
10. What is your favorite animal in the zoo and why?
11. Re-write your favorite fairy tale.
12. In as few words as you can, tell about your favorite book.
13. Make a list of your Top Ten Favorites of anything.
14. Write down your favorite joke.
What do you think?
15. Do you think because everybody else is doing something that it is O.K. for you to do it? Why or why not?
16. Do you think it is alright to watch movies with bad language and/or violence in them? Why or why not?
17. Do you think it is okay to listen to music that has lyrics that go against your beliefs? Why do you feel this way?
18. Do you think money can make someone happy? Why or why not?
19. Do you think people still judge others based on how they look? Why or why not?
20. Do you think that commercials influence people to buy products? Explain your answer.
21. Do you think that too much importance has been placed on giving gifts? Why or why not?
22. Explain why you think parents are sometimes strict.
23. Do you play video games? How do you think some people become addicted to video games?
24. Hunting is a popular sport. Explain why you are for or against hunting.
25. How do you think landing on the moon has changed the way people think about space exploration?
26. How do you think the world would be different if no books were ever printed?
27. What do you think the best job in the world would be?
28. What do you think the phrase "all talk and no action" means? Write a story about someone who was "all talk and no action".
29. Why do you think Disney is a popular tourist destination?
30. Why do you think it is important to have parks?
31. Why do you think it is important to save money?
32. Why do you think is it important for people to have dreams for the future?
33. Sometimes life seems unfair. Write about something you think is unfair and tell why.
34. Describe the perfect day.
35. Describe the ultimate ice cream sundae.
36. Using all of your senses except for sight, describe your country to someone who has never seen it.
37. Use exactly 50 words to describe yourself to a stranger.
38. Describe how your family decorates your home for the holidays.
Friendship and Family:
39. What makes a good friend? Who is your best friend and why?
40. What would you do if you knew a friend had lied to you?
41. Would you rather be alone, with a few friends, or in a big group? Explain why.
42. Write a letter to the world explaining 5 ways it can become a friendlier place to live.
43. You woke up this morning and realized that you are now your mother. What do you do?
44. Write about a time you spent with your father.
45. What are some ways you can focus on your family?
46. Write out your family's escape plan in case of a fire.
47. Did another family live in your house before you? Make up a story about their life in your home.
48. Write a thank-you note to your parents.
Make a List:
49. Make a list of 10 onomatopoeic words (words that resemble the sound they refer to – i.e. pop, bang, zoom) Then write a short story using them.
50. Make a list of 10 ways you can keep safe.
51. Make a list of 20 things you can do when you are bored.
52. Make a list of 25 words that you just find interesting then write a story using them.
53. Make a list of 5 things you'd like to change in your life and why?
54. We always seem to be waiting for something. Make a list of things you can do while waiting.
55. Make a list of 10 things you can do to make life easier for someone in your family.
Have you Ever?
56. Have you ever been bullied? Do you know a bully? How does that person make you feel? Why do you think they are a bully?
57. Have you ever been lazy about doing something? Tell about it and the results of being lazy.
58. Have you ever done anything wrong and no one found out about it? What? How did it make you feel?
59. Have you ever judged a person by the way they looked only to find out that they were nothing like you thought? Write about it.
60. Have you ever used your imagination to do a job or a project? What did you do and how did it turn out?
61. You have been given $100,000. You can spend it any way you want. What do you do with the money?
62. You have been given a day off. What do you like to do when you have free time and why?
63. You have been invited to play on a T.V. game show. On which show do you think you would be a good contestant and why?
64. You have been locked in a major department store alone at night and you can't leave. What do you do while waiting to be let out in the morning?
65. You have been put in charge of planning a special meal for dinner. Write out your menu.
66. You have found some money on the floor of a store. What do you do with it and why?
67. You have just won a trip around the world for four people. Who do you take with you and why?
68. You have three wishes. What do you wish for?
69. Your parents have given you permission to redecorate your room any way you want. What do you do?
70. What is something that really bothers you?
71. What is the hardest part about being a kid?
72. What is the one thing that you would not like having to do without and why?
73. What makes you laugh?
74. What was the scariest thing that has ever happened to you?
75. What would you do with a million dollars?
76. When you have a problem who do you talk to and why?
77. Which do you think is easier to do, to write a story or to do math problems? Explain why it is easier for you.
78. Who is your hero (real or fictional) and why?
79. Which character from The Wizard of Oz do you think you are most like and why?
80. Make a timeline of your life.
81. Make a schedule of your day in reverse, starting with going to bed working your way back to getting up.
82. Go 25 years into your future. What is going on in your life?
83. Are you a leader or a follower? Why do you think so?
84. Choose something you do every day and explain the easiest way to do it.
85. People collect all sorts of things. Write about something you collect and why you collect it. If you don't have a collection, write about something you might like to collect.
86. Think about a time when you were proud of an accomplishment you made. Write about it and why you were proud.
87. If you could give something to anyone in the world, what would it be and to whom would you give it?
88. If you could go anywhere in the universe where would you go? What would you do there?
89. If you could have any animal in the world as a pet, what would you choose and why?
90. If you could meet anyone in the world, who would you like to meet and why?
91. If you had to choose, what would you be: a cat or a dog. Why?
92. If you were a plant, what kind would you be and why?
93. If you were to describe yourself as a color, what would it be and why?
Think about it:
94. Instead of getting angry and fighting with someone, what are some ways you can "keep the peace"?
95. What are some things that clutter your life? How can you tame that clutter?
96. What are some ways that you can put others first?
97. What are some ways you can help keep our country beautiful?
98. What are some ways you can help the poor, homeless, and alone?
99. What do you consider the best thing about living in our country?
100. What does independence mean to you?
101. What does the phrase "the truth will set you free" mean to you?
102. What would the world be like if no one used their manners?
103. What would the world be like if there was no math?
104. What do you think the world be like without gravity?
105. When someone says "in the good old days" what thoughts come to your mind?
106. What book would you like to see made into a movie? Who would you have play the characters?
107. What are the pros and cons of watching T.V.?
108. Pretend that you are a firework. Tell about your life.
109. Pretend you are a baby bird. What frightens you more: falling from your nest or learning to fly? Why?
110. Pretend you are planning a backyard carnival. Using only the things you have at your home, write out a plan for games and rides that you would create.
111. Pretend you are running for President. Make a campaign poster explaining why people should vote for you.
112. What if you changed colors as your mood changed? What colors would you be for each mood? What color would you be the most often?
113. You are walking down the street and you see someone who could be your identical twin. Write a story about what happens next.
114. Your toys have suddenly come to life. Write about what happens.
115. You woke up this morning and you can understand what animals are saying to each other. Write a dialog of what you might hear.
116. You have been shrunk to 3" tall. How do you get around safely? How do you do everyday tasks?
117. Imagine there were 8 days in a week instead of 7. Give that day a name and tell what you would do on that day.
118. Imagine! You are digging in your backyard and you find a buried chest. You open it. What do you find inside?
119. While walking along the beach, you find a message in a bottle. What does it say? What do you do with it?
120. You are a snowflake. What is your life like?
121. You decide to plant a garden. You have magic seeds. What grows in your garden?
122. Instead of rain, what do you wish would fall down on your front lawn?
123. Imagine you just got a really bad haircut. Describe ways you can either hide it or make it better.
124. Your spaceship has landed on a new planet. Describe what that planet is like and any life forms that may exist.
125. You are a clothing designer. Describe the outfit you created.
126. Invent a new flavor of ice cream. Describe it.
127. Invent your own sport. How do you play it and what are the rules?
128. Lots of people wear sandals or flip flops during the summer. Write a story about a trip to the beach from your sandals' viewpoint.
129. Imagine you turned on your water faucet one day and fruit punch came out of it. Describe what you would do.
130. Your house is made from a giant pumpkin. Using all your senses, describe what it is like.
131. Describe your life as a worm living inside of an apple.
132. If you were an inventor, what would you invent? Describe your invention and what it would be used for.
133. "Please" and "Thank you" are sometimes referred to as "magic words." Write a story where whenever someone says those words something magical happens.
134. The color green is illegal. What would the world be like?
135. You have discovered you have a superpower. What is your superpower and what do you do with it?
Poetry and more:
136. A limerick is a special kind of 5 lined poetry (usually silly) where the 1st, 2nd, and 5th lines rhyme, and the 3rd and 4th lines rhyme. Write your own limerick.
137. Among his many accomplishments, Benjamin Franklin wrote Poor Richard's Almanac that included many of his own proverbs. Write your own wise saying and tell what it means.
138. Poet Walt Whitman is sometimes referred to as the father of free verse. Free verse has no strict meter or rhyme. Write your own free verse poem.
139. Write your own nursery rhyme.
140. Write a poem about your favorite thing to do.
Just for Fun:
141. Set a timer for 5 minutes. Now write down everything that pops into your head until the timer goes off, even if it doesn't make sense.
142. Finish this story: Yesterday I saw something funny…
143. Using a dictionary for examples, write a dictionary entry for a new word you created.
144. Using a recipe from either a cookbook or recipe file as an example of how a recipe is written, write your own recipe for success.
145. Write a 5-sentence short story using the same verb in each sentence. Then rewrite that same story, but this time use a different verb in each sentence.
146. Write a HELP WANTED ad that advertises for a substitute parent.
147. Write a news story about a recent event in your life. Be sure to answer who, what, when, where, why, and how.
148. Write a short story with an animal as the main character.
149. You want to set a world record. What do you choose to do to set a record?
150. Create a public service announcement explaining how you can safely use the internet.
151. Find a picture on the wall or from a magazine and pretend you are in that place. Write about it.
152. The power has gone out. How would you spend your time without electricity?
153. You are creating a time capsule. What are you going to put into it and why?
154. Ask someone to give you five random words and use them to write a story.
155. Write the letters of your name down the page, one letter for each line. For each letter either write an adjective that describes you beginning with that letter or a short sentence that starts with that letter.