Playful Ways to Encourage Young Kids to Write

It’s never too early to start writing. Young kids can get a jumpstart on writing skills through what they know best–play! Give kids writing tools, simple suggestions, and the rest is up to them.

It’s best not to push or require kids to write, but to encourage writing and see where it leads. Give ideas, model writing, and see if your child gets inspired to do the same.

For example, you might enthusiastically say, “I’ve got an idea. Want to make road signs for your cars like we have on real streets?” Then see what happens.

Here are some playful ways to encourage young kids to write during activities they may already be doing at home.


Ways to Encourage Writing

  • Signs
  • Menus
  • Taking orders
  • Receipts

Playing restaurant with your child provides several opportunities to use writing. First, your child may want to give the restaurant a name and make a sign to hang up. Then, he’ll need menus for the customers so they know what foods are available.

Once your child has set up his restaurant, he’ll need to take orders. If your child has an apron to wear, slip a small notebook and pencil in the pocket.

Finally, if your child loves using money and having customers pay, then have him give you a receipt. It could have the restaurant’s name at the top with a simple total price for the bill.


Ways to Encourage Writing

  • Shopping lists
  • Price tags with item names and costs
  • Receipts

Whether you’re setting up a clothing store or a grocery store, shopping is another playful way to encourage writing in young children. Get a small stack of post-its and have your kids label items for sale with the sales price. In a grocery store, they may want to make signs to show where produce, meats, and dairy are located.

The customer can make a shopping list before entering the store and use the list to help get assistance from the store worker. “Can you please help me find this item on my list?” This encourages young ones to attempt reading too.

Post Office

Ways to Encourage Writing

  • Mailboxes
  • Stationery
  • Envelopes

Playing post office is another easy way to encourage writing. Make individual mailboxes for every member of the family and place them outside bedroom doors. Make sure names and imaginary addresses are visual on the boxes. Throughout the week encourage everyone to participate by writing letters or notes to each other.

Make a letter writing kit (without the stamps), so materials can be accessed easily when the writing mood hits. Provide a post office box to gather the letters people write. Your child can play the role of mail carrier and deliver the mail to the appropriate mailboxes.

Doctor’s Office

Ways to Encourage Writing

  • Patient information
  • Prescriptions
  • Informational signs about health

Going to the doctor also involves writing. Have your child take note of patient information on a form on a clipboard. She can write about the reason for the patient’s visit, the diagnosis, and any instructions for the patient. If a prescription is given, she can write that down on a separate slip of paper to take to the pharmacy.

If your child wants to create a doctor’s office, she may include charts on the wall for patients can read. Have her think about what kinds of things you see when you visit the doctor. Signs and charts about eating healthy and exercising are great ideas.

Veterinary Clinic

Ways to Encourage Writing

  • Medications
  • Patient information
  • Pet care posters/pamphlets

Similar to playing doctor office, a veterinarian clinic can include the same kinds of writing opportunities but focused around pets. Signs in the examination room might include ways to take care of your pet or advertisements for toys and pet food. Kids can make pamphlets for pet owners describing vaccinations or other information. Your child can also make collars with name tags for his stuffed animal pets at the clinic.

Things That Go

Ways to Encourage Writing

  • Traffic signs
  • Street signs
  • Traffic violation tickets

Kids love to play with cars, trucks, and things that go. Using writing to create traffic signs and street names is a fun way to organize a town or city on the floor, or in several rooms of the house. Use popsicle sticks and play dough to make simple signs. Attach small paper signs with tape.

Another way to play with “things that go” is to use life-size vehicles and signs. We spend a lot of time up in our barn cruising around on scooters, tricycles, skateboards, and plasma cars. Using your driveway or an empty parking lot, set up traffic signs and street signs with meter sticks or tree branches. Designate a police office to regulate traffic and write up traffic tickets as needed.

You can use blank paper for any of these playful writing ideas, or you can use these free templates. With encouragement from you, your young child will be happily playing and writing!

A big thank you to Lisa Truesdell of Homeschool Notes for writing this article.

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