My kids are big fans of Valentine’s Day and get pretty excited when the stores fill up with all things heart-shaped. The holidays barely behind us, I’d love a few months of not being inundated by seasonal marketing, but I appreciate the themes of friendship, connection, and kindness that come along with February. I’m always looking for opportunities to incorporate writing into our days, and I’ve found embracing the month of love offers my children all sorts of reasons to write.
Love letters to grandparents, heart maps, notes to friends, poetry, and writing games, here are a few of my favorite ways to encourage writing in February.
February Writing Prompts
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Sometimes the simplest way to get our kids writing is to gather a few supplies. Grab a handful of fun pencils, pens, a stack of colored paper, and a couple of packs of cards. Spread everything out on the kitchen table and see what happens.
While my children like the boxes of tiny perforated cards (and the stickers and treats that often come with them), those pre-designed Valentines don’t offer much room to write. Some years we skip them, other years those cards go to friends. Either way, I always make sure we have regular note cards and construction paper on hand, so writing has a place to happen.
Gifts of Love
I find when my kids have an audience, they are often more interested in writing. Making cards is a wonderful way to encourage writing and connection. It can be helpful to begin by talking about who or what we each love and who might enjoy getting a card from us.
Kids might make cards for ~
- Each other
- Co-op teachers
- Friends & Family
- Dolls/Stuffed Animals
This exercise from Georgia Heard is a great way for kids to brainstorm about what they love and what matters to them. It’s also a wonderful way to gather ideas for writing.
- Draw a big heart on a piece of paper.
- In the center of the heart, have your child write down someone or thing they love a lot. Maybe ask them who or what means the most to them.
- Now have your child fill the heart up with words naming the people, places, and things that are important to them.
- They can also write down happy or sad memories, secrets of the heart, things they miss, and dreams they have.
- They can put words outside their hearts, play with color, or make more than one heart.
- Once completed, a heart map holds all sorts of personal writing prompts.
Freewrites are great because anything goes! Kids can let their muses take them in any direction. Sometimes it’s helpful to have a few words to lead them in. Here’s a few to get them started.
- I remember when . . .
- I love . . .
- I’ll never forget . . .
- I love you because . . .
Similar to freewrites, writers can go in any direction they choose, but a fastwrite invites writers to let go of their inner critic and write as fast as they can. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Let kids know there is need to worry about spelling or grammar and to write as fast as they can. It’s okay to make mistakes or go off on tangents. Kids can use the prompts above or try these:
- If I could give . . .
- Friendship is . . .
- One day in February . . .
- On a cold and snowy night . . .
Often an old standby, my children love making acrostic poems. Kids might choose an adjective that describes the person they are writing to or use a word like Love, Friendship, or Valentine.
Play Pass the Poem
Often silly, this writing activity may not create the most eloquent poems, but it makes writing pretty fun!
- Each person begins with a piece of paper (lined works well) and writes on two lines of the paper. This could be two sentences or one long sentence on two lines.
- You might decide to all include a shared word or theme like friendship or hearts or write about a certain person.
- Once each writer finishes, they fold down the paper, so only the last line they wrote is showing.
- Pass the poems and write two more lines based on what the previous person wrote.
- Fold so only one line is showing, pass, and repeat until the page is filled up.
- Unfold and share (and probably laugh a lot).
I’ve found when I sit down with my children, write with them, model taking my time, and talk about who I’m writing to or what I’m writing about, they are more likely to find inspiration and the motivation to write.
One of the best ways to encourage young writers is by reading.
Read poetry together and have kids choose their favorite line from the poem and then begin a poem of their own. Or, have your children try their hand at the forms or styles you’re reading. Maybe they’ll want to rewrite a stanza or create a Found Poem and rearrange words from poem to recreate one of their own.
Here are a few poetry collections your children might enjoy.
- Read-Aloud Poems: 120 of the World’s Best-Loved Poems for Parent and Child to Share by Glorya Hayle
- Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman
- Poetry for Young People: Maya Angelou, edited by Dr. Edwin Graves Wilson Ph.D
- Poetry for Young People: Robert Louis Stevenson, edited by
When we encourage our children to write, we not only help our kids practice an important skill, we offer them opportunities to connect with themselves and the people they love. Let February’s themes of love and friendship inspire your young writers.