Saturday, September 22, 2012

Tips: Fun Family Writing Exercises

Joyce T. Strand, Editor
Strands Simply Tips
In response to those of you who have asked for some additional “Fun Family” writing exercises, following are some new suggestions.

As I have said before:  writing can be fun and even therapeutic.  Not only can writing itself be fun, but learning to write provides an opportunity for family entertainment. 

Beyond the cryptic tweet and text, we write an e-mail in search of a job, a carefully composed apology to make up for a mistake, or a message at work to help do our job.  Most important, communicating with one another continues to be the base of a relationship. Writing can be a valuable way to reach out to one another. 

So it makes sense to hone our writing skills.

At the same time, in this accelerated world, family members are preoccupied with their individual activities –Mom and Dad with their jobs and with maintaining a comfortable dwelling for the family, and kids with school, sports, band, debate club, and, of course, their chores. Sometimes we have time to read a book, but seldom do we have time to practice our writing skills. Frequently we find writing to be a drudgery and avoid it, basking in the brevity of social media.

So that’s why I’ve developed a series of Fun Family writing exercises. You can view some of my earlier suggestions by clicking on the Fun Family tab above.  Here are some new exercises:

·      Each member of the family to write a paragraph describing what you do when you return from school, work, the supermarket, or wherever. Do you have a ritual? Do you throw your backpack on the floor? Do you get something to eat? Do you change your clothes? Then everyone is to print out your paragraph – assuming you’ve written it on your computer – and put it into a pile and choose an alternative to read aloud to the entire family. If you’ve handwritten it, be sure it’s legible. See if your family can guess which is yours. You might be surprised at their reactions!
·      Write a paragraph about what happens in the morning getting ready for work (that includes homemakers) or school or writing a book etc. How many bathrooms do you have? Do you get up immediately when the alarm or mom calls? Do you run late? Read your paragraph aloud to the family. Be kind to your siblings!
·      Write a page or more of dialogue based on your family at dinner. Read it aloud at the next family dinner. Take turns. It might be interesting to see if your conversations improve or decline.
·      Write a paragraph describing your favorite Super Hero without naming him. All family members to put their paragraphs into a pile. Draw one out that’s not yours and read it aloud. See if family can guess who it is.  (Do not read your own, because your family will most likely know who your favorite hero is.)

·      Write about: A boy enters a room with his sister. Assign a paragraph to each family member. Do not share your paragraphs until everyone is finished. Then read them in the following order:
o   Write a paragraph to describe the room: is it a jail, a hotel, exercise room, bedroom? Small? Large? Does it smell fragrant or pungent? What kind of furniture does it have? Is it a restaurant? Bar? Is it humid or dry?
o   A second family member to write a paragraph to describe the boy: physical description, clothes, approximate age. Is he lean, sweaty, out of breath? Is he wearing shoes or is he barefoot?
o   A third family member to describe the sister. Is she taller than her brother? What color is her hair? Does she look like a sister? Is she dressed stylishly? Is she sweaty and out-of-breath?
o   A fourth family member describes the action of entering the room: did the two run into the room? Did they appear frightened, worried, secretive, happy?  Did they both appear the same as they entered the room?
o   If there are still other family members, write dialogue between the brother and sister. The brother wants to do something. The sister disagrees. The brother convinces her. They do the task and leave.
o   Additional family members can choose any of the above to write.
o   When you have all finished your paragraphs, read them aloud to the entire family in order. It should be an interesting story.

If you have other ideas for Fun Family writing exercises, please leave them as a comment so that we can all share them. I hope you agree writing itself is fun, and learning to write can provide an opportunity for family entertainment.


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