Believe it or not, pens can be tools for parent-child bonding. When you and your kids write together, you'll come to better understand one another's dreams and daily experiences.
Some of the following pen-related activities are humorous and lighthearted, and others are weightier, a little more serious. However, I believe that they'll all sharpen your children's writing abilities and let them really engage with the world around them.
1. Writing Stories About Elders
You and your children could interview a resident of a senior community or a relative from an older generation. And, of course, your children can take notes as they discuss what it was like to be young decades ago and how life has changed since then. After a series of conversations, you can assist your kids as they create handwritten profiles. This project lets children learn about the past in a vivid and personal way. What's more, they can practice their note-taking and descriptive skills.
2. Getting a Pen Pal
There are plenty of websites through which your children can find pen pals. Maybe you'd want to get one of your own. Then, every so often, you and your kids could sit down together, read the most recent letters you've received, discuss how you wish to respond and compose your answers. Writing a letter can be a welcome mental and emotional break from the frenetic pace of social media. And, if your family's pen pals live in distant nations, they can teach your kids about other cultures and perhaps spark a desire to explore the world.
3. Identifying a Hero
You might ask your children to write a short essay about someone who's helped them in a profound way or who's been an influence on them. It'll give your kids a chance to reflect on their past and to express gratitude. You could write a similar article as they're working on theirs. Finally, you might wish to send copies of those compositions to the individuals they're about. That's sure to put a smile on those people's faces, and those pieces of writing will likely become cherished keepsakes.
4. Working with Amusing Prompts
Search the internet for writing prompts that are fun and funny, and you'll find a wealth of websites to go to. After a while, you might start brainstorming questions of your own. An example would be asking your kids to come up with wildly unrealistic excuses for being late to school.
In coming up with responses, your children will stretch their imaginations. Equally appealing, when you read your answers to each other, they're sure to generate loads of laughter.
5. Starting Journals
Journals, in some form, have been around practically as long as the written word has. It's no wonder why. Writing about events soon after they happen enables people to celebrate victories and put disappointments into context. I've found that it can heal emotional wounds.
Once in a while, you and your kids can read your journal entries aloud. However, it's a good idea to let your children know that they can keep their thoughts private whenever they'd like to. That way, they'll be less inhibited and better equipped to work through their emotions in writing.
Also, I've noticed that older kids ― middle school age and up ― sometimes like to write in their journals about the social causes they care about.
6. Putting Together Trip Reports
Are you planning a special getaway anytime soon? If your family is headed to a beach, a national park, a theme park or another destination, you can get your children even more excited about this excursion by having them detail in ink all of the things they expect to see and do. Which aspects of the trip are they most looking forward to?
To complete this project, you can aid your kids in doing some research. You can start by looking for information online, and you might wish to go to a public library or even a travel agency. I always enjoy gathering colorful books, brochures and other reading materials and spreading them across my dining room table.
Then, after you return home, you and your kids can write about what actually happened while you were away. What, in fact, turned out to be your favorite parts of the journey? Did you see everything that you wanted to see? Were there any major surprises along the way? These reflections will serve to cement lasting memories, and they'll probably make you and your kids appreciate everything you did even more.
As a final note, remember that most, if not all, of the projects described above can be done with stylus pens on devices with touchscreens, such as iPads and iPhones. Some kids are more interested in that high-tech approach. But, whether their writing is on paper or in a digital form, I can assure you that the effect will be the same. The content will reflect their personalities, their senses of humor, their hopes and their fears. It will be just as distinct and as lovable as they are.