Pen Pal Writing Tips and Resources For Kids

Pen Pal Writing Tips and Resources for Kids |

Pen pals are a fun way for kids to practice writing skills. My kids have had a couple over the years and it is something they always enjoyed. It’s something I enjoyed as a kid, too. I remember one in particular that I traded a few letters with that lived in Spain.

How to Find a Pen Pal

You can find a pen pal a few different ways:

What to Write About

Depending on your comfort level, the sky is the limit. As a parent, I would caution children to not divulge TOO much information, particulars of regular habits like shopping at such and such every Tuesday or a special event before it happens. Writing about events afterwards allows you a chance to give more details without risking your safety.

Ask questions and then answer them yourself. “What do you like to do for fun? I like to read and ride my bike.”

Tell about something special that happened recently. Maybe you attended a wedding or someone you know had a baby that you got to visit.

Talk about the general area in which you live. Maybe there is a famous landmark near you that you have visited.

Ways to Make Pen Pal Writing Even More Fun

Write in Code

Create a key for your secret code and mail it separately. Then write each other in your very own secret spy code! You will need to assign a code mark for each letter of the alphabet, like A=5, B=9, C=22 or something.

Take Turns Writing a Story

Write the opening paragraph to a story and send it to your pen pal. Have them write the next paragraph and send it back to you. Keep adding to it until you feel it is finished.

Mail Something Unusual

You don’t have to send a letter in an envelope every time. Here are a few things you can mail through the postal service:

Get Creative With Your Envelopes

Try decorating your envelopes for some added fun. Try using washi tape, creative letteringuse your envelope as your canvas for some artwork, or don’t even bother with an envelope.

A Couple More Resources

I came across a couple other resources while writing this post that I thought I would pass along, too.

Writing That’s Fun for Kids

Writing That's Fun for Kids! |

Writing isn’t something that comes naturally for all kids. For some kids, it is down right hard. Whether you have a kid who struggles with a writing disability or just doesn’t like to write, making it boring is never going to work. Even kids who like to write, don’t like to write boring stuff!

One of the things I’d like to work with my kids this year is to learn to like writing a bit more. I’ve had a mixture of one who struggled to write fluidly and one who can, but just doesn’t like to and I’d like to help them both. Writing is a great tool for communication and there are many professions that benefit from being able to write well.

Let’s try adding some fun to writing and see where that takes us!

Writing That’s Fun for Kids

Create Your Own Mad Libs

My kids LOVE mad libs. They love the silly stories that are produced. To make their own, have them write a simple story (1-2 paragraphs), but encourage them to use good descriptive sentences. You will want to double space your lines to make it easier to read. This is their mad lib story frame.

Now, go through the story and circle some nouns, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns…you get the idea. Write what type of word it is (noun, verb, etc.) on the line below. Erase the circled word.

Have each child take a turn asking the other(s) for words to fill in the blanks. Read your silly story and laugh and laugh!


Don’t roll your eyes, journaling can be FUN! This doesn’t have to be a soon forgotten “dear diary” affair. Try putting a twist on the journal:

  • Use story prompts. Giving a kid a blank page can be paralyzing to some, start them with a question or statement or two and see where they go.
  • Write a fictional journal. Have them write from the perspective of a favorite book or movie character or historical figure.
  • Head back to the future or jump into the past. Write from the perspective of themselves 10 years from now or 5 years ago.
  • Don’t go it alone. Write with them. Write notes or letters to each other and keep it as a top secret, between you and me thing. You might be surprised how well this works.

Get Biographical

Some kids like to talk about themselves, let them write their life’s story. You can make this a longer-term project by picking life events that happened and asking them to write about those individually. Then compile them in chronological order to create a memoir or autobiography.

If you have a kid that is interested in people, have them interview someone special to them and then write their biography. This could even be turned into a gift for the biographee.

Not ready for a longer length biography? Try creating a profile! Have them do them for friends and family or have them make up some characters. Encourage them to think about things like what the character would like or dislike, are they a generally happy or grumpy person. Encourage them to create details.

Writing doesn’t have to be boring. If you have a reluctant writer, try something new. Sometimes that is all it takes to light a passion aflame!

Story Prompts to Encourage Creative Writing

20 Prompts to Encourage Creative Writing for Kids -

You can probably imagine that I like to write. I kind of love it, in fact, but I know not everyone does. Some kids are reluctant to write, they can’t seem to make a connection with what’s in their imagination to their hand to put it on paper. Some draw a blank when a blank piece of paper is put in front of them.

Some just think it is boring

That’s when a story prompt can be of help. Simple questions or statements that get their creative juices flowing. Here’s a list of story prompts to help the process along:

Story Prompts That Ask a Question

  • What would happen if you woke up suddenly with one super power?
  • How would you spend $1,000 dollars?
  • What would the perfect meal be?
  • Where would you travel if money and time weren’t a problem?
  • What fictional character would you like to live a day in their life?
  • What is your idea of the perfect day?
  • What holiday would you like to create?
  • How would you like to change the world?
  • Which would you rather be, rich and sad or poor and happy?
  • What time period would you like to live in?

Statement Story Prompts

  • I had never been so surprised in my life.
  • There was only one option if they wanted to find the buried treasure, they must…
  • Suddenly, everyone in the room jumped.
  • The best story I ever heard went like this.
  • If there was one thing I dreaded most in school, it would be…
  • He felt the wind in his hair as he rode along the trail.
  • My family always does this when we celebrate Thanksgiving.
  • The little dog scampered up the hill and what he saw made him run even faster.
  • My favorite thing to do in the whole wide world is…
  • If I could witness one event in history, I would pick…

Get creative and you can probably come up with some prompts that involve your child’s interests. Involve superheroes, animals, or family members and see what kind of creative story your young writer can come up with.

How to Write Acrostic Poetry With Kids

How to Write Acrostic Poetry with Kids with free printables, includuing a printable card from

April is National Poetry Month and we’ve celebrated by reading poetry books so far. I decided to take it a step further and try writing some poetry. We are starting with acrostic poems and I’ll tell you more about that in a minute, but first I want to talk about this project.

I’ve partnered with Carla of Preschool Powol Packets as she has coordinated a group of bloggers to bring you a month-long celebration of poetry. Be sure to check out the other posts in the series!

What is Acrostic Poetry?

An acrostic poem uses the letters of a topical word to start the lines for the poem. An example:

Many are the hours
Ornery are the children
Measureless are the blessings

Yes, that beauty is all mine. Once upon a time I fancied myself a poet, don’t you know it?

There can be more to acrostics, but for the sake of our post, simple works. You can read more on Wikipedia about acrostics (yes, I know I just linked to Wikipedia…the shame…).

Write a Simple Acrostic Poem to Get Started

A simple way to do this with kids is to have them write their name vertically down a piece of paper, then use each letter to find words that describe them. They do not have to rhyme. Here’s an example:

Simple Acrostic Poetry with Kids

Another Vicki Arnold original. I’m on a creative roll today. Snort. (I like to keep my writing authentically me…I snort when I laugh.)

Acrostic Poetry Printable Pack

Now it is time for you to have fun with your kids. I’ve included a printable pack for you to print out and have fun creating some spring time inspired acrostics. You can round out your time by reading some silly poetry with the kids to inspire them that poetry doesn’t have to be a droll process.

Download your set today!

Poetry Contest for Kids

Celebrate National Poetry Month with your kids and have them write some of their own poetry. Over on Preschool Powol Packets, there is a form to fill out to submit your child’s poetry. Some information from the page:

Poems will be judged on creativity, originality, style, and language.  Judging may be subjective and all decisions are final.  This year’s contest will be judged by the lovely Becky at This Reading Mama.  All entries will be anonymized and winning entries will be published on host blogs with the child’s first name only.  Prizes will be awarded to the first place winner in each age category.  All entrants will also receive a downloadable/printable participation bookmark! PLEASE NOTE: PRIZES CAN ONLY BE SHIPPED TO ADDRESSES IN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES.

Sponsors of the Contest

Discover With Dr. Cool:



Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a sweet poetry book, too!

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Other Poetry Celebration Co-Hosts

Preschool Powol Packets ~ Homeschool Encouragement ~ Brave Writer’s Life in Brief ~ Word Traveling ~ The Measured Mom ~ Wildflower Ramblings ~ Line Upon Line Learning ~ Teach Beside Me ~ Living to Learn ~ the Vicki Arnold Blog ~ School Time Snippets ~ Creekside Learning ~ Are We There Yet ~ Look at What You Are Seeing ~ Look! We’re Learning! ~ Our Homeschool Studio

C is for Cats – Alphabet Activities for All Ages

C is for Cats (Alphabet Activities for All Ages) from

Alphabet Activities for All Ages Changes…Sort of

When Becky and I first starting talking about our plans for the Alphabet Activities for All Ages project, we had a particular formula in mind with how are posts would look. Namely, we would be ahead and our posts would look a certain way. We had plans for the activities we would include and life would be peachy keen.

Well, as our school year is progressing, I think I can finally accept something. I am not much of an activities homeschool mom. There, I said it. In our homeschool, we read books. Occasionally out loud (which I’m learning to like), but often we read to ourselves and share the particularly interesting things we think others will enjoy.

Why am I telling you this? Well, because it’s going to effect my Alphabet Activities posts around here. I will still include activities and tell you of the things we did, but you will notice my weekly posts will be predominantly book lists. I do hope you like books. We sure do.

C is for Cats Booklist

My focus this week is on cats, big and small. We have f0ur barn cats that are sweet as can be and my kids love them to pieces. We will be looking at more than domesticated cats this week though.

Books About Wild Cats

The Face to Face series is from National Geographic, which should be a clue as to the quality of the images in the books. These are the types of non-fiction books my son would pour over before he learned to like reading fiction.

Books About Domesticated Cats

  • Amazing Animals: Cats by Christina Wilsdon (j636.8 W746 2009) – Covers all kinds of cat details, lots of photos.
  • Kitten: Watch Me Grow! Photographs by Nancy Sheehan (j636.8 qS541 2000) – Just about every kid I know loves kittens, this book is loaded with photos of them.
  • Dewey: There’s a Cat in the Library by Vicki Myron and Bret Witter (j636.80929 qM998d 2009) – This is a fun story about an abandoned kitten who became the library’s cat.
  • ABC Cats by Kathy Darling (j636.8 qD221 1998) – This fun book takes you through cat breeds from A-Z, with photographs of each one. Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t have this one either!
  • Hi, Cat! by Ezra Jack Keats (Easy Keats) – Our copy came with an audio CD of the book.

C is for Cats Activities

Some fun cat art, crafts, and activities from around the web:

  • This is something my toddler will like, make a fun little cat out of the letter C
  • We like to make cards. I found a couple samples to show the kids – here and here.
  • My kids like to draw, we have a few drawing books that we may see what different kinds/styles of cats we can come up with.
  • Coloring is something we also enjoy. I found a few coloring pages – one, two, and three.
  • These cat bookmarks are adorable! Being readers, these are must do’s for us.

C is for Cats Printable

I’m really starting to get into making these things! This time I have a C is for Cats handwriting practice worksheet.

C is for Cats Handwriting Page from Vicki-Arnold.comDownload your copy today! It’s free.

A is for Airplane – Alphabet Activities for All Ages

I am really, really excited to launch this project today. My friend Becky of For This Season and I have been collaborating over the last several weeks to bring you a fun project called Alphabet Activities for All Ages. This year long project will cover two letters each month. We have printables, book lists, and activity ideas to help your homeschool explore the alphabet.

Today we start at the beginning, of course. Then each Thursday you can come back for either more ideas for the current letter or a brand new letter. We are going in order, I will tell you that so you aren’t waiting in suspense too long.

A is for Airplane - Alphabet Activities for All Ages at

A is for Airplane Book List

We got all of our books at the library, so you may want to check them out there. I’m including the Dewey decimal number so you can check for them that way. It’s the number in parentheses after the title and author.

Books About Airplanes & Flying

Most of these books are geared for younger kids, but my elementary students enjoyed them, too. They read them to the toddler and preschooler.

Books About Pilots & People

Most of these books are longer books, though most are still picture books that younger readers would enjoy having read to them.

  • American Profiles: Aviators by Robert A. Rosenbaum (j629.13092273 R813 1992) – This book is marked Biographies in our library, so you might have to check that if your library has a biography section. This book profiles 11 fliers, with lots of facts, dates, and a few black and white photos. The back of the book says it is geared for middle and high school student, but I am using it with my older elementary students (4th & 5th grade).
  • The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane by Russell Freedman (j629.1300922 qW952Zf 1991) – This book is a hefty one and has a LOT of information and photographs.
  • The Wright Brothers by Pamela Duncan Edwards (j629.130092 W952Ze 2003) – Another biography, this time in color and would be suitable for all elementary grades (K-5).
  • Amelia Earhart: More Than a Flier by Patricia Lakin (Easy, Lakin) – This is a Level 3 reader from the Childhood of Famous Americans series. For readers who are reading proficiently.
  • Amelia Earhart: The Legend of the Lost Aviator by Shelley Tanaka (j629.13092 q E12Zt 2008) – Lots of photos and artwork in this book. A great read for all ages, though a bit long for the toddler set.
  • Fly High! The Story of Bessie Coleman by Louise Borden and Mary Kay Kroeger (j629.13092 qC692Zb 2001) – The story of the first African-American to earn a pilot’s license. Lots of great artwork in this book.
  • Charles A. Lindbergh: A Human Hero by James Cross Giblin (j629.13092 qL742Zg 1997) – Another hefty biography suitable for older students.
  • Flight by Robert Burleigh (j629.1309111 qB961 1991) – Follow along on the flight that made 25 year old Charles Lindbergh a hero.

A is for Airplane Activity Ideas

We haven’t had much time for activities this past week, we are dealing with sinus infections. Here is a list of ideas that I will be pulling from for our next week.

Making paper airplanes. My kids love doing this. I picked up a some books from the library to give a try:

Drawing airplanes. My kids also love to draw. We each have a sketchbook. Yes, even Mom has one. We have several how to draw books on our homeschool library shelves. I did pick up Draw 50 Airplanes, Aircraft, and Spacecraft by Lee J. Ames (j743.8) from the library. Our library has an older copy than what Amazon has listed, but I think it is jut a cover difference.

Airplane coloring pages. For the kiddos in our homeschool that do not draw or simply prefer to color, I will be printing out some coloring sheets for them to color. I found a collection of airplane coloring pages to choose from. Dover also has a nice collection of coloring books featuring airplanes you could choose from for older students. We love Dover coloring books because of the real life detail.

Sensory Bin. I need to get more materials to put this together, so this is one that you will have to stop back next week for.

Airplane Memory Game. You get this next week, too. So be sure to check back.

Check back next week to see which ones were our favorites and how our A focus went. Since there are a lot of things for you to check back for, you might consider signing up to receive the Vicki Arnold blog posts directly in your email so you don’t miss a thing.

Pre-Writing Practice Worksheets

I have something else for you today! Pre-writing practice worksheets for you to print out and use with your little ones that need practice with tracing lines. You can laminate these and use dry erase markers or crayons. Or you can print them and have your little one get pencil grip practice.

Pre-Writing Practice Worksheets (free printable) from

Download or print your pre-writing practice worksheets today!