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I love our family writing time! It’s when we all sit together at the table and work on quiet literacy activities for 30 minutes. At the end, everyone has to completely clean up their mess. Then we take a few minutes to share.
The kids and I put our heads together recently to develop a list of seasonal family writing time activities. Here are ten of the ones we’ve been using, or will use this fall.
If you’re looking for quiet activities to engage your kids while you work, give one of these a try!
1. Favorite Character Costumes
We love dressing up any time of the year, but since stores are full of costumes right now, it’s a timely activity.
Before writing time, print out a several coloring pages of your child’s favorite characters. I love using this website. I usually let each child pick three images.
Once they’re printed, the kids get to draw costumes on the characters. Then they color and cut them out. That step is a great way to practice fine motor skills!
Depending on how quickly your child works, the coloring and cutting stage might take a whole writing time session. That’s alright! Just store them in a folder until the next day.
Then encourage your child to:
- Write a story about their characters.
- Draw a background to use their characters on.
- Have their cutouts act out a story.
- Create awards for their character’s costume (best Princess dress, most colorful, etc.)
2. Fall Memory Story or Picture
Ask your children to think of a favorite fall memory. My kids thought of participating in the community’s Light up the Park event, where we tried to break the world record for carved pumpkins, building leaf houses together, and shaking the apple tree to harvest apples.
If you have pictures of any of their memories, take a few minutes to look through them.
Then, have your children work on activities related to those memories. They can:
- Draw a picture of the event
- Make a comic book
- Write a story
- Cut out pictures from magazines and make a memory inspired collage
- Write a poem
- Write a list of the senses they were feeling at the time (how it looked, sounded, smelled, tasted, etc.)
3. Read Fall Books
It’s a great time of year to pull out the collection of fall inspired books. Here are some of our favorites (aff. links, thanks!):
- The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh
- Franklin’s Thanksgiving by Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark
- Pumpkin Kids by Sheryl Templeton (a book my mom created for the kids)
- The Lonely Scarecrow by Tim Preston
- One is a Feast for Mouse: A Thanksgiving Tale (Mouse (Holiday House)) by Judy Cox
- Clifford’s First Autumn (Clifford the Big Red Dog) by Bridwell. Norman ( 1997 ) Paperback by Norman Bridwell
- Apples, Apples Everywhere!: Learning About Apple Harvests (Autumn) by Robin Koontz
After my kids read, they usually enjoy drawing a picture about their favorite part. We love coloring!
4. Count Your Blessings
We love singing the hymn Count Your Blessings. It’s a great reminder that we have so much in life to be thankful for. This activity helps your children take time to express what they’re thankful for.
Some of my kids draw pictures, others write. They all tried to add as many things to their list as they could.
5. Thanksgiving Menu Planning
Food is fun to write and draw about! November is the perfect month for food based writing time projects, with Thanksgiving quickly approaching.
For this activity, the kids will get several options. They can:
- Draw a picture of a plate filled with their favorites
- Cut pictures of food out of a magazine and make a Thanksgiving food collage
- Create a menu highlighting favorite Thanksgiving meal options
- Look through cookbooks to pick a new food to try, and then copy down the recipe so we’d have it at shopping time
6. Create a Fall Themed ABC Book
Making ABC books is a fun early story creating process. There’s a format to follow, and it doesn’t require much actual writing.
Your child will need 14 pieces of blank paper. One will be the cover. The other 13 will each have two letters, one on the front and one on the back.
When your child is done, staple them all together to make a book. Just make sure they’re in order first! 😀
On each letter page, have your child draw a large letter, a fall word that starts with that letter, and an illustration. It may be a project that gets worked on several days in a row.
7. Animals Preparing for Winter
My family enjoys learning about animals. In addition to our farm animals, we live in the middle of nowhere and have much wildlife around.
For family writing time, you can ask your child to write a list of all the ways she can think of that animals prepare for winter. Then she can draw a picture of one or all of them. The list might include:
- Growing longer/more fur
- Storing food like nuts
- Eating food for hibernation
- Ensuring babies have enough food
- Coat changing color for snow
- Making a shelter/den
What else can your child think of?
8. Daylight Savings Time
For older kids, you can have them spend a family writing time period researching the history of Daylight’s Savings Time. Then, they can write a persuasive paragraph or two on if they think we should still use this method.
Younger kids can write a fun story about what they would do if they suddenly had an extra hour to do whatever they’d like.
9. Television Shows Are New Again!
September and October are the months when many new television shows start up again, or premiere for the first time. Have your child write or draw about a show they enjoy, and make a list of predictions for the coming season.
10. Hot Drinks!
Print out a copy of this mug template for each of your kids. Then, have them draw their favorite hot fall beverage inside. On the outside, they can either write:
- The recipe for their favorite drink
- A list of words that describe their drink
- A couple of sentences about why this is the BEST fall drink
- A list of words that rhyme with mug
Or they can draw a picture of themselves drinking from a mug.
What other fall activities for family writing time can you think of?
I’m also looking for simple literacy activities to keep the kids engaged during our family writing time. Can you add any more ideas to my list?
Do you have family writing time? It’s a great way to integrate family time and business time!
Lisa Tanner is a former teacher turned homeschooling mom with 11 kids. She's also a successful freelance writer. Lisa enjoys helping other busy moms find time to start and grow a side hustle of their own.