The power of short writing activities for kids

The English College Dubai

Delve into the evidence for how these activities positively impact a child’s writing and overall development

by Victoria Phillips

Engaging children in short writing activities fosters crucial developmental benefits. These activities enhance fine motor skills, encourage creativity, and boost cognitive abilities. Moreover, they instill a love for language, improving literacy skills and laying a strong foundation for effective communication, critical thinking, and overall academic success.

Here, Primary English Curriculum Lead and Year 6 Teacher at The English College Dubai talk about just how important it is for a child’s writing and overall development.

In my role as a Primary English Curriculum Lead & Year 6 Teacher at The English College Dubai, I’m excited to share the educational benefits of short writing activities. These exercises are not only intuitively appealing but are also robustly supported by research. Let’s delve into the evidence for how these activities positively impact a child’s writing and overall development:


Storytelling Adventures


Storytelling enhances children’s narrative and descriptive writing skills. Research has shown that engaging in storytelling promotes vocabulary development, sentence structure, and the ability to organize organise thoughts coherently (Dickinson & Tabors, 2001).




Keeping a journal has been linked to improved writing skills and language development (Pennebaker & Seagal, 1999). It also helps children connect their thoughts and emotions, fostering emotional intelligence and self-expression.


Letter Writing


Writing letters encourages communication skills, which are crucial for both academic and social success. Studies have shown that teaching letter writing enhances children’s literacy and empathy (Halliday & Webster, 2009).

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Poetry Corner


Writing poetry cultivates creativity and language skills. A study by Flippo and Caverly (2008) found that poetry writing can improve vocabulary, metaphoric thinking, and an appreciation for the nuances of language.


Creative Prompts


Creative writing prompts stimulate imagination and critical thinking. Research suggests that engaging in open-ended creative writing activities can enhance cognitive and problem-solving abilities (Mayer, 2015).


Recipe Writing


Writing recipes combines practical and writing skills. It promotes literacy by requiring precision in writing instructions and measuring ingredients, contributing to procedural and informative writing skills (Paulson & Bransford, 1977).


Book Reviews


Writing book reviews enhances comprehension and analytical skills. It encourages children to think critically about the content they’ve read, which is important for developing higher-order thinking skills (Anderson & Nagy, 1992).


Nature Observations


Documenting observations in a nature journal fosters curiosity and scientific inquiry. According to the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST), such activities promote scientific literacy and engagement with the natural world.


Comic Creation

Creating comics with speech bubbles requires dialogue and narrative structure. This aids in understanding the basics of storytelling and how to convey a story effectively in a visually engaging format (Frey & Fisher, 2004).


News Reporter


Writing news articles enhances research and reporting skills. Engaging in this activity not only improves writing but also nurtures critical thinking, analytical, and investigative skills.

In conclusion, the evidence strongly supports the idea that these short writing activities can have a positive impact on a child’s literacy, creativity, critical thinking, and communication skills.

By engaging in these activities during the half-term break, parents can help their children grow not only as writers but also as well-rounded individuals with a deep appreciation for language and the world around them, all while aligning with the UK curriculum for children aged 5 to 11.


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Image source Victoria Phillips, The English College Dubai

Shane Reynolds