The Five Senses, World-building, and Adjective + Noun Silliness.
Teen Writer’s Guide: Your Road Map to Writing by Jennifer Jenkins is a teen-focused writing guide created from years of research and teaching by certified educator, Teen Author Boot Camp co-founder, and YA and Adult fiction author. This guide provides a detailed road map to writing your own story and steering through the detours and pit stops along the way.
Art and Movement: Race Car Printable | Skills: Creativity, Family Time, Focus, Motor Skills, Movement | Ages: All
Print the race car printable. Color, decorate, and design it however you’d like, then cut along the edges. When the car is cut out, glue or tape the tabs underneath.
An alternative to printing is to take a paper cup and decorate it or draw a car that you can cut out and use flat.
Racing flag printables are optional! Just cut out the flags and tape to a straw or pencil. We stuck them in Play-dough at the finish line, but you can wave them or play with them any way you like!
Art and Writing: Adjective Noun Shake Up | Skills: Language Building, Literacy, Reading Comprehension | Sentence Structure | Ages: Middle Grade, Teen
Print the Noun printable and Adjective printable or make your own lists. Cut them into squares and place them into two different bowls or hats. For each turn, draw one of each so they have one adjective and one noun.
- Write down a crazy sentence using both.
- Draw a crazy picture of the two words together. If their adjective isn’t silly enough with the noun, they can always choose another one. Or do several adjective + noun matches out loud, then draw your favorite.
- Tell your family a story about the crazy badger or whatever else your combination calls for. Go on. Tell them all the delicious details!
Game: Five Senses Dice | Creative Writing, Group Play, Problem Solving, Storytelling | Ages: All
Print the five senses dice. Fold and tape or glue on the tabs.
Have kids find a picture of one of their favorite places. It could be a family vacation spot, a favorite relative’s house, or anywhere else they have happy memories. Or use pictures from the Internet. Then choose one or more of these options:
- Roll the dice and describe one thing about their favorite place based on the sense they receive. I.e. “I rolled a nose, so a smell that reminds me of Disneyland is the fried cinnamon of the churros.” The more specific the better.
- With places they’ve never been, roll the dice to see which sense, then describe the photo or place with that sense based on what their imagination tells them.
- Make up a world they’d love to go. Take turns rolling, and make a progressive story based on the sensory details.
Music and Vocabulary: Word Link Song/Sing-along String-along | Skills: Memory, Singing, Vocabulary | Ages: All
One person sings a line from any song. When they stop their line, the next person must pick up using the last word in the sentence and link the first word of their own song line.
Here’s an example:
First person: Baby Shark Doo doo, doo doo doo doo…
Second person: …do you want to build a snowman?
Third person: snowman…
Then move to the next person (or back to the first if there are two of you). Go as long as you can until someone is stuck and can’t go any further. This is an excellent game for teens who have a wide variety of popular music in their mental portfolios.
Now that you’ve had a look at magic systems, here are a few activities you can try:
- Go around the house and find your own books that contain magic and fantasy. Write them where you think they’d fit on the Magic Systems scale.
- Make up your own magic system. This can be from the eyes of a character or simply describing a world you can imagine—make sure to give it its own rules and history that make sense for the magic YOU create.
- Take the 5 senses dice printable and as you roll, build specific traits of a world based on the senses. I.e., the way the grass feels, the way the rain smells, the way the herbs taste, etc.
Bonus: Jennifer Jenkins has FREE videos online for teaching writing! She’s a fabulous teacher, and it’s a great way to keep older kids and teens learning while they’re at home. Check out her YouTube channel, Road Map to Writing. And find extras like printable bookmarks and classroom guides here.
If you’d like, you can also read a sample chapter of Teen Writer’s Guide here!