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creative writing task ks1

Creative writing prompts – Best activities and resources for KS1 and KS2 English

Schoolboy and teacher in creative writing lesson

Fed up of reading 'and then…', 'and then…' in your children's writing? Try these story starters, structures, worksheets and other fun writing prompt resources for primary pupils…

Laura Dobson

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Creative writing resources for the classroom

Creative writing prompts.

What is creative writing?

According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, ‘creative’ is ‘producing or using original and unusual ideas’, yet I would argue that in writing there’s no such thing as an original idea – all stories are reincarnations of ones that have gone before.

As writers we learn to be expert magpies – selecting the shiny words, phrases and ideas from other stories and taking them for our own.  

Interestingly, the primary national curriculum does not mention creative writing or writing for pleasure at all and is focused on the skill of writing.

Therefore, if writing creatively and for pleasure is important in your school, it must be woven into your vision for English.

“Interestingly, the Primary National Curriculum does not mention creative writing or writing for pleasure at all”

Creative writing in primary schools can be broken into two parts:

Writing with choice and freedom allows children to write about what interests and inspires them.  

Developing story writing provides children with the skills they need to write creatively. In primary schools this is often taught in a very structured way and, particularly in the formative years, can lack opportunities for children to be creative.

Children are often told to retell a story in their own words or tweak a detail such as the setting or the main character.  

Below you’ll find plenty of creative writing prompts, suggestions and resources to help develop both writing for choice and freedom and developing story writing in your classroom. 

How to develop opportunities for writing with choice and freedom 

Here’s an interesting question to consider: if the curriculum disappeared but children still had the skills to write, would they?

I believe so – they’d still have ideas they wanted to convey and stories they wanted to share.

One of my children enjoys writing and the other is more reluctant to mark make when asked to, but both choose to write. They write notes for friends, song lyrics, stories and even business plans.

So how can we develop opportunities to write with choice and freedom in our classrooms?

Early Years classrooms are full of opportunities for children to write about what interests them, but it’s a rarer sight in KS1 and 2.  

Ask children what they want to write about

Reading for pleasure has quite rightly been prioritised in schools and the impact is clear. Many of the wonderful ideas from The Open University’s Reading For Pleasure site can be used and adapted for writing too.

For example, ask children to create a ‘writing river’ where they record the writing they choose to do across a week.

If pupils like writing about a specific thing, consider creating a short burst writing activity linked to this. The below Harry Potter creative writing activity , where children create a new character and write a paragraph about them, is an example of this approach.

creative writing task ks1

If you have a spare 20 minutes, listen to the below conversation with Lucy and Jonathan from HeadteacherChat and Alex from LinkyThinks . They discuss the importance of knowing about children’s interests but also about being a writer yourself.

'The confidence Crisis in Creative Writing.' Lucy and Jonathan chat with Alex from @LinkyThinks https://t.co/VClYxiQhcf — HeadteacherChat 🙋🏻‍♂️ 👂 (@Headteacherchat) August 9, 2022

Plan in time to pursue personal writing projects 

There are lots of fantastic ideas for developing writing for pleasure in your classrooms on The Writing For Pleasure Centre’s website .

One suggestion is assigning time to pursue personal writing projects. The Meadows Primary School in Madeley Heath, Staffordshire, does this termly and provides scaffolds for children who may find the choice daunting.

Give children a choice about writing implements and paper 

Sometimes the fun is in the novelty. Are there opportunities within your week to give pupils some choices about the materials they use? Ideas could include:

Write for real audiences 

This is a great way to develop children’s motivation to write and is easy to do.

It could be a blog, a class newsletter or pen pals. Look around in your community for opportunities to write – the local supermarket, a nearby nursing home or the library are often all good starting points.

Have a go yourself

The most successful teachers of story writing write fiction themselves.

Many adults do not write creatively and trying to teach something you have not done yourself in a long time can be difficult. By having a go you can identify the areas of difficulty alongside the thought processes required.  

Treat every child as an author

Time is always a premium in the classroom but equally, we’re all fully aware of the impact of verbal feedback.

One-to-one writing conferences have gained in popularity in primary classrooms and it’s well-worth giving these a go if you haven’t already.

Set aside time to speak to each child about the writing they’re currently constructing. Discuss what’s going well and what they could develop.

If possible, timetable these one-to-one discussions with the whole class throughout the year (ideally more often, if possible).  

Free KS2 virtual visit and resources

Children's authors on Author in your Classroom podcast

Bring best-selling children’s authors directly into your classroom with Author In Your Classroom. It’s a brilliant free podcast series made especially for schools, and there’s loads of free resources to download too.

More than 20 authors have recorded episodes so far, including:

Creative writing exercises

Rachel Clarke writing templates for primary English

Use these inspiring writing templates from Rachel Clarke to inspire pupils who find it difficult to get their thoughts down on the page. The structured creative writing prompts and activities, which range from writing a ‘through the portal story’ to a character creation activity that involves making your own Top Trumps style cards, will help inexperienced writers to get started.

Storyboard templates and story structures

School pupil drawing a storyboard

Whether it’s short stories, comic strips or filmmaking, every tale needs the right structure to be told well. This storyboard template resource will help your children develop the skills required to add that foundation to their creative writing.

Ten-minute activities 

The idea of fitting another thing into the school day can feel overwhelming, so start with small creative writing activities once a fortnight. Below are a few ideas that have endless possibilities.

Character capers

creative writing task ks1

You need a 1-6 dice for this activity. Roll it three to find out who your character is, what their personality is and what job they do, then think about the following:

Download our character capers worksheet .

Setting soup

creative writing task ks1

In this activity pupils Look at the four photos and fill in a mind map for one of the settings, focusing on what they’d see, hear, feel, smell and feel in that location. They then write an ingredients list for their setting, such as:

Download our setting soup worksheet .

Use consequences to generate story ideas

creative writing task ks1

Start with a game of drawing consequences – this is a great way of building a new character.

creative writing task ks1

Next, play a similar game but write a story. Here’s an example . Download our free writing consequences template to get started.

creative writing task ks1

Roll and write a story

creative writing task ks1

For this quick activity, children roll a dice three times to choose a setting and two characters – for example, a theme park, an explorer and a mythical creature. They then use the results to create an outline for a story.

Got more than ten minutes? Use the outline to write a complete story. Alternatively, use the results to create a book cover and blurb or, with a younger group of children, do the activity as a class then draw or write about the outcome.

Download our roll and write a story worksheet .

Scavenger hunt

Give children something to hide and tell them they have to write five clues in pairs, taking another pair from one clue to the next until the 5th clue leads them to the hidden item.

For a challenge, the clues could be riddles.  

Set up pen pals. This might be with children in another country or school, or it could simply be with another class.

What do pupils want to say or share? It might be a letter, but it could be a comic strip, poem or pop-up book.  

You need a log-in to access Authorfy’s content but it’s free. The website is crammed with every children’s author imaginable, talking about their books and inspirations and setting writing challenges. It’s a great tool to inspire and enthuse.  

There are lots of great resources and videos on Oxford Owl which are free to access and will provide children with quick bursts of creativity.  

Creative writing ideas for KS2

Pie Corbett Ultimate KS2 Fiction Collection

This free Pie Corbett Ultimate KS2 fiction collection is packed with original short stories from the man himself, and a selection of teaching resources he’s created to accompany each one.

Each creative writing activity will help every young writer get their creative juices flowing and overcome writer’s block.

WAGOLL text types

creative writing task ks1

​Support pupils when writing across a whole range of text types and genres with these engaging writing packs from Plazoom , differentiated for KS1, LKS2 and UKS2.

They feature:

Each one focuses on a particular kind of text, encouraging children to make appropriate vocabulary, register and layout choices, and produce the very best writing of which they are capable, which can be used for evidence of progress.

creative writing task ks1

If you teach KS2, start off by exploring fairy tales with a twist , or choose from 50+ other options .

Scaffolds and plot types

Creative writing scaffolds and plot types resource pack

A great way to support children with planning stories with structures, this creative writing scaffolds and plot types resource pack contains five story summaries, each covering a different plot type, which they can use as a story idea.

It has often been suggested that there are only seven basic plots a story can use, and here you’ll find text summaries for five of these:

After familiarising themselves with these texts, children can adapt and change these stories to create tales of their own.

Use story starters

If some children still need a bit of a push in the right direction, check out our 6 superb story starters to develop creative writing skills . This list features a range of free story starter resources, including animations (like the one above) and even the odd iguana…

Use word mats to inspire

creative writing task ks1

Help pupils to write independently by providing them with helpful vocabulary sheets that they can pick and choose from when doing their own creative writing.

Download our free creative writing word mats here , including:

Creative writing pictures

creative writing task ks1

Using images as writing prompts is nothing new, but it’s fun and effective.

Pobble 365 has an inspiring photo for every day of the year. These are great inspiration for ten-minute free writing activities. You need to log in to Pobble but access to Pobble 365 (the pictures) is free.  

Choose two pictures as prompts (you can access every picture for the year in the calendar) or provide children with a range of starter prompts.

For example, with the photo above you might ask children to complete one of the following activities: 

The Literacy Shed

Creative writing prompt of children walking down leafy tunnel

Website The Literacy Shed has a page dedicated to interesting pictures for creative writing . There are winter scenes, abandoned places, landscapes, woodlands, pathways, statues and even flying houses.

The Literacy Shed also hosts video clips for inspiring writing and is choc-full of ways to use them. The Night Zookeeper Shed is well worth a visit. There are short videos, activities and resources to inspire creative writing.

Once Upon a Picture

Creative writing picture prompt featuring flying whale

Once Upon a Picture is another site packed with creative writing picture prompts , but its focus is more on illustrations than photography, so its offering is great for letting little imaginations soar.

Each one comes with questions for kids to consider, or activities to carry out.

How to improve creative writing

Developing story writing .

If you decided to climb a mountain, in order to be successful you’d need to be well-equipped and you’d need to have practised with smaller climbs first.

The same is true of creative writing: to be successful you need to be well-equipped with the skills of writing and have had plenty of opportunities to practise.  

As a teachers you need to plan with this in mind – develop a writing journey which allows children to learn the art of story writing by studying stories of a similar style, focusing on how effects are created and scaffolding children’s writing activities so they achieve success.  

Below is a rough outline of a planning format that leads to successful writing opportunities.

This sequence of learning takes around three weeks but may be longer or shorter, depending on the writing type.  

Before planning out the learning, decide on up to three key focuses for the sequence. Think about the potential learning opportunities that the stimuli supports (eg don’t focus on direct speech if you’re writing non-chronological reports).  

Ways to overcome fear of creative writing

Many children are inhibited in their writing for a variety of reasons. These include the all-too-familiar ‘fear of the blank page’ (“I can’t think of anything to write about!” is a common lament), trying to get all the technical aspects right as they compose their work (a sense of being ‘overwhelmed’), and the fact that much of children’s success in school is underpinned by an ethos of competitiveness and comparison, which can lead to a fear of failure and a lack of desire to try.

Any steps we can take to diminish these anxieties means that children will feel increasingly motivated to write, and so enjoy their writing more. This in turn will lead to the development of skills in all areas of writing, with the broader benefits this brings more generally in children’s education.

Here are some easily applied and simple ideas from author and school workshop provider Steve Bowkett for boosting self-confidence in writing.

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Creative Writing Tasks for KS1 Students

Creative Writing Tasks for KS1 Students

Subject: Creative writing

Age range: 5-7

Resource type: Worksheet/Activity

21st Century Literacies Shop

I am a teacher, blogger, and teacher trainer with more than 30 years of experience in education. I like to explore new possibilities to engage learners and enhance their learning experiences. I am the author of the blog, Learning and Leading in the 21st Century http://aysinalp.edublogs.org / where I share my reflections and insights on learning and technology.

Last updated

7 March 2016

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Fun Writing Activities for KS1

Looking for some ideas to engage children in writing? Check out some of our favourite, fun writing activities for KS1 children! 

Salt Tray Fun

Salt trays are a great alternative to writing on the traditional pencil and paper and supports early writers in letter formation. Start by laying out some trays on a table, then line each tray with coloured paper and cover with a generous layer of salt. 

Lay out letters or words on the table for children to choose and challenge them to write the words in their salt tray. These word cards could be linked to a particular subject or topic, or even tricky words that children need to practise.  

An easy but fun activity that will get children active and moving around the classroom. Choose the words you would like children to find, these could be words that when used together can make a sentence or link to the genre of writing you are teaching at the time, such as time conjunctions for instruction writing. 

Hide the words around the classroom and set children to work. Can they collect words and use them to form a sentence?

Story Dice 

Give children different story dice to support them in writing their own story, including where the story is set and what characters they might come across. 

Open book with an imagined story

Give children different settings such as the rainforest, Santa's grotto, a fairground or a swimming pool. Ask children to  describe the scene and write what they would see, hear, smell, feel or touch in the setting. Children could be challenged to guess which setting the person next to them chose based on their senses description.

Character swap

What would happen if Winnie the Pooh entered the story of the Gruffalo? Or if Winnie the Witch entered the story of Peter Rabbit? Think of some stories that are familiar to the children and tell them that the characters have wandered into the wrong storylines! Can children write an alternative storyline for each character?

A child writing

What would you do?

Give children a variety of scenarios and ask them to write a description of what they would do in each situation. What would you do if you found an alien under your bed? What would you do if your cat started talking to you? What would you do if you bumped into the Queen in Tesco? 

Nonsense poems

Ask children to write a poem with rhyming words that make no sense.

I had a cat who ate a hat 

upon a mat inside my flat

with my tall rat who swung a bat...

Ask children to think of their favourite book character. Challenge them to write an invitation asking them to come to tea. Children’s invitations should include when and where the tea party will take place, what they might eat and activities they might do together. 

Playing pretend with book characters

For more writing activities check out this FREE KS1 writing activity bundle !

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Creative writing prompts for kids

Story writing in primary school

What happens when you ask your child to write a story? It’s a common homework task for primary school kids, and a key part of the English National Curriculum , but while some children are overflowing with inspiration, others find it hard to come up with ideas. That’s where creative writing prompts – any tool that is used to kickstart the writing process, such as a picture, an opening sentence or a piece of music – can come in useful.

Download a FREE Creative Writing toolkit!

‘Creative writing prompts can be anything that gets children thinking outside the box,’ explains Julia Skinner, founder of the 100 Word Challenge writing programme and The Head’s Office blog. ‘Some children find it hard to get going with creative writing, and really benefit from having a more thought-provoking starting point.’

Creative writing prompts: the benefits

Often, children are given a creative writing task based on a set title, such as: ‘Write a story about a dragon’. ‘This might not be a problem for a child who has lots of imagination, but it can be a challenge for those who find it difficult to come up with ideas and don’t consider themselves to be very creative,’ says Julia.

A creative writing prompt such as a picture or opening sentence can help to fire this creative process. ‘It gives children both the freedom and encouragement to develop their ideas by thinking beyond the obvious and immediate,’ Julia explains. ‘Giving them something specific and concrete can help them to develop their ideas in ways that they would usually struggle with.’

Prompts can help children to come up with a far more diverse set of ideas than they might usually. ‘If you give a whole class a set title, you tend to get a very generic response,’ says Julia. ‘But if they have a prompt, they can use it to take their story in any direction they choose.’

Using prompts also encourages children to use all their senses to inspire their writing. Giving them a title alone is likely to inspire a one-dimensional response, whereas showing them a picture can help them to imagine themselves in the scene and use all five senses to explore what their characters might see, hear, smell, taste and touch.

How to use a creative writing prompt

The key to using a creative writing prompt, says Julia, is to not just put it in front of your child but to spend some time exploring it together before they put pen to paper . ‘Creative writing shouldn’t be something where you leave your child to their own devices,’ Julia explains. ‘It really needs some input to draw out your child’s ideas. Set aside 20 minutes to discuss the story, starting with the prompt and asking questions to build on what your child suggests.’

It’s important to make sure your child knows that there are no boundaries where creative writing is concerned. ‘The testing culture in schools has led children to think that there is always one answer to aim for, but in creative writing, there is no right or wrong,’ says Julia. ‘We need to build children’s confidence to write about whatever they’re seeing or thinking, and prompts are a great way to encourage this.’

It’s also essential to let your child write freely when they’re using a writing prompt, without getting too caught up in spelling, punctuation and grammar. ‘Children need to be able to write creatively and without restriction,’ Julia agrees. ‘They need to feel free to express themselves, knowing that they can come back and put in the capital letters and full stops later.’

Six of the best creative writing prompts

Pictures Pictures are probably the most obvious creative writing prompt. You can use any sort of picture – a cartoon, a photo, a piece of classic artwork – to inspire children’s imagination. ‘One of my favourite picture prompts is a photo of a smashed chocolate egg, surrounded by tiny model workmen,’ Julia says. You can either leave the picture blank, or add a caption to encourage children along the right lines: for example, a speech bubble on a person saying, ‘Where am I going?’

We love Coram Beanstalk's  Make Your Own Story Dice (illustrated by Nick Sharratt) – you can download the templates for free, then colour in, stick together and use for endless storytelling!

Sentences Another good prompt is to give children a sentence – typically the opening sentence of a story – to build their writing on. Giving them a starter such as, ‘How was the dragon going to tell his father what he had done?’ can prompt a huge and varied range of storylines, from adventure to comedy to tragedy.

A page from a book A picture is said to be worth a thousand words, so taking a page from a children’s picture book and removing the text is a great way to kickstart a piece of creative writing.

Music Using music as a prompt can help your child to think about how they use their senses in their writing. Typically, instrumental pieces work best, otherwise the lyrics put words in your child’s mouth, but you can use any genre, from classical to rap. Encourage them to think about how the music makes them feel; what they think is happening; what sort of character would play that music, and so on .

A feely bag Put a selection of small, tactile objects into a bag (for instance, a golf ball, a fork, a comb…) and ask your child to pick one out at random. Use this as the starting point for their piece of writing, building a plot around it.

Challenges For children who are motivated by rewards, taking part in a writing challenge can help to prompt them to write. The 100 Word Challenge, run in association with Night Zookeeper , gives children a weekly writing prompt; they then put together a piece in 100 words and can upload it to the website where other children can read and comment on their, giving them extra motivation to write.

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25 Creative Writing Prompts For KS1 And KS2

Sarah Hallam

Sarah Hallam

on 13 May 2020

on 18 October 2022

6 mins to read

Read these Tokyo facts to learn all about the Japanese capital.

Published on May 13, 2020

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While they may not be in the classroom currently, teaching children the benefits of learning to write creatively is a fantastic way to boost their confidence, and help them develop reading and problem-solving skills. These resources and prompts are aimed to help children come up with new and exciting ideas for stories and to consider all the different elements of storytelling. So, kids can head over to heir home study space , wherever it may be, and experiment to their heart's content with these fun writing prompts.

Top Tip: Why not check out this post written by a real children's author, with many more tips on how children can write their very own storybooks?

Writing Ideas For Key Stage One Children (Ages 5-7)

creative writing task ks1

With KS1 children, it's a great idea to use their interests and surroundings as inspiration for their creative writing. Coming up with a whole new story can be a big challenge, so the ideas and activities are aimed to help KS1 children to consider one or two things they are really interested in writing, before they create their stories:

Develop these ideas further by:

-Incorporating the creatures you've invented into a new story.

-Making illustrations to accompany your description of your day out.

-Storyboarding your ideas, to make a cartoon-like sequence of events with images and text.

Writing Ideas For Key Stage 2 Children (Ages 7-11)

creative writing task ks1

Even if English isn't their favourite subject, there are lots of ways to help KS2 aged children get interested in storytelling and creative writing. By allowing kids to select their own books to read away from the classroom, they can figure out which genres and writing styles they enjoy the most. Exposing children to new ideas and techniques through encouraging reading books, will also, in turn, help their writing abilities to blossom. A good way to prepare children for these activities is to search online for books they enjoy, and let them pick one or two to read. This will allow them to get familiar with the type of writing they enjoy. The following ideas are suggestions intended to aid creative thinking and spark inspiration for whatever direction children want to take their stories in:

The following prompts are suggestions of an opening line that kids can use at the beginning of their story, and continue on from:

creative writing task ks1

Develop these ideas by:

-Creating illustrations to go alongside your story. Show what your characters and landscapes would look like, and make them correspond with the story.

-Thinking about other books you've been reading. How would the character you've written interact with a character from one of your favourite books?

-Making a character profile of the characters in your stories. What are their interests and hobbies? What do they like to wear? What books and films do they like? Create a drawing of your character in the middle of the page, and label different things about them in a profile down the side.

-Doing a character swap. Imagine your character found themselves in the world of another book, or vice versa. What would happen next?

-Design a front and back cover for your book. Consider the title, blurb and cover illustrations. Perhaps even make an author profile too!

For five quick and easy creative writing tasks, download your prompt sheet below!

creative writing task ks1

Sarah was born and raised in the North West. Her love of art and culture brought her to study in London and she never left! She can be found teaching painting classes, trying out new recipes, or drawing with a cup of tea.

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  3. Creative Writing 101 #shorts

  4. dream sequence

  5. The Lost Soul (A short Tragedy Film) Grade 12- St. James (Creative Writing Task)

  6. smart 🤓 writing #shorts


  1. Creative Writing Ideas and Tasks

    Creative writing is any kind of writing that displays imagination or invention. It goes beyond the bounds of regular professional, journalistic, academic, or

  2. KS1 Story Starters and Prompts

    Help children think of stories to write with these great prompts. The best thing about creative writing is that you're free to let your imagination and

  3. Creative writing prompts for KS1 and KS2 English

    Creative writing prompts – Best activities and resources for KS1 and KS2 English. Schoolboy and teacher in creative writing lesson.

  4. Creative Writing Ideas

    Creative Writing Ideas · 1) Writing Traditional Stories from a Different Point of View · 2) Design a New Room for the Chocolate Factory · 3) Missing Person · 4)

  5. Creative Writing Tasks for KS1 Students

    You can find 23 creative writing tasks with picture prompts in these ppts. Unlike technical, academic, and other forms of writing, creative

  6. 220 KS1 writing ideas

    Aug 18, 2021 - Explore Trisha Moore's board "KS1 writing ideas" on Pinterest. ... Creative ESL Teaching Notes and Ideas - ESLBuzz Learning English

  7. Fun Writing Activities for KS1

    Fun Writing Activities for KS1 · Salt Tray Fun · Word Hunt · Story Dice · Senses · Character swap · What would you do? · Nonsense poems · Tea Party.

  8. Creative writing prompts for kids

    Download a FREE Creative Writing toolkit! KS1 & KS2 workbooks; Bursting with fill-in prompt sheets and inspiring ideas; Story structure tips, style guides

  9. Creative Story Writing Ideas for Children

    The fun traditional tales writing prompts give children ideas to make ... @Twinkl Teaches KS1 for more creative ways to teach by using our

  10. 25 Creative Writing Prompts For KS1 And KS2

    Imagine your favourite toy came to life! · Describe the place you live as if you were talking to an alien from another planet. · Write about the best day out ever