Fun writing activities for all ages

Copyright National Lilac Publishing, LLC

One of the most fun writing activities for kids or adults we’ve ever facilitated started out with creative writing activities each participant enjoyed individually (writing their own poems, jokes, etc.). Then, they turned their collection of creations into an illustrated and bound book topped off by presenting their published book at an authors' book party. There are many online tutorials on how to hand-bind books into authentic-looking hardbounds, as well as companies (such as Costco) that will hardbound small numbers of books for a fee. There are also tutorials on ways to teach various poetry, limerick and knock-knock jokes online.

Below, we'll offer a how-to on writing the groaner joke which includes an element of storytelling. (And more about the final authors' party below).

The particular writing activity we’re focused on here involves the slightly longer “groaner jokes” which kids and adults love to write. They really make writers get creative with the English language. The best writing activities for kids, or anyone, make them use their English skills in a way that they *want* to use proper spelling and grammar correctly, because it becomes a finished work of literature they’re going to show others.

From Amy Rose: How to write longer creative “groaner” jokes

Groaner jokes such as "Hey, did you hear? I got kicked out of a café for coughing," tell a short story as though it's a story about something interesting that really happened, then ends with plays on words as the punch line to make listeners roll their eyes and groan at the agony of listening to something that ridiculous. ("The owner said it was a de-coughinated café).

But we’ll be writing longer, storytelling ones here.

It makes a great group activity for creative writing activities because people write independently, yet their creations become a collection to publish as one volume.

After writing a joke like this, be sure to tell it like it's a real story about you or something you heard on the news, then casually drop the nauseatingly stupid punch line on your victim. Some people love them, some hate them, but they all tend to groan after hearing them.

Fun writing activities step 1: Brainstorm well-known terms or phrases that have at least three words. They can be conversation terms, phrases from well-known songs, movies, and book titles. Examples include: "Internal Revenue Service," "kill two birds with one stone," "Some day my prince will come," "Alice in Wonderland," “The French Connection," "The Lone Ranger."

Fun writing activities step 2: From this list, brainstorm opposite words within these phrases, such as "External" for "Internal." "Disconnection" for "Connection." You don't have to come up with an opposite for every phrase or word, just find opposites for those that are easiest and fun. Opposites are just one option for this writing activity.

Fun writing activities step 3: Then brainstorm homophones for some of the words in these phrases, which are words that sound exactly (or almost) the same but have different meanings and spellings. Examples include, "prints" for "prince," and "Loan" for "Lone."

Fun writing activities step 4: Now, brainstorm rhyming words for some of the words in these phrases, and even words that sort of rhyme, such as "say" for "day," "drum" for "come," "stranger," for "ranger," "malice" for "Alice," "thunder" for "wonder," "avenue" for "revenue," "nerds" for "birds," "thrill" for "kill," and "bone" for "stone."

Fun writing activities step 5: Create the final punchline, even though we don't have the joke story that will lead up to the final punchline  created yet. With these new word replacement lists (the opposites, homophones and rhymes), write some original phrases out in new forms, making sure they're not so different from the original that people won't recognize their original form when they hear your new form:

Examples include: External Avenue Service, Thrill two nerds with one bone, Malice in Thunderland, The French Disconnection, The Loan Stranger, Some say my prints will drum. (Can you see why these are such fun kids' activities?)

Test the new phrases on a few victims to see if they instantly recognize the original phrase from hearing your distorted one. If you feel your versions of new punch line phrases are so changed that no one will recognize the familiar terms they're spoofing, revert a word or two back to the original, such as, "Some say my prints will drum" back to "Some say my prints will come."

Fun writing activities step 6: With one or more chosen phrases, ask what on earth could be a result of someone saying, for example, "I thrilled two nerds with one bone?" When you ask yourself a question, your mind begins to search for the answer, and asking questions triggers storytelling creativity.

Don't be concerned if the story doesn't emerge immediately, or your first ideas need tweaking. Carry a notepad with you and be ready when inspiration strikes. You'll eventually get much faster and better at this type of fun writing activity.

This is an important part of this writing activity -- knowing how important it is to the creative process to deliberately ask oneself, "What type of service could an External Avenue Service be?" or "How could a bone be thrilling to exactly two people?" and then, "to two nerds?"

Fun writing activities step 7: Perfect your story and timing. Once you've come up with the story and have given it a few days to mull over and polish, find new victims to practice on. Eye rolling and deep groaning are signs you've done a good job.

"Two computer nerd twin brothers came home from college for Thanksgiving one year. Later that night after dinner, the father handed the wishbone to both of his sons and promised them, 'whoever gets the larger half after pulling on the bone will have his wildest dreams come true, guaranteed... it worked for me -- I got a sports car by winning this when I was your age.' A few seconds later his wife entered the room and asked what the shrieking of 'Awesome! Hurry, let's try it!" was all about. The father told her, "I just thrilled two nerds with one bone."

The completion of your fun writing activities project and authors' party

Choose one or more jokes from each writer, print them out front and back, illustrate them, then bind them into a collection for your home or classroom library. Or, bind one for each writer.

Then finish with a book party for the authors with invited guests, and allow any volunteer writers to do a stand up comedy reading the jokes out loud. Don’t force shy ones to do oral reading. Give them other important jobs such as serving snacks to the audience.

If this is a young kids' writing activity, encourage a good response from the audience for each writing creation read aloud, as the authors will be comparing responses.

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