Essay Writing Ideas for Elementary School Kids—
Journal writing is a time-honored pedagogical tradition, helping kids engage with their budding vocabularies, penmanship, and reading comprehension, all while getting to use their imaginations and process their own thoughts and feelings. In other words, journal writing rocks.
That doesn’t mean any ol’ journaling session is effective, however. If you just toss kids down at their seats with notebooks and pencils and tell them to have at it, they’re likelier to produce rambling absurdity than they are well-constructed ideas. That’s not to say absurdity and freedom don’t have their place, because they do – but that’s what free-writing is for, not structured journal time.
With that in mind, here’s a starter list of essay writing topics that give your student’s structured journaling time some direction. Use these essay prompts for elementary students to help kids get better at personal essay writing, learn to use those budding language skills, and express their ideas more effectively!
Excellent Essay Writing Prompts for Elementary Kids
- What do you like LEAST about summer?
- What’s your favorite day of the week and why?
- If you could be any made-up animal, what would you be? Feel free to choose something from mythology or invent your own creature.
- What is a good friend?
- What’s the best dinner you’ve ever had?
- A girl walks into a dark cave and hears a noise that sounds like the clinking of gold, followed by laughter. What is happening in that cave, and what would she see if she turned on the light?
- What is your favorite family tradition?
- What is your favorite dessert? Describe what it looks, tastes, smells, and feels like, and explain why you like it so much.
- What is your idea of a perfect weekend day?
- Have you ever ridden an animal (like a pony, horse, camel, or elephant)? What was it like and would you do it again? If you haven’t, what kind of animal would you like to ride?
- What do you like best about spring?
- What is the biggest apology you’ve ever had to give? How did you feel while you were giving it, beforehand and afterward?
- What do you like best about winter?
- If you could teach a classroom, what changes would you make compared to classrooms you’ve been in before?
- What would your ideal home look like?
- What is your bedroom like? Try to describe it in as detailed a way as possible: who you share it with (if anyone), what color the walls are, what the windows are like, what you have in it, and so on.
- What do you fear?
- When you have to face a fear, what do you do to help yourself be brave?
- Who is your hero, and why do you look up to them so much?
- What is the perfect pet?
- If you could choose to be any superhero, who would it be and why? If you prefer, you can just choose a superpower to have, and describe what it would be like to have it and why you like the idea.
- What does the future hold for you?
- A group of kids are shipwrecked on an island and they have to figure out how to survive for a year. What is the first step they should take?
- How do you try to be a good friend to others? List the ways.
- What do you like better, giving or receiving presents?
- What is your least favorite food and how does it make you feel? Describe it with all of your senses (yes, even hearing!).
- What do you like best about autumn?
- If you had a perfect fantasy day, where you could do anything in the entire world or even in the galaxy, what would you do?
- When you get sad, what makes you happy? Use as much detail as possible.
- What would you like to be when you grow up, and why?
- What is your favorite color, and how does it make you feel?
- You wake up one morning and everything in your life is different, but you don’t remember it changing. What would you do?
- Are you a dog person or a cat person?
- What is your favorite activity to do after dinnertime? Why do you like this activity?
- When you help your parents or guardians out, how do you help them? What are your most common chores, and do you like or dislike them?
- What are you best at? Describe the skill in detail as well as why you’re good at it.
- What would your ideal castle be like? Describe its specific parts – such as the grounds, the rooms, the main hall, or the jousting yards – as well as the overall effect of the building.
- What is your favorite school subject and why?
- Do you like chocolate? Why or why not?
- What is the best present you have ever received?
- Do you prefer weekdays or weekends?
- How many places have you lived, and what did you like or dislike about them?
- What’s your favorite music?
- Are you excited to grow up, or do you wish you could stay a kid?
- Do you like writing? What would you change about journal writing time if you could?
- Design three essay prompts that you would give the students in this classroom. Why do you think these are good subjects to write about? (Think carefully – we may use these prompts this year!)
More Writing Resources for Elementary Students
Until next time, write on…
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