Learning to Write | Descriptive Writing Skills - FamilyEducation

"Painting Word Pictures" Writing Activity

Your child can practice her descriptive writing skills with this quick writing activity. She will learn how to write detailed and descriptive sentences.

Red Pencil Writing on White Paper

Descriptive writing plays a big part in writing stories, but it stands on its own as a specific type of writing. It is, in fact, a lot like painting a picture with words. A good piece of descriptive writing uses detailed, vivid words to describe all the facets of a person, place, thing, or idea. Painting Word Pictures is a quick activity to help your child practice the power of using detailed description.

Skills Being Practiced

  • Descriptive writing skills
  • Being detail-oriented

What You Need

  • Pencil and paper
  • Timer

How to Play

1. Sit down with your child and tell her you are each going to write a description of one of your favorite things. It can be a food, a place, a person, or anything else she can think of, but neither of you is allowed to tell the other your topic.
2. Explain that when you are done writing, you will each read the other's piece and try to figure out what picture has been painted with the words, so including a lot of detail is a way of providing clues.
3. Set a timer for 10 minutes. When the timer rings, exchange papers and see if you can guess what each of you "painted."

Extend the Learning

If your child is having a hard time painting word pictures, start more simply. Take her on a nature walk or look through magazines together. Choose something she sees and ask her to write about it, describing what she sees, what she smells, and what she feels (both physically and emotionally).
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