5-Minute Daily Writing Exercises for Busy Families
In between athletics, doctor’s visits, playdates, music recitals, and the other 1,001 things families have on their calendars, it’s not surprising that writing instruction often gets pushed to the bottom of the stack. But what if you found out that you can build some essential writing skills with just five minutes of dedicated practice? That’s right — probably less than the time you waited for your coffee to be ready this morning!
In this post, we’ll offer some unique, skill-building, and fun writing exercises that you and your children can accomplish in five minutes or less. AND, at the end of the post, we’ll even offer you a free download of a “Sibling Appreciation” writing activity worksheet. After all, when writing practice and brother/sister bonding can be accomplished at the same time, it’s a total win-win; right?
So, let’s explore some short-burst writing activities that can have a long-lasting payoff for students!
5-Minute Punctuation Builders
- Create a slogan that would help you remember how to use a specific punctuation mark. For example, “Independent clauses who are chummy always keep a semicolon between them.”
- Print out a page of text from a book your student has never read before and ask him/her to highlight every punctuation mark on the page. For each new mark they come to as they highlight, have them name one punctuation rule associated with that marking.
- Remember playing “Red Light, Green Light?” Draw four separate punctuation marks on four pieces of colored paper. In a large open space, say a sentence and hold up a punctuation mark. If the punctuation mark is correct for that sentence, students can move forward; if not, they stay where they are. Anyone who moves forward incorrectly must go back to the start. Keep using sentences and punctuation marks until a student reaches the finish line.
5-Minute Sentence Builders
- Have students write five sentences about the senses they’re experiencing this very moment. What do they hear? See? Smell? Taste? Feel?
- Find a soft, six-sided object, such as a square piece of foam, and attach a phrase to each side. Examples could include “ate a cake”, “my dog,” and “in the box.” Have your student roll the object; and as they do, name aloud the type of sentence (e.g., exclamatory, interrogative, declarative) that you want them to write using the phrase that lands on top.
- It’s time for a compound sentence relay activity. The first person must write the first clause of a compound sentence with their non-dominant hand. The second person must add the correct punctuation and conjunction while jumping up and down. The third person (or first person if only 2 are playing) must add the final clause and ending punctuation while looking away from the paper.
5-Minute Paragraph Builders
- Find a lengthy block of text in a book or online. Print it out and have your student share opinions of how the text could be broken up and how that would improve the clarity of the text for the reader.
- Practice topic sentence writing by naming random topics and having your student brainstorm topic sentences for a paragraph about each one.
- Pick a short poem and have your student try to turn it into a complete paragraph with a topic sentence, supporting sentences, and conclusion.
5-Minute Writing Prompts
- After listening to a short song that tells a story, you have two minutes to write a summarizing paragraph about the song’s narrative.
- Write an angry poem that must include these five words: ogre, hollow, tired, fortress, insist
- Personify an object in your house. What does it see? What does it feel? What would it say?
Sure, these five-minute, timed writing exercises have the potential to strengthen your student’s written communication skills. But when it’s time for them to truly master grammar and mechanics, sentences, paragraphs, or even essays, there’s no substitute for a targeted online course from Time4Writing. Elementary, middle, and high school students have their choice of 15 different courses designed to address different writing goals. Weekly online lessons can be accessed 24/7 from anywhere with a computer and an internet connection. That means that even the busiest families can incorporate writing instruction into their student’s schedule. Sign up today!
Grab these two 5-minute writing worksheets for elementary students that will not only build sentence skills, but will help build sibling goodwill as well!