Some kids can’t wait to grow up. They look at all the things they can’t do yet and fantasize about the day they’ll be big enough to make their own decisions and live their own lives. Others want to stay kids forever. Like Peter Pan, they’re quite happy with the way things are now and would like them to stay that way.
As their teacher, I’m always torn between wanting my elementary students to enjoy their youth for as long as they can and wanting to see what amazing things they’ll do with the rest of their lives. But they are going to grow up—and it’s up to us adults to set them up for a future they can look forward to.
Presenting them with possibilities and encouraging them to explore their feelings about growing up in a positive way helps them think more critically about what it means to grow up, and what their own adulthood might look like. These writing prompts give them the opportunity to express their feelings and thoughts on the matter constructively and creatively—and become published authors in the process!
Prompt #1: “What are you looking forward to about growing up? Why?”
This prompt encourages students who want to stay young and carefree to try and see growing up in a more positive light and consider what the silver linings of adulthood might be. At the same time, it leads those who want to grow up to take a closer look at their own reasons why.
Prompt #2: “Describe where you see yourself in 10 years, and how you will get there.”
This prompt digs deep and asks your elementary students to brainstorm ideas for both what they want to be doing in the future and the steps they will need to take in order to get there. If they have a dream job in mind, what do they need to study in school in order to be hired? If they want to own a ranch or build their own cat cafe, what skills will they need in order to make it happen? This writing activity may take the form of a straightforward writing strategy, such as a list or set of framed paragraphs, for younger writers, or a more in-depth journal entry for more experienced wordsmiths.
Prompt #3: “Choose a dream job. Write a journal entry about a typical day on the job.”
When I was a kid, one of the many careers I imagined for myself was to sail the high seas as a marine biologist. It all seemed very exciting and fun—until I found out just how much math I’d have to do! That’s why, instead of the usual dream job resume-writing exercise, I like to use this growing up writing prompt to encourage my students to think more critically about the job they think they want to do someday and what it actually entails on a daily basis. Lots of jobs seem thrilling on paper, but may be a poor fit in practice—and sometimes the reverse is true. It’s a great lesson for your kids to learn early on—always do your research before making a decision!
Prompt #4: “When you have a home of your own someday, where do you want to live? What will life be like there?”
Sneak a little culture and geography into your next creative writing lesson with this growing up writing prompt about your students’ future homes. Ask them to imagine more than just what their dream house would look like—in what city will it be in? What state or country? How will where they live change how they live? Will they dress differently, celebrate holidays in new ways or speak a different language? Even if they plan on living in the same place they’re in now, they can imagine what changes they might make to their home, or how life might be different by the time they’re all grown up. What new technology might exist by then? Will flying cars finally be a thing?
Finding the Fun in Growing Up
As Peter Pan says, growing up is “an awfully big adventure.” Whether it’s one your students are hesitant to begin or eagerly looking forward to, it’s one they’ll all embark on eventually—and it’s our job as their teachers to help them prepare for that journey. These writing prompts will help you guide them through the process of exploring their feelings about growing up and help them form clearer pictures of what they have to look forward to in the future—namely, the adventure of a lifetime.