Creative writing is an important part of any student’s academic writing career. Creative writing not only allows students to engage their imagination, but it also allows them to hone vital skills that translate across disciplines.
These creative writing prompts focus on descriptive writing that can help a student create work that is rich in detail, utilizes a larger vocabulary, works with figurative language and focuses on their five senses. Check out these 2nd grade writing prompts to get your students excited about creative writing in no time!
Be sure to keep reading, as we’ve included advice to help you come up with your own exciting writing prompts below!
2nd Grade Writing Prompts That Build Creative Writing Skills
Help your students learn to create writing that is full of colorful descriptions and vivid detail. These prompts will get your students’ creative juices flowing and help them build their writing skills. You can take any of these prompts and add illustrations to the narratives to create an awesome classbook that tells a great story!
Writing Prompt #1: Dogs have taken over the world. How do things change? What would they make humans do?
This writing prompt helps students focus on specific detail writing while expanding their vocabulary—two important components of creative writing. Before you have your students dive into this prompt, ask them to sit for a few moments and really imagine what the world would look like if dogs actually took over.
Then, as they are picturing it in their head, have them write down a few words that come to mind on a piece of paper. These words can be anything from scary to funny to smelly or even weird. The goal is to have them associate particular descriptive words with the scene they are going to be writing about.
Then, have your students begin to create an outline of important points they would like to make about what happens when the dogs take over. Creating an outline will help them organize their ideas and stay on track in their writing.
After your students have an outline that they are happy with, complete with details that they find important, they can begin writing about what the world would look like if dogs took over.
Have your students write in the present tense and incorporate the descriptive words that they wrote down earlier to create a world where dogs rule and place the reader in that exact moment. To do this, they will need to focus on descriptive words and details.
Once your students have written about what they believe the world would be like if dogs took over, have them draw their scene out visually. Creative descriptive writing and visual arts have so much in common that combining them together in one lesson can help students understand the concept of descriptive writing even better.
Ask your students to visualize the scene they’ve just created and draw out images that depict what they wrote. Then, collect all your students’ drawings and publish them in a classbook that they can take home to their parents and their dogs!
Writing Prompt #2: If you could build the perfect house, what would it look like? What would you put in it?
One of the keys to descriptive writing is learning how to use sensory details. This prompt is a great way to teach your students the importance of adding sensory details as they describe what their perfect house would look like.
Have your students go beyond thinking about what the exterior of the house would be. Have them think about specifics like what color the walls are, what the kitchen smells like, what the rugs feel like, etc.
Here are some questions to have your students answer before they start writing. These questions will engage your students’ five senses and can help them start thinking about descriptive writing in terms of sensory details.
- What does your dream house look like?
- What do the inside and outside of the house smell like?
- What does the air around the house feel like?
- What does the food in the kitchen taste like?
- What kinds of sounds do you hear inside of your dream house? What about outside?
- How does your house feel? Is the outside smooth or rough? Is the inside soft and cozy?
You can also provide your students with a list of descriptive sensory words that they can incorporate into their prompt. Before they start writing, have them write down the different areas of their dream home that they want to describe and write down words that they want to associate with that room.
Have your students use their writing to take you on a guided tour of their dream home. Have them start with the exterior and then take you through the different rooms inside describing how those rooms affect their senses. Once your students have completed their writing, have them put their words into action.
Have your students draw their dream home and put the descriptive words they choose in each of the areas they chose to write about. Gather the writing and illustrations and publish them in a classbook.
After your classbooks arrive, you can have your students create models of their dream homes in class or at home and you can have a mini Parade of Homes to celebrate their accomplishments.
Writing Prompt #3: You have become a monster. Describe the type of monster you would be and what you would do.
There are a number of different ways to approach descriptive writing. At its core, descriptive writing is meant to engage students creatively and get them thinking about specific things that come together to create a scene or story.
With this writing prompt, your students will pretend that they are a monster and use aspects of their personality to describe what they would do. This prompt is the perfect opportunity to work with your students on physical description, expanding their vocabulary and introspection.
When your students are thinking about what their monsters would do or how they would act based on their own personality, have them ponder these questions.
- Do you help your friends out a lot? Could you be a helpful monster?
- Do you like to play outside? Will your monster spend most of its time outdoors?
- Where is your favorite place to be? Will your monster live there?
- Do they like making people laugh? Could your monster be a comedian?
These simple reflections are a great way to get your students thinking about their own personalities and incorporating those aspects into their descriptive creative writing. Of course, they can also include whimsical attributes and allow their monster to fly or grow flowers by snapping their fingers, but the monster should reflect who they are in the end.
When your students are describing what type of monster they would be, have them make a list of specific things they want to include: how many arms will they have? What does their skin feel like? Where are their eyes? This will allow your students to start working with specific details and incorporating physical descriptions into their writing.
Since your students are pretending that they are monsters in their writing, why not have them actually become the monsters? Have your students create masks that are based on the descriptions they wrote about in their prompt. Using googly eyes, feathers and construction paper, your students can create some pretty convincing monster faces.
Have your students look in the mirror or take a selfie and draw a self-portrait of themselves as their monsters. Take the self-portraits and monster descriptions and create a classbook that they can share with their friends and families!
Writing Prompt #4: You are a space explorer and have found a new planet teeming with aliens. Describe your first day in this new place.
This writing prompt is great for getting students familiar with types of figurative language. As your students are describing their first day on a new planet, they can do so using similes and metaphors.
Before they start working on this writing prompt, make sure that they get used to working with the different types of figurative language by using a worksheet like this one.
Here are some questions you can ask your students to help them start brainstorming ideas for their new planet and how they can write about it using similes and metaphors.
- Does anything about your new planet remind you of something at home? Can you compare the two planets?
- Do the aliens on your new planet look like any other type of creature you’ve seen before? How are they similar to humans or animals? How are they different?
- What types of things are there to do on your new planet? Are they similar to the things you would do on earth?
Have your students take a minute to think about each question and visualize their planet. You can help your students organize their thoughts by having them divide a piece of paper in half; on one side, they will write about a few things that they visualized their planet having and add something similar that exists on earth on the other side.
Did they visualize their aliens having extremely long legs? They can compare them to an ostrich! If they viewed their new planet as being sandy and hot, they can compare it to the Sahara Desert or even a sandbox on a hot summer day.
Your students can really let their imaginations run wild with this writing prompt. Just ensure that they use some comparisons in their writing so that the reader can get a good picture of the crazy planet they dreamed up.
To help your students further visualize the aspects of the planet they are visiting, have them create a map of what their new planet looks like and use drawings to depict what they see on the planet. They can use this drawing as a guide to help them stay on track while they write.
After your students complete their writing, you can use the maps they drew to really show readers what their planet is like. Then, showcase their work in an out-of-this-world classbook!
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Writing Prompt #5: You woke up this morning and were invisible. Tell me what that feels like and what you would do with your new power.
This writing prompt is perfect for helping students hone in on writing sensory details. As your students imagine themselves with their newfound invisibility powers, a good way to explain to them how to write about it is as if they were watching a movie. Comparing descriptive writing to visual film is an easy way to have them understand the concept of showing and not telling.
Instead of telling the reader that you are invisible, show them through your writing and details.
To get started, give them a few examples of how they could show they are invisible without saying it outright. Use example sentences like, “I waved my arms at my mom and she completely ignored me” or “I looked in the mirror and didn’t see my reflection.”
This prompt is also a great opportunity to reiterate the importance of sensory details in creative writing. What does it feel like to be invisible? Do you feel lighter, heavier or the same? What are the sensations like? Can you feel hot or cold? Can you walk through walls? Does it hurt?
Having students answer questions like these is a great way to have them think creatively and add details to their writing.
Give your students an outline to work with. Here is an idea of what it will look like.
- What event occurred that made you realize you were invisible?
- Explain how being invisible made you feel physically different.
- What do you plan to do while you are invisible?
You can do an exercise to help each of your students get a feeling of what it would be like to be invisible by having everyone close their eyes while one student does what they want (within reason) around the classroom for 30 seconds. Have your students write down how they felt after being invisible. They can use these emotions to further enhance their writing.
After your students write about being invisible, have them draw the sequence of events they experienced in their story. Have your students place a different detail or description that they wrote about with a corresponding illustration. Collect all your students’ invisibility stories and illustrations together and combine them into a fun and creative classbook!
Writing Prompt #6: You are going on a trip, but you can only take five items with you. Which items would you pick? Why did you pick those items?
As with any type of writing, the organization of the details your students write about is key. This prompt allows your students to decide which details and descriptions are most important to their overall narrative. Before you begin, have your students think of the five items they would take with them.
Then, have them write down descriptive words for each item, ordering them from what they think is the most important detail to the least important detail. For example, if one of their items was a raft, is it a more important detail that the life raft is yellow or that it has the ability to float?
This type of exercise will help your students determine the best way to go about describing particular objects. Which details are more descriptive and important than others?
Have your students differentiate between items that they want to take and items that they need to take on their trips. Have them sort these items into two categories. One student may want to take their favorite stuffed animal, a book and a game, while another may remind them that they might want clean socks.
Have your students draw out each of their items. Then, have them take another look at the descriptive details they decided to use in their writing and have them draw out the details. If one of their details was that an item was big, what does big look like? This will help your students visualize the details and descriptive words better.
Collect all of their drawings and illustrations and publish them in an adventure-filled classbook! One day, they may take a trip and remember the importance of bringing a fresh pair of socks with them!
Tips to Help You Create Your Own Writing Prompts!
We just provided six fun and engaging writing prompts that you can use to stimulate your 2nd graders’ creativity. However, what if you want to come up with your own writing prompts? We have you covered!
Coming up with writing prompts that are unique, exciting and don’t utilize tired old tropes like “what’s your favorite book?” or “what’s your favorite school subject?” can be challenging. These endlessly recycled questions grow old very quickly and are likely to cause your students to become disinterested or bored.
This is why we have come up with some tips to help you create your own awesome writing prompts for your students.
Play to Your Students’ Interests
What do you hear your students talking about in the classroom? Do they love unicorns? Do they endlessly watch superhero movies? Do they adore rainbows or play a specific video game? Are your students doing some dance they saw on YouTube?
No matter what they like, there’s always a hook that will work as a writing prompt. Here are a few quick ideas, plus a full project idea below.
- If you could be any animal (real or fantasy), which would you pick and why? What activities would you do as that animal?
- What is your favorite toy? If that toy could come to life, how do you think it would spend its time?
- Imagine there are no video games, internet, iPads or even televisions. How would you spend your free time? How would the world be different?
- If you had to make up a new dance move, what would it look like? How would you persuade everyone else to get on board with your new dance?
Going off the assumption that most kids like superheroes, provide the following writing prompt. Imagine everyone in your family has a superpower. Who has what power and how does it work?
This might make for a fun dinner conversation to discuss their thoughts with their family before finalizing their answer. Finish off the project with a drawing of their superhero family and create a super-powered classbook!
Add Writing Exercises into Other Subjects
When making your lesson plans for other subjects like social studies, math or science, you can look for opportunities to create writing prompts based on those existing lessons. There are lots of opportunities to plan cross-curriculum projects for your class.
For example, if you’re studying the states and learning their capitals, you might ask what state is each student’s favorite and why? Or, which state would your students like to travel to and what would they do once they got there?
Whether they do an involved writing prompt with research, outlines and multiple drafts or a short and simple prompt that focuses on an imaginative answer and tells a story, writing prompts can work for you in a number of ways. Plus, it gives your students a break from reading their textbooks.
Every student learns about planets at some point or another, and space is always a fascinating subject. Here’s a writing prompt. You discovered a new planet. What does it look like, and would people and other life forms be able to live on it? Describe your planet based on your knowledge of the planets in our solar system.
Once they complete their writing exercises, your students can create an illustration of their imaginary planet, maybe even adding in some life forms that inhabit the planet. Create a classbook out of these interstellar projects and then have a space-themed party to celebrate the published books when they arrive.
Use Two- or Three-part Prompts
You already know that one of the best ways to learn more about your elementary students is to ask them questions. Not just yes-or-no questions but involved questions that require more detailed answers.
Notice how all of the writing prompts we’ve used as examples in this post (and all of our posts really!) involve more than one part. It might just be the addition of “and why?” or it might be a second question that helps your students expand upon their answers.
The additional parts are there to require your students to think of other details, facts, characteristics and reasoning, depending on the nature of the topic. Oftentimes, the more detailed the prompt, the more in-depth response you’ll elicit from your students.
The following multi-part prompt is great because all students have thought about how much they dislike school rules—so give them the opportunity to change them through writing! The prompt could be something like, if I was in charge of the school, what rules would I add? What rules would I get rid of? What would you do if no one followed your rules?
This prompt is a great opportunity to talk about how rules help keep us in line and what might happen if those rules were to change. Pair this prompt with drawings of your students as the school principal to complete the project.
Make this writing assignment one to remember by creating a classbook. We bet that your students and their families will get a kick out of reading about how students would change things up in the school.
Turn Your Students into Published Authors with Help from Studentreasures!
One way to get your students super excited about a given project is to compile all of their work together and publish it into a classbook! These high-quality, lovingly crafted classbooks serve as fantastic mementos and keepsakes for your students and their families to hold onto for years to come. You can also keep copies in your classroom to remind you of years past.
Our classbook publishing kits are completely free, and you can get started today! Additionally, we provide free worksheets and lesson plans through our online Teachers Lounge, or you can take a look at our blog for more writing prompts, classroom activities and skill-building techniques!