Kids are incredible. They can build whole worlds out of a few toys and the power of their minds—and the Legos are optional. They conjure up characters on a whim, spin the strangest stories, all without batting an eye.
With a little direction and motivation, their imaginations become powerful tools for learning and skill-building—and nowhere is this truer than in the realm of creative writing. Use these writing prompts to give your 2nd graders a nudge in the right direction.
Prompt #1: “If you could be someone else’s imaginary friend, whose would you be?”
To really spark your students’ imaginations, take a familiar topic and turn it on its head. Instead of asking them to write about an imaginary friend of their own, ask them to brainstorm some ideas about what it would be like to be someone else’s imaginary friend. What would they do together for fun? What sort of fun secrets would they share? Would they talk in code, or go on imaginary adventures together to distant lands?
And of course, the biggest question of all: what would life be like as an imaginary friend, someone who could only be seen by the person who imagined them in the first place? Or, can other people imagine them, too? Can imaginary friends be shared?
Prompt #2: “If you could visit any planet, which one would you pick?”
Take your 2nd grade students on an intergalactic adventure without having to leave the classroom. This prompt is a great way to sneak a little science into your students’ writing sessions by asking them to remember what they’ve learned about each planet. Sure, Jupiter looks cool from space—but getting there means braving a storm that’s wider than the entire planet Earth! Maybe they’d rather find out what Saturn’s rings look like up close, or get a nice summery tan on Venus.
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Prompt #3: “Imagine you have $1 million to give away to others. Who will you give money to?”
My favorite thing about this prompt is that it redirects the focus so that it’s about giving, not getting. Rather than ask your students what they would do if they suddenly got rich, invite them to consider what good they could do if they had the chance to make others’ lives better. Would they give the money to friends or family members, donate to charity, or fund the next technological or scientific breakthrough?
Prompt #4: “What is something you are scared of? What would make it less scary?”
Inspired by the boggart scene from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, this imaginative assignment gently prompts your 2nd graders to face their fears by turning something scary into something silly or sweet. Are snakes scary? Would they still be scary if they were pink and fluffy? Are you frightened of clowns? Think of how ridiculous a clown would look like wearing all his clown clothes, but no makeup! Ask them to describe their fear’s transformation in detail. It’s a great way to show your students how to confront their fears in a safe, constructive way—no magic wands necessary.
Prompt #5: “What would happen if you were suddenly transported into their favorite fairytale?”
Let your students play in someone else’s imagination for a change by inviting them into the world of their favorite classic fairytale. What would they do there? How would the other characters in the story would react to them? And of course, most importantly: how would they change the course of the story?
Inspiring Imaginative Writing
Writing helps your kids get their ideas out of their heads and into the world, showing them how even the craziest notions can be fuel for making something wonderful. And, by publishing those ideas, you can boost their confidence by helping them see just how powerful their imaginations really are—and what sort of amazing things they can accomplish with that power.