Life has many sports, and one that every teacher is familiar with is the sport of collecting writing prompt ideas for the classroom! Writing is one of the most important foundational skills students will learn, and their proficiency in writing correlates with future successful outcomes in many aspects of their personal and professional lives.
While some students are naturally interested in writing, others can be a bit more reluctant. An effective way to entice reluctant writers is by offering writing prompts that align with their specific interests. These sports-themed writing prompts for elementary students will give your classroom’s sports enthusiasts a chance to try out being sports writers!
The rest of your classroom will also benefit from practicing their writing skills as they reflect, compose and edit their way to a fine piece of writing about sports.
If you have students who claim not to be interested in sports at all, expand your definition of what makes a sport! Consider esports, other gaming competitions like chess tournaments or more solitary athletic activities like skateboarding.
1. Your Favorite Sport
Ask your students to write about their favorite sport. What is it? How is it played? When did they learn about this sport? Is it a sport they play themselves or one they prefer to watch? Is it popular or is it one most people don’t know about? Who is the most famous personality from this sport?
2. Your Favorite Athlete
Have your students think about all the famous sports personalities and athletes they know about. Next, ask them to write about their favorite. Why is this athlete their favorite? What have they done to become famous at their sport? How long have they been practicing? How long have they been playing professionally? What have they done to give back to their community or their fans?
3. Interview an Athlete
Have your students imagine that they’re going to have the opportunity to ask five questions to any athlete or sports personality of their choosing. Have them decide which five questions they would ask and to which athlete they would ask the questions. Encourage your class to go beyond typical interview questions—especially the ones that have already been answered by the athlete in the past—and focus on a few more unique questions instead.
4. The Best Sport
Ask your students to write all about the best sport. Unlike their favorite sport, the best sport is one they invent by taking all the parts they like about other sports and leaving out everything they don’t! How is the sport played? How many players and teams are there? How is the game won? How are the winners of the game rewarded?
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5. Tell It Like a Sports Announcer
Challenge your class to each recount a recent event from their lives as if it was being commentated by a sports announcer. Everything from birthday parties to family vacations to tagging along on grocery store errands will be transformed by the inherent drama of framing every interaction as a contest!
6. Compare and Contrast
6a. Two Sports
Have your students choose two sports to compare and contrast. What makes these sports similar? What makes them different? What is something that’s done in one sport that would improve the other sport if it was added? What is something one sport doesn’t do that would improve the other sport if it was left out? Which of the two does your student prefer more? Why?
6b. Two Teams
Have your students choose two sports teams to compare and contrast. What makes these teams similar? What makes them different? Why is one team more successful than the other? Which team has existed longer? Which of the two does your student prefer more? Why?
6c. Two Players
Have your students choose two sports players to compare and contrast (these players can play the same sport or different sports). What makes these players similar? What makes them different? Which player has enjoyed more success? Which of the two does your student prefer more? Why?
7. Freeze Frame
Ask your students to think about their favorite moment playing a sport. This can be a time when they scored a winning goal or made an impressive throw or catch. It could also be an exciting moment they witnessed from the field or the bench. In as much detail as possible, have them recount what happened, any actions they took to make it happen and how they felt about it.
8. Always Try Out Your Best
Challenge your students to imagine that they’re going to try out for a sports team in six weeks. The tryout can be for any team and any sport. What is their plan to improve their sports skills between now and then? Have your students consider the large and small changes they would make so that they can include extra practice sessions and take good care of themselves leading up to the day.
9. Sports Skills
There’s a lot more to learning sports than just knowing the rules of the game! Ask your students to write about something they learned from practicing or playing sports or from someone they play sports with. This can include fun facts, tips and tricks from a coach or other trusted adult, along with general lessons like how to make friends and get along with people you also compete with.
10. Working Through It
One of the biggest benefits to learning sports is learning about communication and how to interact with other people even when emotions get big. Have your students think about a time they got upset with a teammate while playing or practicing a sport. What was the cause of the distress and how did they deal with it, both in the moment and for the future?
11. Losing Like Winners
Ask your students to think about how they feel when they lose a game. What is the immediate reaction? How do they cope with the loss? What are some of the ways they feel rewarded for playing a good game, no matter who wins? What is something they learned from their last losing game that they may have overlooked if they’d won?
12. Play Hard, Recover Well
Have your students write about any time they’ve been injured while playing a sport. What happened? How did it happen? What was the extent of the injury? How did you react in the moment and how was the injury treated? What did you learn from the experience?
13. Who Is Better at Sports?
Ask your students to think about how they feel when they play their favorite sport with someone who is better at sports than they are, like an older sibling or friend. Have them write about how they feel and how they work with those emotions. For example, they might react by wanting to find a way to impress the more experienced player with their existing skills, or they might want to learn more from the more experienced player.
14. Three Strengths
Have your students consider all of the things that make them good at playing their favorite sport. Now have them list three of those strengths. Next, ask them to write about how these strengths benefit them in sports and in other aspects of their lives that aren’t related to sports. Finally, ask them to explain how they improve these strengths in ways other than by playing sports.
15. Training and Preparation
Ask your students to write about the training and preparation they go through to get ready to play a big sports game. This could be a kids league game or for a game they’re looking forward to playing during gym class.
16. Real Sports
Most students have had the opportunity to watch a live sports game up close and in real life, whether it was a professional game at a big stadium, a school-sponsored junior league game or volleyball on the beach at a family reunion. Ask them to write about their experience of seeing the game up close and have them explain how that game was different from the games they’ve watched on TV.
17. (Fake) Sports History
Ask your students to write the full and complete history of any sport of their choosing. The catch? This history has to be 100% fake and inaccurate. The year the sport was invented, its inventor, where it began, the teams that played it, its most famous players and when it became popular should all be details that don’t match any known sport played throughout the world.
When students are super into sports, sports can feel like their whole life, but it’s important that they continue to focus on schoolwork because even getting a full ride sports scholarship depends partially on academic success. From this perspective, ask students to write about several ways they can introduce balance into their lives so that they’re able to meet their academic goals while still having time to play the sports they love.
It’s important for students to have good support systems, like understanding family and friends. Have your students write about the ways they try to keep spirits up when they’re with their teammates, both during times when they’re winning and times when they’re losing. What are some good ways to be supportive for teammates? What are the best ways for your teammates to support you?
20. Everyone Gets Tickets!
Ask your classroom to imagine that everyone will get free tickets to go to the sporting event of their choice anywhere in the world on any future date. What event would they most like to go to? Who would they take with them to see the event? What is something special they’d like to do while they’re there?
21. No More Sports
Have your students imagine that they’ve been cursed to never be able to play sports again. Now that they can never play sports again, what will they do instead? Most students, even the ones who really like sports, will probably have a backup hobby they can see themselves spending more time doing.
A few students will have absolutely no idea what to do with themselves if playing sports is no longer an option—for these students, make sure to remind them they can still be coaches!
22. “I Don’t Like Sports”
For the contrarians in the classroom who couldn’t name a single sportsball team even if their grade depended on it, consider getting creative. If you think about it, anything can be a sport if you’re competitive about it. Challenge these students to choose their own personal secret sport, write up the description and rules and maybe even start their own league.
Help Your Students Publish Their Own Sports Stories!
You can help your class create their own sports-themed classbook and become published authors by using one of our FREE classbook publishing kits! Simply sign up online, and we’ll provide everything you need to publish your students’ writing and illustrations, including any help you need along the way.
Start with any of the above writing prompts and brainstorm from there to begin your classbook project. Each of your students will contribute one page of writing and one page of illustration to help create something so much more than the sum of its parts—you’ll get a free classroom copy, and parents can also order copies to keep at home as a literary time capsule and keepsake for the future.
You can also check out our blog and online Teacher’s Lounge for more writing activities, lesson plans and teaching strategies. Now that you’ve added some guaranteed home runs to your collection of sports-themed writing prompts, you won’t fumble when you take time out of the day to help your class meet their education goals. That’s what we call a hat trick!