Reading dozens of essays about summer vacations can get a little old. Sure, the first few are fun, if not envy-inducing (What second grader gets to spend their summer on their family’s private island?). But once you’re five or six essays in, all the details blend together. Why not start the year off right with some summer writing prompts for all ages that are actually fun to write — and even better, fun to read?
Forget the standard five-paragraph narrative summer writing prompt. Try out a creative approach to the assignment and start the year off right.
Write a persuasive essay in which you’re convincing someone to do what you did on summer vacation. Why should they give up their plans to join you on your vacation? What made it so great — and why is it better than other types of vacations?
Ten weeks is a lot of time to write about. Instead, brainstorm just a few important moments that occurred over the summer (it’s okay if there’s only one or two).
Get summary writing skills started early with a writing challenge. First, write a five-sentence paragraph about your summer vacation. Then, rewrite your description — in two sentences.
Narrow the information down to one sentence, then down to six words. You can stop there, or you can try to summarize your vacation in two or three words. Share your (very) short story with the class.
Who says a summer vacation essay has to be an essay? Let students be creative with a variety of different written forms — and even some artistic forms as well.
- Describe your summer vacation in third person, as if it were happening in a book.
- Choose a poetic form to describe your summer vacation (younger grades can write acrostic poems, while older students can write epic poems).
- Create a comic strip or graphic novel about your summer vacation.
- Write about your summer vacation in screenplay form.
- Design a flier or one-pager advertising something you did on your summer vacation.
- Write a letter to your summer vacation as if it were a person. It can be a friendly letter or a letter of complaint, depending on how you feel about it.
- Create a Mad Libs game about your summer vacation by writing a few sentences, then removing various nouns, adjectives, and verbs. Try it out with a friend to see how funny they can make your vacation sound.
If you’re looking for some quick warm-up summer writing prompts, you don’t need to settle for “What did you do on summer vacation?” Instead, try:
- What percentage of your summer did you spend sleeping? Do you wish you’d slept more or less?
- If you had to create a new holiday that sums up your summer vacation (such as “National Eating Cereal Out of the Box Day”), what would it be? How would people celebrate?
- Do you love hot weather or hate it? Did this summer change your mind?
- What typical “summer vacation” thing (such as going to the beach, camping, s’mores) do you actually dislike? Why?
- What’s a childhood memory you have from a summer vacation in the past?
- If your summer vacation had a mascot, what would it be? (Bonus points for illustrations.)
- If you had an extra week of summer, what would you do with it?
- What three songs would be on the soundtrack for your summer vacation? Why?
- If a fly were watching you for one day during the summer, what would it see?
- What’s one thing you would have changed about your summer vacation (besides make it longer)?
- If you had to repeat one day of your summer vacation with no changes, which day would you choose?
- What’s the strangest dream you had over the summer? What do you think it means?
It can be tempting to skip the summer vacation prompt, especially since students have probably already told each other what they did during the summer. But summer vacation writing — no matter what form or prompt you use — is an important way for you to get to know your students. You can learn a lot about their sense of humor and writing skills with these prompts.
Additionally, writing about summer vacation puts it in the past. Yes, we all liked sleeping in until 10 a.m., but that’s over now. The school year has begun, and it’s time to get to work (but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing).