Every summer has a story. Do you remember summertime as a kid? Summer meant dripping ice cream, best friend days, late mornings, running through sprinklers…the “summer reading list!” Some of us dreaded having to spend our summer vacations reading, some of us loved it, but all of us did it.
Today, children still have required summer reading. But with this healthy emphasis on summer reading, it’s logical to ask why summer WRITING isn’t also encouraged—especially creative writing.
As a child with a wild imagination and parents who stimulated my creativity, I wrote my way through all four seasons of the year. I wrote poems, letters and notes to my parents and songs on the piano, sometimes even with lyrics.
God and His church were often a focal point of my work. Recently, I rediscovered some of my childhood writing projects. Reading them has been as fun as watching old home videos! I wrote this poem at age 10 to inspire support for the poor:
Here is a birthday poem to my grandfather that I wrote when I was six:
And here is a photo of my mother reading a picture book to me. This is where my love of writing began.
Now that I’m a picture book author, I can see how much these simple things contributed to who I am as a person. How can you help your children to write creatively this summer? Here are 5 little projects you can do:
Thank a Priest – many families vacation in the summer and things around town are slow, even at church. This is a good time of year to have your children write a note of thanks to their parish priest and the staff. Younger children may draw their thoughts, while older children could get specific about what they are thankful for. This allows your child to invest in their parish experience while bringing joy to your parish family with this unexpected surprise .
Write to God – mix up your prayer time with a letter to God. Have your children use this ACTS prayer guide to think of what to say. You could bring these intentions to Mass or another special service and offer them to God. You may also include bible verses, especially for those kids having a hard time producing original content.
Write to a Saint – introduce stories of the saints and have each child choose a saint to write a letter to. As a child, I thought Joan of Arc was incredibly brave. My personality resonated with her bravery, so I would have loved to tell her so!
Write for Charity – ask children to write a letter to their friends encouraging them to help a charity of their choice. It’s never too early to inspire volunteerism and service to the poor. There are many things kids can do to help other than give money, such as donate clothes, write letters to kids in need, write to soldiers overseas, and much more.
Encourage journaling – summer is about experiencing life, family and friends. At least once a week, ask kids to chronicle their summer. Check out these tips for 37 specific journaling ideas.
Every summer has a story, so bring out the stories in the lives of your children this year and give them the gift of the written word.
About the Author
Nicole Lataif is the Founder and Editor of KidsFaithGarden.com and Author of the Christopher Award winning book Forever You: A Book About Your Soul and Body.
Nicole has extensive training in writing for children. She has been active in various children’s writing circles, including membership in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Nicole was a “First Authors Panel” speaker at the January 2013 SCBWI Miami conference and currently leads a children’s picture book writers group in Boston, MA.
Over the past eight years, Nicole has been involved in faith-based initiatives for the Catholic Church. She served as the project lead for Boston’s Papal Pilgrimage to attend Holy Mass with Pope Benedict XVI in 2008, edited and taught a high school chastity curriculum, organized conferences, founded two young adult Catholic groups, and taught Sunday school at parishes in Florida and Massachusetts.
Since graduating from Florida Atlantic University with a degree in Rhetorical Studies, Nicole has also worked in marketing, event planning, media relations, public speaking with various organizations, including the Archdiocese of Boston, the Symphony of the Americas and a law firm.
Nicole is available for speaking engagements, school visits, interviews, and guest blogging. Media inquires may be sent here.