Does your elementary schooler consider writing assignments a pointless chore? Give him a taste of how editors (and snarky bloggers) see the world by letting him create captions for random photos — no description is too silly! Help him expand his vocabulary by busting out the dictionary or thesaurus, or suggest he use rhymes, alliteration, and tongue twisters to make his writing jump off the page.

What you’ll need

Family photos or old magazines and catalogs
A small notebook, poster board, or several sheets of plain paper plus construction paper
A stapler
A pencil or pen, colored pencils, or markers

How to do it

Give your child some family photos or old magazines and catalogs to look through for images. Let him glue several photos that interest him into a small notebook or onto a sheet of poster board or several sheets of plain paper. Encourage your child to think of descriptive, funny, or just plain crazy captions for each photo. Have him write the captions below the photos (with help if needed). If you’ve used plain paper, assemble the pages into a booklet by adding a construction-paper cover and stapling everything together.

Adapted from The Children’s Busy Book, by Trish Kuffner, with permission from its publisher, Meadowbrook Press, © 2001.