Offering age-appropriate inspiration for older elementary kids, these creative 4th grade writing prompts will get minds thinking and pencils moving across the page. From funny prompts to thought-provoking questions, there's something to inspire everyone.
Older elementary kids are fine-tuning their sense of what is funny. They find absurd things hilarious, as well as gross humor. They are becoming better at wit and sarcasm, too. These writing prompts will have them laughing:
- Describe the most disgusting school lunch you can imagine. How do the other kids react to it?
- Would you rather have glitter rain down on you when you walked through a doorway or have your shoes make a loud honking sound with every step? Explain your choice.
- Imagine you spend the entire school day with four hands. How are things different?
- Picture two kids sitting face-to-face with cardboard boxes on their heads. They are playing a game. You write the rules.
- You wake up one morning, and dogs can talk. Describe your day.
- A witch casts a spell on your mom so she can only meow instead of talk. You spend Saturday working with her to break the spell.
- You try a new shampoo and it makes leafy branches sprout from your head. How do you get through your day?
- It's opposites day, and you have to say everything as an opposite. Write about your favorite food.
- A baby is your substitute teacher. What happens?
- You wake up one morning with a tail. How does it help or get in the way?
- Write a story about a character who only knows how to say the word "Yes."
You have a dream that you are performing your favorite song in front of the entire school while wearing a horse mask. Then, you realize it isn't actually a dream. What is going on?
Writing poetry is a great way for 4th graders to express themselves. Great writing prompts help them experiment with new poetry forms and learn about using imagery.
- Write a poem about a sound you love without ever naming the thing that makes the sound.
- Use poetry to tell about a time you were teased or bullied.
- Write a poem from the perspective of the street you live on.
- Write a haiku about the weekend.
- Describe someone you love in a poem of 25 words or fewer.
- What does it feel like to wait for your birthday to come? Write a poem about it.
- What makes you feel better when you're sad? Write a poem in the form of a recipe or doctor's prescription for feeling better.
- Have you had to give something up as you've gotten older? Write a poem about that thing.
- You're walking down a path through a field when you realize it splits in two directions. Write a poem about how you decide which way to go. Read about Robert Frost for inspiration.
- Rewrite your favorite song, making it about school.
- Think of something that is special in your house, such as a decoration or precious item. Describe it in a poem.
- Write a poem about lying awake in your bed at night.
- Think of something broken, such as a bike, a window, a phone, or anything else. How is that broken thing like a situation in your life or in the world?
The middle grades are the golden time for reading, and many 4th graders love fiction. Inspire them to write wonderful and imaginative short stories with these helpful prompts that explore character, setting, and other important elements of fiction:
- Your neighbor tells you she saw a werewolf.
- Your mom asks you to move a picture on your living room wall. When you lift it up, an envelope falls out. It has $1,000 in it.
- A character wakes up surrounded by mist. He or she starts walking, and the mist begins to clear. What does the world look like?
- Every time you open a book, the first page disappears and is replaced by a single word. It's always the same with every book you try to read. What is the word and why does it keep appearing?
- Your main character finds an old film camera in his or her grandparents' house. It still has film in it. When they develop the film, what do the pictures show?
- You find a journal from 1865. It's written by an 11-year-old. You read it, and on the last page, it says, "Please come help me." What happens next?
- The main character of your story wakes up one morning to discover he or she has aged five years overnight.
- You step into your grandmother's coat closet and discover it leads to a jungle. What happens if you step inside?
- Write a story about a boy who wakes up one morning as his own dad and has to go to work in an office.
- You're riding your bike home from your friend's house one evening when you see a UFO. It lands on the path in front of you.
- Write a story about someone who is afraid to try anything new. What happens when that person has to become a taste tester for a cooking show?
- A new girl joins your class. During math, she passes you a note that says, "Do you remember me?"
Write a story about children who have a magical tea party with animals.
Animals offer a great way for kids to explore their descriptive powers and imagination. These writing prompts will inspire animal lovers:
- You can suddenly understand what dogs are saying when they bark, and you start translating for them.
- You get up in the middle of the night to get some water and step on your brother's toy dinosaur. You hear a roar and lift your foot just in time to avoid being bitten.
- You're out in your backyard when you suddenly shrink down to six inches tall. A bunny hops up. It's gigantic.
- Your dog turns into a pig, and you're the only one who notices.
- Write a shape poem or concrete poem where the words are in the shape of your favorite animal.
- A kid wakes up to find a giraffe standing over his bed. What happens next?
- If you could have any pet, what would it be?
- Tell about how you and your pet met each other, but tell the story from your pet's point of view. If you don't have a pet, make one up.
- Imagine you are going on a trip. Tell someone how to take care of your pet snake while you're gone. What should they feed it? What should they watch out for?
- What kind of pet would you choose for your teacher? Why?
- Are there animals that make bad pets? Why or why not?
- You get a call from a scientist who needs your advice. She is trying to design a new animal by combining DNA from other animals, and she wants to know which animals to use.
- You wake up one day with bird wings. How is your day different?
You walk into your kitchen to see your little brother and your cat eating breakfast together at the table. Your brother acts like nothing strange is going on.
Whether kids are learning to write a persuasive essay, a speech, or any other type of opinion piece, these prompts can help them hone their skills. These are subjects 4th graders will be passionate about:
- Should there be school in the summer? Why or why not?
- Is it right that parents can get in trouble if kids don't go to school?
- What is the best bedtime for a 4th grader?
- Is sugar bad for kids? Why or why not?
- Who is the best singer on the planet right now? How come?
- Should siblings share a bedroom?
- Are there movies kids shouldn't be allowed to see until they're in middle school?
- Is homework good for learning?
- How old should kids be when they get their own phones?
- Who makes the best pizza? Why?
These prompts can help kids add emotion to their writing. This is a great way to introduce memoir and creative nonfiction. Try these inspiring ideas:
- A princess cries tears that have magical properties, but she is always happy. Write a story about how an evil villain tries to make her cry.
- When did you last laugh so hard you were gasping for breath?
- How do you know when your parents are upset?
- When was the last time you felt angry? What happened?
- Are there things in your life that are unfair?
- When was the last time you were perfectly happy?
- How do you feel on your birthday?
- What do you worry about at night?
- Write a poem about the last time you cried.
Write a story about a girl crying on the school bus. What happened?
- Write about your favorite blanket or toy from when you were little.
- If you had one wish and couldn't wish for more wishes, what would you ask for?
- Make a list of 25 things you love about your life.
- Who inspires you?
- What kind of object are you like?
- Have you ever out-smarted another person?
- How do you feel about rainy days?
- What is something that you've never done before but want to?
- What is your favorite hobby? Talk about the last time you did it.
- How are you like someone else in your family?
- How would you handle it if you saw someone being bullied?
- What was the last hard decision you had to make? Why was it difficult?
- Have you ever been homesick? What was it like?
- What would you say to your kindergarten self?
- Have you ever been talked into something? How did it work out?
- Has anything weird ever happened on a family outing or vacation?
- What has a grandparent or other older adult taught you?
- Is school different for girls and boys?
Writing descriptively is a skill kids are developing in 4th grade. They're learning how to use adjectives and other descriptive words in creative ways. These writing prompts can help spark some ideas:
- Describe a common food, such as pizza or waffles, to someone who has never heard of it before.
- Tell about the last time you hurt yourself. What happened? What did it feel like?
- Describe your mom's three best qualities.
- Tell about someone you know who is a good friend. What makes that person awesome?
- Write about your favorite holiday meal.
- Describe your state or province to someone who has never been there.
- What does your bedroom look like?
- What is your favorite season? What makes it great?
- What were you for Halloween last year? Describe your costume.
- What do you know how to cook? Detail the steps involved in making that food.