I found an old picture of a wish list, written by my middle son a while back. It’s written from bottom to top, in order of importance. (He was still figuring out that top-to-bottom idea.) He was going through a time when he wished for a lot of things, so I suggested that he make a wish list. I always do that when my kids ask for stuff. When they say something like, “Mommy, can I get a set of vampire teeth?” I can say, “Great idea! Let’s add that to your list.” They may or may not actually ever get the vampire teeth, but writing it down feels like a productive step in the right direction, and when they do get to choose something to buy, they can consult the list for ideas. A great way to practice the skills of prioritizing and budgeting!
My oldest son is pretty content with his stuff, so rather than wish lists, he makes lists of upcoming sports games and stats. He’s also discovered the playlist recently and spends hours selecting and arranging his favorite songs.
My little one is constantly frustrated with the lack of “good” food in our house, and he loves to make me grocery lists so I won’t forget the cookies, candy and gum at the store. (Little does he know, he is really writing more of a wish list than a grocery list, but again, just writing it down seems to provide a good distraction. )
List making is a fabulous, real-life writing activity. Writing lists related to their interests is fun for beginning and experienced writers alike. It’s especially appealing because it’s easy and quick, and the writer can focus on ideas instead of worrying about conventions like spacing and punctuation.
I cut lined paper the long way, and keep it handy for kids to grab when they have the itch to make a list.
We also have a family list book, where we keep lists of everything from new foods we try, to vacation ideas, to examples of times when we were brave.
Want to explore lists, brainstorming and organization with your kids? I made this little packet of literacy list-making fun. The List Collection contains all sorts of resources to get kids thinking about how lists can be fun and helpful! Add the list book to your kid’s writing stash, brainstorm family lists at dinner, and turn your lists into action!