This simple exercise can be done over and over again with a wide range of ages
Write the sentence, The man walked into his house. on a piece of paper.
Now, have the following conversation with your child about the sentence. That sentence is too vague to work well in a story because every person reading it has a different idea of the man and of the house. When we write we want the picture in our head to be communicated to the reader so that they are picturing the same thing. When I read the sentence I pictured a tired, grumpy farmer shuffling into his farmhouse after a long day in the field. What did you picture? Hmmmm… not the same thing. Well, when we write we want to choose our words carefully so that our audience can see what we see.
Help your child come up with a list of words that could be used instead of man (farmer, hippie, clown, doctor etc.) and a list of adjectives that could be used to describe the man. (scruffy, handsome, old etc.) Do the same thing for the word walked and the word house. Once you have your lists its time to play.
Now have your child come up with several clear, descriptive sentences about the man walking into his house. By playing with the lists you should be able to come up with several different options. Generally, the more ridiculous and silly the sentences are the more younger children enjoy them. That’s fine, it gets them playing with language. You can challenge Jr.and Sr High School student to recreate the sentence so that they create a mood that is creepy, sad, or joyful.
That’s it. Don’t drag out the exercise. I’ve generally found that kids aren’t ready to quit and want to ‘do another one’. It’s your choice, but stop while they are still interested. Over the next few months continue to pull out this exercise, just mix up your starting sentence.
Some other ideas to try… The dog greeted it’s master. The girl dropped her toy. The car drove by the restaurant.
The child got on the ride. The family ate dinner.