Guest Post: Laura Gehl

I’m super excited to be hosting Laura Gehl on her One Big Pair of Underwear blog tour. Happy reading!

Thanks so much to Colby for hosting me on this stop of my One Big Pair of Underwear blog tour!



Colby asked me to talk about writing with kids. For me, writing is fun (although it is sometimes the kind of fun that makes me want to scream, and bash my computer to bits with a sledgehammer).

Since I want kids to think of writing as fun (minus the screaming and the sledgehammer), I like to play games to jumpstart their imaginations.

Here are a few simple writing games to try with your favorite kids. These can all be done in written form or verbally, depending on the child’s age.

1) Add-on story. One person starts the story. The second person adds a sentence. Then the third. And so on. This can be done with an entire class, or as a back-and-forth game between one child and one adult.

2) Three columns. Draw three columns labeled Main Character (Who?), Setting (Where?), and Problem (What?). Have kids brainstorm ideas for all threecolumns. For the Problem column, examples might include “Missing diamond” or “Flying carpet breaks down” or “Giant tornado is coming.” Then ask kids to pick one choice from each of the three columns and use those choices to craft a story.

3) Five words. First, brainstorm a bunch of silly words, writing each on a small piece of paper and placing it into a bag. Pickle. Diaper. Kersplat. After brainstorming, you can have each child pick his or her own five words out of the bag and make up a story to connect them. Or you can pick five words yourself, and have all of the kids use those same five words to create their own totally different stories.

4) What if? Brainstorm a list of “What if” style questions. What if a princess fell into the moat? What if a pirate got attacked by ninjas? What if a bunny rabbit hosted a birthday party for a hungry wolf? After brainstorming, ask each child to pick one “What if” question to expand into a story.

5) Make your own mad-libs. First, have the child(ren) rewrite…or retell, with you writing…a simple fairy tale, like the Three Little Pigs and The Big Bad Wolf, in pencil. You can also use the computer. Then choose 10-15 words to erase or delete, including at least one word from the title. In place of each missing word, write a blank line with the part of speech. Now find an innocent victim (i.e. another adult or child who does not know which story was chosen). Ask the innocent victim to supply the nouns, verbs, and adjectives that are now missing. If your child is able to read, challenge him or her to read the story, which may now be retitled The Twelve Smelly Computers and the Big Bad Wolf, out loud…without laughing!

Whichever game you pick, have fun! If you are having fun, the kids in your life will have fun too.


On December 9, I will be talking about more ways to inspire kids to write stories at Don’t forget to check out that post for additional ideas.


Bio: Laura Gehl is the author of One Big Pair of Underwear, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld, as well as four upcoming picture books: Hare and Tortoise Race Across Israel, And Then Another Sheep Turned Up, Peep and Egg: I’m not Hatching and Peep and Egg: I’m Not Trick or Treating. Her own kids love writing stories…including, recently, The Maze of Death (K, age 10); The Gangster (N, age 8); The Presidents (S, age 6); and The Rainbow, the Butterflies, and the Giant Slice of Pizza (T, age 4). You can visit Laura online at and


One thought on “Guest Post: Laura Gehl

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s