10-Minute Writing Games to Play with Your Students
Want some quick games to share with your students during transitions or as attention-getters. Play these fun games independently or with groups! Here are a few of my favorites 10-minute writing games to play with your students. This post uses some affiliate links. Purchases from these links result in a small commission to help sustain this site.
Word Association Game
Word association games are perfect for 10-minute writing games! Start by giving students a random word and ask them to write down the first word that comes to their mind when they hear it. Then, have them pass their paper to the person next to them and repeat the process with the new word. Set a timer for 10 minutes and see how far around the circle they can go, building off of each other’s words. This game is a blast for generating vocabulary words or words to use in future writing prompts or stories.
My students beg to play writing roulette! I give each student five different colored sticky notes (or use this FREE Jamboard template).
Each sticky note has a different topic. For example, here are the literary elements I use for my students. You can change these up depending on your grade level.
- Yellow: character
- Blue: quotation
- Pink: setting
- Green: conflict
- Orange: theme
Have your students each generate one of the literary elements on each colored sticky note. Make sure they write only one idea per note. Mix up the sticky notes, then give the students five sticky notes (one on each topic) to generate their own story. We LOVE sharing these with the class. As a bonus, expand on the quick stories and create a published, polished piece.
Literally playing a game when writing is so much fun! Write creative writing prompts on the sides of Jenga blocks (such as “Write a story in which the main character is an animal” or “Describe a place you’ve never been”) and stack them up. Students take turns pulling a block and then writing for 2-3 minutes based on the prompt they see. The game continues until the tower falls, and then students can read aloud what they’ve written.
Finish the Story Writing Game
This game is also called story or paper pass. I remember playing this writing game in school. I loved it then as much as I love it as a teacher! First, give students the first line of a story and have them write for 2-3 minutes. Then, have them pass their paper to the person next to them and that person continues the story for 2-3 minutes. Continue this process until everyone has contributed, and see how the story turned out in the end.
Random Word Stories
Use this random word generator to pick a fun, unique word. Have your students write a story using that word as a focus. You can have each student select their own word or use a class word.
Descriptive Writing Game
Many ELA curriculums have descriptive writing as an assessment. Why not teach descriptive writing skills with a 10-minute writing game! First, ask students to close their eyes and imagine a scene you describe to them, such as a beach or a forest. Give them 10 minutes to write a detailed description of what they see in their mind’s eye. Encourage them to use sensory language and descriptive adjectives to really paint a picture with their words. Share the stories, and as a bonus, have students illustrate their writing. You can also adapt this and share a picture as a writing prompt starter. Show students a picture or image and give them 10 minutes to write a story or poem based on what they see. Encourage them to be creative and use their imagination to build a story around the picture.
Character Creation Game
Students love creating their own characters! Have students brainstorm a character by answering questions about them, such as their name, age, occupation, likes and dislikes, fears, etc. Then, set a timer for 10 minutes and have them write a short story or scene featuring that character. You can add to the fun by having two characters team up together to create a new story or have a conversation with one another based on their characters’ backgrounds.
Challenge students to write a complete story in just six words, such as “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Set a timer for 10 minutes and see how many six-word stories they can create.
Mad Libs Game
The old Mad Libs games are so much fun! I remember having paper Mad Libs books that my siblings and I giggled over with delight. Online Mad Libs games let students work independently to create funny stories. I love using Mad Libs online!
My students absolutely love writing fan fiction. This gives them a chance to explore stories on a deeper level, and change the outcomes to what they really wanted to happen in the book! Have students choose a favorite book or movie character and write a short story featuring that character in a new adventure or scenario. Set a timer for 10 minutes and see how well they can capture the voice and personality of the character in their writing.
Use storytelling dice or story cubes with pictures on each side, and have students roll the dice to create a story. Set a timer for 10 minutes and challenge students to create a story that includes all of the pictures they rolled. Share the stories in small groups or with the full class.
Using writing prompts in the classroom is an effective way to encourage a love for writing in students. Here are five ways to inspire and engage middle school students:
Daily writing prompts
Start the day with a short 10-minute writing exercise that covers various genres and themes. Use this list of 25 daily prompts to get started.
Structured writing prompts
Use prompts as a starting point for more structured writing assignments such as essays or research papers. This encourages students to think critically and provides specific guidelines for the writing task. Use this list of 10 structured prompts to get started.
Encourage students to work together in small groups to generate their own writing prompts. This fosters collaboration and creativity.
Writing prompt dares
Students can create their own writing prompt dares or use these 15 writing prompt dare examples to get started. These are great for group brainstorming prompts.
Try out this 52 writing prompt workbook. You even get an editable Canva link to add your own unique prompts!
Get ready for 10-minute writing games to use in your classroom! These games can be scaffolded and differentiated for all grade levels. What writing games do you use in your classroom!