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Brainstorming Activities for Primary Pupils

The Hardest Part of Any Task is Getting Started.

We all know the feeling.

You get to school, grab a coffee and prepare for registration… but you can’t quite get your head around the thought of that first lesson of the day, despite your meticulous planning.

Once the children filter in from the playground, however – it’s game on.

You forget your reservations and are swept up into the demands of the day, powered by the hard-earned perfection of times tables, finding lost jumpers and sorting out squabbles. The task, quite simply, isn’t so hard once you’ve got the ball rolling.


It’s No Different for Your Pupils.

Being set a writing task can feel gargantuan – especially when the ‘start point’ is not defined.

If they’re not able to find their momentum, you’ll find yourself in a sea of fidgeting, raised hands and – unfortunately – very few pencils scribbling on paper.  

To get your class writing from the get-go, a good brainstorming session is just the ticket.

Whether your pupils work individually or as a group, brainstorming will help them to be proactive and think around a given topic – without needing to make early commitments. It’ll generate lots of different ideas to explore, as well as keeping those ideas focussed.

Most importantly of all, brainstorming is ‘rough’ work. There’s nothing to be judged and no criticism to be received.

Once the brainstorm is complete, the classroom will be a buzzing hive of ideas – and ready to write.

So, what are the best ways to get the class to engage?

four childrens hands up, on a white background

Pre-Writing Organisation

If you’re brainstorming a personal narrative, it’s helpful to split it into manageable chunks.

When considering a character’s perspective (or their own), brainstorm first to determine:

  • Who the story is about
  • Where the story happens
  • When the story happens
  • What can the character see?
  • What can the character hear?
  • How does the character feel?

This should help to create the framework the class needs to start story writing with confidence.


The Seven Steps

If personal narratives won’t quite cut it, you can dig into the story structure – in seven simple steps.

  1. What’s the problem?
  2. Who has the problem?
  3. Why does the problem matter?
  4. Why hasn’t the problem been solved already?
  5. What attempt has been made to solve the problem?
  6. What’s the turning point?
  7. What happens next?

By brainstorming these steps, a story will be waiting to be written in neat!


The Story Web

For an even greater pool of ideas, just try spinning one of these!

Put a story starter in the centre of a page, with a circle around it.

Then, put six or more lines on the paper, extending out from the centre circle like a spider’s web.

From these lines, the class can brainstorm ideas which support the central theme; and if they’re feeling adventurous, some more ideas that branch off from the initial six – creating a whole host of story ideas.

writing with pencil in a notebook, with pencil shavings near

With a brainstorming task to kick-start creativity, your class will be able to turn out a fantastic tale before the bell rings for breaktime.

Searching for more fun ideas to engage your class with story writing?

Look no further than Mighty Writer!

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