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THE MAGIC BOX – Writing Activity

purple parcel with pink ribbon

The following poem was written by Nick aged 8, based on the format used in an existing poem.

Looking at how other people write can help you work out the sort of writer you are and what works for you.



 By Nick aged 8


I will put in the box

An ocean of melted chocolate

A single pinch of every herb

A dragon’s tooth with the moonlight

glancing down on it


I will put in the box

The laugh of my family

The breath of a serpent

And the scales of a crocodile


I will put in the box

The egg of an eagle

The lick of my rabbit

And the scratch of my cat


I will put in the box

The hug of my mum

The strength of my dad

And the intelligence of my brother


My box is fashioned from

The greenest emerald

The bluest sapphire

And the palest diamond


I shall hide my box

At the bottom of a volcano

For in generations

Some lucky person to find
This piece was based on the original poem by Kit Wright called The Magic Box, first published in Cat Among the Pigeons by Penguin. Kit’s poem is also found in several anthologies and teaching texts. The Magic Poem is a great one for kids to build on and can be used for writers of all ages.




  1. If you had to go somewhere and all you could take was a magic box with the things you loved most, what would you take?
  2. Make a list of ten things and write a poem about them.
  3. Describe the ten things in an interesting way. (Remember to use all the senses; sight, sound, taste, touch and smell)
  4. Describe what the box looks like
  5. Where would you hide it?
  6. Write a poem putting together everything from the previous steps.


  1. Select the most important item from your magic box.
  2. What if it was taken from you?
  3. Why do you need this item?
  4. Who took it and why?
  5. How does the theft make you feel?
  6. How would you get the item back?
  7. What would happen if you couldn’t get it back?

Write a story with you as the main character and the theft of the item as the story problem. How will you overcome this problem?

What obstacles are in your way to stop you overcoming it?

How will you resolve your story?

To see Kit Wright’s original piece, or for more information about how to use this poem to inspire young writers in your classroom or home, here’s a great link:




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The Book Chook

Susan Stephenson is passionate about reading and writing and she blogs at www.thebookchook.com where she has lots of great resources for people who love to read and write.

We are so lucky to have her sharing her wisdom here at Writing Classes For Kids. Here are her tips and prompts to get your story off to a flying start.


by Susan Stephenson

Writers all have days when they want to write, or need to write, but just can’t get started. Here are some prompts and tips for when that happens to you.

Start with a problem. What is it? Who has it? What is your character going to do about it? What problems does the character encounter?

Try those two magic words, what and if. Ask yourself questions like:

  • what if your greatest wish came true?
  • what if you found a baby dragon or unicorn?
  • what if you were invisible?
  • what if school were banned?
  • what if you found a secret door to another world?

Does one of those questions spark an idea? Start writing!

Play a game. Get together with some friends. Write down a list of heroes, villains, settings and problems. Cut each list up to make four piles. Have each person take one from each pile and that is the outline of their story. If it doesn’t work, try again. Have fun with it!

Try Scholastic’s online Story Starter.  You spin four wheels to create your prompt. I ended up with “Describe the house of a devious dentist who tries to get into the Guinness Book of World Records.” Choose a format for your story and start typing.

If you’re stuck for ideas, often a picture can help. Look through some magazines, at art work, or online, and see if a picture might start an idea for a story. In Becoming a Story Detective  by author Sandy Fussell, she gives ideas you can use to tease out your writing once you’ve found a picture you like.

Have you tried Storybird? It’s an online place where you can make a free digital book using the wonderful illustrations provided. I love the range of pictures and often browse there, looking for story ideas.

Here’s an example of a book I made for you to check out.
At my blog, I’ve written a series of articles that give prompts for creativity. Perhaps one of those might spark a writing idea for you.

Sometimes not thinking can unblock your writing. At One Word.com, you have sixty seconds to respond to a one-word prompt above your screen. Don’t think, just write!

When I have a particular problem in a story, and need to think my way through it, I often try the Dreamlines website. Here you simply enter keywords, and then you’re presented with a sequence of dream-like images. When one of my characters was feeling lonely, I believed I wasn’t entering into her feelings enough. I typed “loneliness” into Dreamlines, and somehow that helped me find the emotions of an earlier time I’d been lonely myself, and relate better to my character.

Creating stories is huge fun, but every writer gets blocked once in a while. A complete change of pace can also work – go for a walk, hide under the dining table and listen to music, lie on the grass and watch clouds. Whatever you do, don’t give up. Take a break, but then get back to it. Writers write!

Bio: Susan Stephenson is a writer who lives about as far east as you can go on Australia without falling off. She loves reading, writing and pretending to be a chicken. Susan writes a blog about children’s literature and literacy at The Book Chook



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