The Guest Room

A Hong Kong blog that does a lot more than blog

EDUcullen: Use Magnetic Words to Get Your Child to Write at Home

magnet words

Parents often ask teachers, “How do I get my son/daughter to write at home?” One idea: Interest your child by using words that are personally relevant to them.

You can make magnetic words with your children so they can dip into a parts-of-speech pool to form sentences (usually pretty amusing ones)

Later, they can print or type them to show you and others their ideas. It’s fun writing!

I’m attaching my MS Word template so you can do this at home with your children. You can swap out my daughter’s words for your own. (Follow the link at the end for the template.)


  1. open the template (Microsoft Word)
  2. ask your child for personally relevant words to add (type over mine or continue adding)
  3. print on magnetic sheets (available at bargain and stationery shops)
  4. cut & use

Choose the paper that’s right for your printer. All brands I’ve tried are fine.

What are personally relevant words? These are anything your child knows and likes.

  • people/job titles: teacher, firefighter, Dad, Peter
  • places: bedroom, playground, hospital, Toys R Us
  • things: eggs, hummus, necklace, iPad
  • actions: play, skate, drink, body slam

I find these magnet words are especially good for when a child can’t come up with an idea for writing. Mixing words around helps generate a one-sentence story.

This can be to an art connection for you, too: Give your children paper to illustrate their sentence. (Grandparents want to see that “The T-rex wears a tutu.”)

Keep these custom words on your fridge for your kid. If an activity is always in sight, I find it gets used more often.

Download the template here:

 Follow Peter on Twitter. You can reach him by email, too.

2 comments on “EDUcullen: Use Magnetic Words to Get Your Child to Write at Home

  1. Fran
    December 8, 2013

    This reminds me of my childhood days, many years before the computer age, as I will be turning 50 this month. My mother was an elementary school teacher as was my grandmother. My mother would print the names of common objects around the house on index cards and attach them with tape. My friends found it funny to open the refrig and find the milk, butter, eggs etc all labeled. She would label the couch, table, door, mirror etc. Then after a few days she would remove them and it was my turn to try to relabel everything by sounding out the words. Great fun!!

  2. MrPeterCullen
    December 8, 2013

    Different strategy with same goal, Fran: promoting literacy to one’s kids. I love how your mom made that effort (which clearly paid off for you in your writing)!

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