New Story Starters for Homework

Welcome to our new story starters.

In the video above is a little bit of why and how we are launching the story starters. The idea is that as teachers you can set a story starter for homework each week, to encourage children to write creatively and for pleasure. Homework often becomes a chore for both the child and the teacher and there is often little time in the school day to let children fully exploring their creative writing.

Obviously it is up to you how you use the story starters but here are a few ideas:

  1. Just ask them to write a story. Fantastic! Children have fantastic imaginations and love stories as we found with our recent writing competition.
  2. Ask them to write the story using some of the interesting vocabulary, but please be careful with this as we don’t want to stifle their creativity. The interesting vocabulary is not designed to be a spelling list as the story starters cover all ages and abilities.
  3. Ask them to write a story one week and then edit it the next adding in certain vocabulary and grammar. Kids are always amazed when we go into school as authors and say it takes us a few days to write a story and weeks and weeks to edit it.
  4. Use the story starters for a game of storytelling roulette. This is great for developing speaking skills. Each person in a circle tells part of the story. You point to the next person to continue the story. If someone can’t think of anything or are reluctant to speak just get them to say a word of two even if it’s ‘and then …’. There are more ideas on how to use storytelling roulette in the video.

For more writing tips please go to our Facebook page and in the photos you will see all the writing tips we released for our writing competition.

Story Starter 23 – A story of a lost hat

This week’s story starter is to write a story about a lost hat. Just after we recorded the video I(Natasha) had my own lost hat adventure. I was visiting Bruges in Belgium and it was very hot and sunny day and I hadn’t take a sun hat with me because I’ve struggled to find one that I liked and that was also easy to pack. Anyway we went to walk past a really interesting hat shop and went in to see if I could find anything suitable. I tried a few on and found one that I liked. I was really pleased to find one and wore it straight away feeling quite proud. We then walked to a beautiful park by the river and had a drink at a little bar. When we decided it was time for lunch we thought we would walk over a bridge and back into town. Just as we got to the middle of the bridge a gust of wind took my hat and dropped it into the river below! Oh no! It had taken me years to find the right hat and I had lost it in less than an hour and it had cost me 30 euros. It seemed hopeless. To begin with it didn’t seem to move as the water flowed through two arches the hat hat was caught between the flows. It was too far down to reach. Eventually it started to move and then it started to drift towards the edge. So we followed it, it was getting close to the side now but there were fallen branches in the water between me and the hat. It started drifting towards the branches surely it was going to get on a branch, so near but yet so far. But wait! It’s gone round the first branch and is still coming towards me. My husband quickly breaks a branch from a nearby bush. It’s gone over the second branch! My husband quickly leans over the wall with me holding his feet and retrieves the hat with the branch he broke off.

But surely the hat is runined?

No in fact it’s dry! The hat is waterproof! It looks as good as new I can’t quite believe it. I run it under a nearby tap, give it a shake and wear it for the rest of the day.

So now to your story.

Tonya and Natasha give you some ideas for the story.

Who does the hat belong to?

How does it get lost?

Or do you find a lost hat, maybe it’s a magic hat. What could it do?

There is a saying ‘keep it under your hat’ which means to keep something a secret. What secrets could the hat be hiding? After all a hat sees everything when it’s on someones head.

Print this image and stick it at the top of your story

Here is some interesting vocabulary you could use:

Year 1

  1. hunt
  2. hunted
  3. fall
  4. jump
  5. jumped
  6. hope
  7. home
  8. blew
  9. flew
  10. threw

Year 2

  1. fast
  2. past
  3. there
  4. their
  5. they’re
  6. flies
  7. bridge
  8. edge
  9. dodge
  10. towards

Year 3 & 4

  1. disappointed
  2. impossible
  3. dangerous
  4. famous
  5. accidentally
  6. disappear
  7. strange
  8. peculiar
  9. thought
  10. through

Year 5 & 6

  1. incredible
  2. incredibly
  3. suspicious
  4. mischievous
  5. mischief
  6. exaggerate
  7. confidential
  8. confident
  9. identity
  10. shoulder

Story Starter 22 – Rewrite your favourite story

This week we want you to rewrite your favourite story with you in it. Judith Kerr the author of The Tiger Who Came To Tea which is a favourite of a lot of people recently died and lots of people have been asking what is your favourite story? So may be it is the Tiger Who Came To Tea or another story but we want you to put your self in the story.

Tonya and Natasha give you some ideas for the story.

Think about how your audience will know that it is you in the story?

What character are you going to be or are you going to be a new character in the story.

This is a great exercise if you are writing and you get stuck or you can’t think of a story to write. The best thing for writers block is just to carry on writing and this is something you can write about.

Print this out and stick it at the top of your story.

Here is some vocabulary you could use:

  1. day
  2. play
  3. toy
  4. the
  5. said
  6. was
  7. were
  8. are
  9. they
  10. afraid
  1. because
  2. child
  3. children
  4. told
  5. who
  6. would
  7. kind
  8. find
  9. every
  10. behind
  1. scene
  2. seen
  3. here
  4. hear
  5. he’ll heel
  6. heal
  7. enough
  8. ordinary
  9. peculiar
  1. marvellous
  2. curiosity
  3. immediately
  4. who’s
  5. whose
  6. guessed
  7. guest
  8. heard
  9. herd
  10. mischievous

Story Starter 21 – Write about a racing car

Watching the formula 1 grand prix recently gave us an idea for a story starter.

Tonya and Natasha give you some ideas for the story.

What is special about the racing car? Does it talk like Lightning McQueen in the Cars movie.

Who is your rival?

Describe the race, maybe you could draw a racetrack to describe the action put post it notes with what happens at different points around the track. Then use the notes to write up the story, the notes are a good way for keeping you on track 🤣and so you don’t forget any of your amazing ideas.

Write a story about a racing car
Right click and print this image out and stick it at the top of your story so it reminds you about what the story is about.

Here is some vocabulary you could use:

  1. track
  2. back
  3. front
  4. grid
  5. quickly
  6. quickest
  7. quicker
  8. fast
  9. faster
  10. fastest
  1. race
  2. racing
  3. raced
  4. bend
  5. tyre
  6. skid
  7. one
  8. won
  9. past
  10. pits
  1. impatient
  2. autograph
  3. collide
  4. collision
  5. dangerous
  6. courageous
  7. brakes
  8. braked
  9. finally
  10. easily
  1. traffic
  2. swerve
  3. overtake
  4. mechanic
  5. squeal
  6. chequered
  7. podium
  8. competition
  9. amateur
  10. professional

Story Starter 20 – Inside the Pyramid

We noticed a lot of schools are doing Ancient Egypt as a topic this term so we thought we would set a story starter where the children could use some of their new knowledge. See Natasha and Tonya give you some ideas for the story.

Ancient Egypt writing prompt

Pyramids were full of traps and dead ends, which is great in stories as it provides lots of problems to solve. What is it you are trying to find?

Pyramids were filled with lots of things for the afterlife of the people of died. Research what would have been in the tomb, what are canopic jars?

Is there a mummy in there, does it come to life like the one in our Pojo and King Tut Tut’s Lost Treasure story.

Here is some vocabulary you could use:

  1. cat
  2. dogs
  3. fall
  4. pull
  5. push
  6. safe
  7. trap
  8. hunter
  9. hunting
  10. snake
  11. rescue
  12. light
  13. scared
  14. sun
  15. son
  16. floor
  17. dodge
  18. gem
  19. jewel
  20. written
  21. carved
  22. tunnel
  23. pyramid
  24. tomb
  25. Egypt
  26. mystery
  27. mummy
  28. Mummy
  29. sphinx
  30. treasure
  31. furniture
  32. picture
  33. nature
  34. disappear
  35. reappear
  36. precious
  37. cautiously
  38. ancient
  39. symbol
  40. hesitate
  41. mourning
  42. stomach
  43. curiosity
  44. curious

Story Starter 19 – What’s inside a ping pong ball

After playing a lot of table tennis recently Natasha was inspired to come up with this story starter. See Natasha and Tonya give you some ideas for the story.

What's inside a ping pong ball

Think about what could be in there, does it make it float or bounce or even explode. Is it something tiny or something vast like a galaxy.

Here is some vocabulary you could use:

  1. catch
  2. fetch
  3. play
  4. fly
  5. flying
  6. flew
  7. flies
  8. ball
  9. whizz
  10. bounce
  11. mystery
  12. disappear
  13. reappear
  14. weigh
  15. peculiar
  16. ordinary
  17. surprise
  18. suspicious
  19. observe
  20. threw
  21. through
  22. lightning
  23. marvellous

Story Starter 18 – The Gigantic Golden Egg

On a walk recently Tonya found a gigantic golden egg – yes really! Here is the picture to prove it. We thought it was a great idea for a story. See the video below for some ideas for the story. This would make a great homework activity for the Easter holidays.

Here are Tonya and Natasha discussing ideas for the story.

Why not use the image above at the top of the page for the story.

Think about who or what laid an egg like that. What happens when it hatches, how do you feel when it begins to crack. Also how did you find it?

Here is some vocabulary you could use:

  1. egg
  2. bird
  3. grew
  4. flew
  5. huge
  6. giant
  7. crack
  8. cracking
  9. gold
  10. grass
  11. path
  12. measure
  13. treasure
  14. nature
  15. enormous
  16. curious
  17. groan
  18. grown
  19. observe
  20. observation
  21. exaggerate
  22. existence
  23. evolve
  24. mysterious
  25. chocolate

Story Starter 17 – Meeting An Explorer

We know a lot of children learn about explorers so we thought this story starter would help put their knowledge into a story.

Here is a graphic to print out and stick in a book to start writing the story.

Here are Natasha and Tonya with a few ideas for your story.

Think about who you would meet, maybe an archaeologist, polar explorer, an astronaut or another famous explorer.

How did you meet them?

Where did you go?

What problems did the explorer have and how could the main character in your story help.

Here some interesting vocabulary you may want to include:

  1. wild
  2. snow
  3. quick, quicker, quickest
  4. climb
  5. hike, hiked
  6. rescue
  7. adventure
  8. poisonous
  9. dangerous
  10. courageous
  11. weather /whether
  12. assistance / assistant
  13. co-ordinate
  14. environment
  15. extreme

St Patrick’s Day Leprechaun Story and Craft

Happy St Patrick’s Day, this week with my year one group we the story of the Pot of Gold and made these fab leprechauns.

To make the leprechaun:

  1. Take a cardboard tube
  2. Place a strip of felt around the bottom 7 cm wide and long enough to go right round the tube.
  3. Next place a strip of green paper around the top of the tube again approx 7 cm wide and long enough to go round the rube.
  4. Next we place a halo of green paper down the tube to make the brim of the hat, the outer diameter of the halo was 10cm and the inner circle 5.5cm.
  5. We then put a small black strip of paper around the band of the hat.
  6. We then cut some brown fur fabric to make a beard and drew on the face.

We also made a puppet of a man Dan Kelly for the story.

To download the template of the man click here.

For the story I told the story of The Pot of Gold

Long, long ago in Ireland there lived a man called Dan Kelly he was the laziest man in all of Ireland. He lived all by himself on a farm, he would never do any work, so his house and fields were very poor, everything was overgrown and covered in ragwort. All his neighbour’s fields we full of crops all in neat rows. But Dan Kelly didn’t mind because he believed he didn’t have to do anything because one day he was going to be rich.

One day Dan Kelly decided he was going to go the fair in the local town. Whilst all his neighbours were working hard he was going to have some fun. So Dan Kelly put on his best suit and his favourite red tie. On his way to the fair he walked along one of his fields and he noticed the lace on his shoe was untied so he bent down to do it up. And that was when he heard it! Tic, tac, tic, tickety, tic, tac. What was that?? He peered closer to where the noise was coming from and there was a little tiny man all dressed in green hammering nails into a teeny tiny shoe. It was a leprechaun!

Now leprechauns are famous in Ireland, as it is said that where ever a leprechaun is they will have hidden their pot of gold. But they are tricky creatures and if you look away they will disappear.

“Whoa,” cried Dan Kelly. Now my luck has changed he thought, a leprechaun. With that the leprechaun looks up.

“Oh hello Dan Kelly. There’s a rock behind you. Why don’t you sit down?” the leprechaun said/

But Dan Kelly wasn’t going to be tricked by a leprechaun he knew if he turned around to sit on the rock the leprechaun would be gone so he stayed standing up.

“What are you making?” asked Dan Kelly.

“A pair of shoes for the queen of the fairies,” answered the leprechaun returning to his work.

“Well it’s not shoes I want.” said Dan Kelly as he rubbed his hands. He was thinking, ‘I’m going to be rich, I’m going to be rich, this is it.’

The leprechaun sighed, “I thought not”

“I want your pot of fold,” cried Dan Kelly.

The leprechaun put down his tools and asked sarcastically, “And what makes you think I have a pot of gold? I’m just a poor working man. If I had a pot of gold would I be working this hard?”

“All leprechauns have pots of gold, now tell me where is is.” Dan Kelly said as he grabbed the leprechaun in his fist. As he did his trousers split right down his bottom. But Dan Kelly was not going to take his eyes of the leprechaun and anyway he would buy a new suit when he had the gold.

The leprechaun squirmed but Dan Kelly just held him tighter. “Let me go” demanded the leprechaun.

“I’ll let you go when you show me exactly where the gold is.” said Dan Kelly.

“Ok, ok, I’ll show you,” the leprechaun replied.

Dan Kelly put the leprechaun down and followed him to a spot in the middle of the field that was covered in yellow ragwort, the leprechaun point, “That’s the spot, the gold is buried under there.”

Dan Kelly groaned he was tired from walking and following the leprechaun as he was very unfit, he didn’t have anything to dig the gold up with. But Dan Kelly had an idea, he took off his tie and bent down and tied it to a piece of ragwort where the gold was buried. He looked at the leprechaun and said, “Promise on your honour that you will not touch that tie.”

The leprechaun smiled and looked Dan Kelly in the eye and said, “Oh I promise.”

So Dan Kelly went back to his house rather quickly for such an unfit man and grabbed a spade and went back to the field. When he got to the field, he gasped and dropped the shovel in surprise.

There was red ties tied around every single clump of ragwort in the fields there was thousands of them. The cheeky leprechaun was of course gone.

Dan Kelly stomped back home, he didn’t go the fair, he spent the afternoon sewing up his trousers. A few times he thought he heard someone laughing but it was only the wind or was it? Dan Kelly never could afford to buy another suit but he never ran out of ties to wear.

I hope you like the story, we retold the story with the puppets, which the kids loved.

Story Starter 16 – The Exploding Lunch Box

This week is British Science Week so we thought we would bring you a story starter inspired by it.

Here is a graphic to print out and stick in a book to start writing the story.

The exploding lunchbox

Here are Natasha and Tonya with a few ideas for your story.

Think about where it happened, the noises the lunch box made, did the contents go over anyone?

Did you make it happen or was it an experiment or a joke?

Here some interesting vocabulary you may want to include:

  1. burst
  2. turn
  3. blow
  4. threw
  5. fly
  6. flew
  7. huge
  8. react
  9. reactive
  10. dangerous
  11. enormous
  12. tremendous
  13. spontaneous
  14. gigantic
  15. substance
  16. marvellous
  17. disastrous
  18. lightning
  19. force
  20. forecably

Story Starter 15 – The Day I Met Peter Pan

Hopefully this week’s story starter will make your stories fly.

The Day I Met Peter Pan









Here is a graphic to print out and stick in a book to start writing the story.

Here are Natasha and Tonya with a few ideas for your story.

Here some interesting vocabulary you may want to include:

  1. Fly
  2. try
  3. sunset
  4. jumped
  5. green
  6. dream
  7. rescue
  8. night
  9. light
  10. fairy
  11. magic
  12. forgotten
  13. impossible
  14. possible
  15. dangerous
  16. boys’
  17. island
  18. fictious
  19. hesitant
  20. hesitancy
  21. conscience
  22. conscious
  23. curiosity
  24. Tinkerbell
  25. Captain