Descriptive Writing Activities for Elementary Students

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Practicing descriptive writing now will build skills for future writing

Descriptive writing is the practice of describing people, places, objects or events in details that are specific, creative and appropriate. In descriptive writing, details often elaborate and evoke one or more of the five senses--sight, sound, smell, feel or taste. Teaching students descriptive writing during Elementary school will make it easier for them to write detailed and evocative pieces of prose throughout their education.

  1. Time of Day

    • Have students describe their favorite time of day. Students should write about why it is their favorite. Have students describe the sights at that time of day, the sounds, the smells, and how it makes them feel. Instruct them to describe a special memory that they may have that took place during that time of day, and to describe the memory.

    What a Character

    • Elementary students can create a character description of themselves. Have students list their physical descriptions such as hair color, eye color and the type of clothes they like to wear. Then instruct students to describe their characteristics and all the special things that make each one of them individuals. Students can use this descriptive activity later to write a short story starring themselves.

    Describe a Picture

    • Have students look at a complex picture such as something out of an "I-SPY" or "Where's Waldo?" book and then have them describe in a thousand words as many nouns, verbs, and adjectives that they see. Direct students to write a descriptive story using all of these words.


    • Elementary students can write about their ideal, perfect world. They can describe what it would look like, the types of animals and people that would live there and what everyone would do everyday. Students should make this world uniquely theirs. For example, the sky can be purple, and cats and dogs can work together as if they were best friends.

    Looking for a Home

    • Students may write a descriptive story imagining themselves as homeless animals looking for the perfect home. Students must describe what type of animal they are--cat, dog, rabbit or whatever they choose. Students describe what the perfect home looks like, who the perfect owners are, and the kind of care they would need.

    Take a Journey

    • In this activity, students imagine that they are walking through the yard behind their homes when they discover a mysterious space ship. They move in closer to investigate the ship when it turns on, lights begin to blink and the motor whirs. Students imagine that in front of them on the side of the ship is a big red button that reads, "Do Not Touch." Naturally, they push it. The student is suddenly transported to a planet she has never heard of. Have students describe the plants, animals and people that live on the planet in detail.

    Your Future Self

    • Students imagine that they are fifteen years older than they are now. They describe in detail what they are doing with their lives, where they are living and the kind of people they have become. Students write about hobbies and passions. Instruct students to go beyond just describing what they want to be when they grow up, but describe who they want to be.

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