Writerly Play

Bring Active Learning into Your Writing Classroom

Writerly Play offers an untraditional doorway into the writing process. Through a variety of games and activities, your writers will take action and tackle various genres of writing. Writerly Play utilizes games to facilitate creative and critical thinking at every stage of the process, from idea generation to idea development, to drafting and revision, and even through the sharing of work.

Why Writerly Play?

Your writers range from highly motivated to those who struggle over every word. You’d love for every writing lesson to meet with enthusiasm, but the truth is, teaching writing can feel like a chore. It takes an enormous amount of energy to cajole, inspire, support, encourage and stretch an entire classroom of writers.

But … what if your writing lessons were met with cheers? What if you had a toolkit of practical strategies that allowed you to use games to tap into and develop your students’ natural gifts of communication? What if those same games and strategies provided simple ways to differentiate your instruction?

It sounds too good to be true, we know. But in hundreds of classrooms and with thousands of students, we’ve seen Writerly Play win over even the most reluctant of writers.

Does Writerly Play replace my current curriculum?

Nope! Think of Writerly Play as a boost of creative momentum to add to your Writers’ Workshop or other curriculum. Quick games and visualization activities will add variety and energy to your mini-lessons. Some educators use our online courses as plug-and-play learning experiences to differentiate instruction for writers who need an extra challenge. Others pick and choose videos to use as full-class activities. And in many cases, after experiencing the games, educators find themselves experimenting with Writerly Play and personalizing the tools to facilitate in their own way. We’re delighted by all we’ve learned from these innovators, and look forward to learning from your exploration, too!

How does Writerly Play work?

Writerly Play is a framework to help you and your writers navigate the creative process. Each new writing project becomes a learning quest that can be tracked and problem solved in a can-do, imaginative way.

First, Writerly Play invites writers to identify their personal creative style, the WHO.

The WHAT has two parts.

  • the external goal: the specific unit of study and desired end product
  • the internal goal: the writer’s personal learning objective (stamina, flexibility of thinking, etc.)

Next, teachers and writers create a mental model to make thinking more visible. In essence, we create the WHERE, the landscape of the thought process, carving out separate space and tools for various types of thinking.

The HOW is our favorite part—easily adaptable improv games, questions, and activities—practical and playful thinking tools to make the creative process concrete.

See Writerly Play in Action

Personal Narrative

In this visualization game, writers will explore options and choose a stand-out moment for their narrative.


In this quick-thinking activity, writers will practice choosing three ideas to support their main topic.

Short Story

In this mapping exercise, writers will explore the specific details of their fictional worlds.

Resources for Educators

Gifted Students

Our online courses are delivered directly to students, which makes them the perfect tool for strong writers who need an additional challenge, such as Designing a Novel, in your classroom.

Set them up with headphones and a work space, and we’ll guide them through the writing process step-by-step.

Publishing Opportunities

Our monthly Ink Splat offers a writing challenge and opportunity for publication on our site.

Annually, our Inklings Book Contest provides opportunities to publish short stories or poems.

We also offer a long-term editorial mentorship program, for writers ready to revise and publish a novel.

Professional Development

Subscribe to the Writerly Play Kit, and you’ll be also be first to know about educator masterclass webcasts about using Writerly Play in the Classroom. 


Join us for Summer Camp!

We’re inviting passionate young writers to join us on Zoom for writerly summer camp experiences. Each camp will include skill-building activities, time for drafting, and collaboration with peers.

Want more games and resources like these?

Subscribe to the monthly Writerly Play Kit, and you’ll receive FREE monthly goodies designed just for you and your young writers. To start, we’d love to send our educator starter kit, which includes Quick Start Guide to Writerly Play, filled with simple tools and strategies you can start using right away!