Want to Spark Your Child’s Creativity? Try a Chain Story

chain story

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is: “How did you get your kids to love writing?”

Yes, I’m the mom who allowed my children to write stories and draw pictures on the kitchen wall with permanent markers. Before you let that sully your opinion of me, let me explain.

At some point early on in my parenting journey, I let go of rigidity and gave my kids the freedom to write what they pleased, even if it meant marking up my kitchen walls. When I created authentic writing experiences in my home, my kids blossomed into young authors and learned to love creative writing.

chain story

I’m not telling you that you should let your kids run wild with permanent markers. I’m saying you are capable of generating enthusiasm for writing in your own home.

One way I make writing time more meaningful for my children and get their creative juices flowing is through collaborative chain stories.

What is a Chain Story?

A chain story is a narrative, each section of which is written by a different author picking up where the previous one left off.

Other names for chain story include circle story, cyclical story, circular story, and cumulative tale.

By nature, a chain story is collaborative since it passes from author to author. Because two or more writers share the project, it leads to unexpected directions. The unpredictability of chain stories makes them random and oftentimes hilarious.

The Floating Admiral is the most famous chain storytelling example. Fourteen different authors collaborated on this detective novel in 1931. Each author wrote a separate chapter. The contributors provided their own unique solutions to the mystery in sealed envelopes, which appeared at the end of the book.

How to Write a Chain Story

You don’t need any fancy or extravagant tools or books to collaborate on a chain story with your child!

You’ll need:

  • A journal or lined paper
  • Pens or pencils
  • A designated common space to keep your story
how to write a chain story

The point of this activity is to write with your child. Kids reflect on the writing process through collaboration and discussion.

So what are the benefits of participating in this activity?

The Benefits of Collaborative Writing

Whether you build your own lesson plans at home or seek to strengthen your child’s vocabulary, language, and writing skills for public school, the benefits of chain stories are many.

When you and your child work together, you become involved in the writing process, promote cooperation, and build community. This partnership creates a writing culture that values your child’s strengths and an environment that believes we can learn from one another.

Several benefits of collaborative writing:

  • Generates enthusiasm for creative writing
  • Sparks creativity and imagination
  • Encourages “outside the box” thinking
  • Develops reading, writing, and language skills
  • Develops self-confidence
  • Inspires kids to engage in writing activities and share their ideas with others

You can ask your tweens and teens to participate as well! Chain stories are for people of all ages!

Example of a Chain Story

Here is an example of a chain story my son and I wrote this week:

example of chain story
example of chain story
example of chain story


Writing is one of those subjects that isn’t always a favorite for kids. You can make writing more purposeful and fun for your child by participating in the process. Encourage your children to write more at home. A fun way to get involved is to start a chain story! They don’t have to be overly long or complicated. You can tailor your story prompt to any age group.

chain story

The most challenging part of writing is getting started! Jump that hurdle with this kid-friendly activity!

You can find a YouTube lesson plan on chain stories by Sweed English Fluency Academy here if you’re a homeschool parent or teacher.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Rupali Paul

    Hey That is great. I loved the idea. I will try it out with my son who is going to start his teens & will later try out with my toddler, when she starts writing 😉
    Thanks for sharing

  2. Brittany

    Chain stories are such a great way to encourage creativity in writing! And I seriously love that you let your kids write on the wall.

  3. Smelly Socks and Garden Peas

    My older son used to write loads of little bits and bobs but it’s sort of stopped over the last year. Maybe I should get him to give this a go to get him back into it. He writes beautiful short pieces for school but not for pleasure anymore.

  4. Niraj

    Both my kids loved writing stories and poems (at one point). I gifted both of them a special notebook each to write their stories down. I have played complete the chain story too with them. They loved it.