Heart Mapping Gives Kids Writing Ideas

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In her book Awakening the Heart, Georgia Heard shares heart mapping as a technique for children to generate ideas for writing.  It’s even fun to do as a family, too.

I LOVE heart mapping for the beginning of the school year and for pushing through a writing block.

Figuring out what to write can be a challenge for young writers (and us old writers, too.)

Make a Heart Map

A heart is both the physical literal beating heart AND the emotional center of love, pain and other feelings.  In this activity, you’ll focus on the second kind, the heart you can’t see or touch. The heart that feels.

First model how to make this. (Like you do for almost anything! Modeling is very important — but make sure your kids know that you’re not suggesting exactly how they do their maps, only showing an example of your process and thinking. You want them to be authentic to their imaginations, not copy you.)

Here’s what JJ came up with for her own map.

Heart Mapping Gives Kids Writing Ideas

Heart Mapping Printable Directions

writing and drawing tools

Draw a large heart on your paper.

Within the heart, you can create spaces for things that are important to you – people, places, activities, and memories.

Heart mapping design is entirely up to your imagination.  After all, it is your heart.

Questions to get started:

1.  What makes you happy?

2.  What do you love?

3.  What is the most fun you have ever had?

4.  What memory is your favorite?

5.  What things or objects are important to you?

6. What things in your heart are sad?  Make you cry?

7. What secrets are in your heart?

8. What are your favorite things, toys?

9. What activities do you love?

Draw, design, and write.

Once you have your heart map, keep it safe, and use it when you’re stuck for writing ideas.

Or you can frame it as a yearly memory of your life and what was in your heart at that time. Don’t forget to write the date on it!

Links to Heart Maps

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  1. Melissa, how did I not find this earlier? It took a year for me to come across it…on Pinterest, no doubt! I have loved doing this in therapy for years with kids! I was drawn to it immediately when I saw it, partcularly since it is a child’s work! Thanks for sharing! I’m repinning now! Wendy =)

  2. Following the links was a fun reminder that this activity is ageless. I’m going to revisit my Georgia Heard gook she is a great resource. Heart mapping is also an activity that lends itself so well to colors and images when the heart is so full and words are still locked inside all those emotions.

  3. This is great! It’s funny, just this past weekend I was pinning some posts about heart maps. I had never heard of them before, but I came across the idea very recently. I really like this as an idea for writing inspiration 🙂

    1. oooh, have fun! The book from which I got the idea is probably 15 years old so that may be why you haven’t heard of it. Knowing your style — this will be right up your alley!