A Slinky On Stairs-Descriptive Story

This is a great lesson to spur on children’s imaginations!

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Here’s the synopsis: You (the writer) are playing with a slinky at the top of the stairs.  As soon as the slinky hits the bottom step it falls through an imaginary hole in the floor into a world of stairs and takes you with it. There are stairs, lots of stairs! It continues traveling down stairs into a 2nd and 3rd world of stairs.  Finally and magically, you and the slinky end up back home at the top of the stairs where you first started.

The students have to describe each world that the slinky passes through. 

What makes this writing prompt fun is that each world of stairs can be full of, and surrounded by, ANYTHING!

Lego people
Apple houses in a desert


And anything can be happening in the world of stairs. Students are simply encouraged to describe each world in detail.

If at all possible, before conducting this lesson, try to get a slinky for each of your writers.  It’s a simple art accent that motivates them to write and rewards them for their work! 

I bought slinkys from Dollar Tree. The Dollar Tree slinkys don’t travel well down the stairs and they do get tangled up pretty easily.  Still the kids enjoy them!  (And I’ve never had trouble getting a student to write this prompt, so it’s true that the Slinky itself, motivates them to write.)

Also, I will tell you, that if you’re up for a challenge and have a little patience….the plastic Dollar Tree slinky’s can be untangled, each and every time.  When I discovered that I could actually untangle the slinky, I was giddy!  I honestly felt like a genius….haha! 

I have no idea how to tell you how to untangle your child or student’s slinky, except to tell you that it can be done and leave you with the challenge. 

My three small children have their slinky’s. When they first got them, they played with them non-stop and at least one of them got tangled each day.  After about a week of ongoing tangling and untangling, I decided to put the slinky’s up to rest.

Here’s a picture of them now—all untangled and ready to go!

If you want to purchase a metal slinky that does travel well down the steps, I’m sure you can do so on Amazon. I would check the reviews, though, to see which ones actually work well.

Okay, now for the lesson!

To get a full understanding on how I conduct each writing lesson you may want to read the Writing Prompts Introduction post.  The lesson outlined below (and all other prompts posted) will make more sense and be easier to follow and use.  Here’s the lined paper I use for Grades K-2 and Grades 2-7 

Tell the story line:  “You are playing with a slinky on stairs.  The slinky hits the bottom of the stairs and falls through an imaginary hole into a new world of stairs.  There are stairs everywhere.  The slinky continues traveling down stairs into a 2nd and 3rd world and then finally ends up back at the top of the original stairs.  You follow the slinky the entire time.  You have to describe each of the 3 worlds.  The worlds can be full of, and surrounded by, ANYTHING.”

Brainstorm possible worlds.  A WORLD OF…Bubbles, candy, ice cream, dragons, trees, flying robots……Write the students’ ideas on the board.

Show the 5 sections:

Introduction (Time, place, playing)

Describe World 1

Describe World 2

Describe World 3

Back home (Reaction)

Now to write!

Guide the students through the following steps.  They are free to use their own words.  Remind them that ANYTHING can happen in their story as long as they follow the steps to keep their story organized.

  1. Tell about the time, place and playing with your slinky.
  2. Tell how the slinky travels down the steps and falls through the floor.
  3. Describe everything that you see in the 1st world.
  4. Tell how the slinky travels into a 2nd world.  Describe the 2nd world.
  5. Tell how the slinky travels into a 3rd world.  Describe the 3rd world.
  6. Tell how you and the slinky end up back in the original place.
  7. Finish the story with a thought, question or reaction.

Once students are finished they can write a title using markers or ABC Stickers*. They can also try to draw a slinky in their border if they want to.

Here are examples of students’ writing (Grades K-5)

Kindergartner-World of stairs, fire and water
1st Grader-Under water world, caves, zombies and lava
Page 2
4th Grader-World of slinkys, lazy river and singing

Games that we played following this writing prompt are:

Descriptive Word Pyramids using

Letter Tiles