Kids Love Writing Instructions for this Ring-Toss!

Kids love this writing lesson because the easy art accent entails making their own ring toss and playing it later!

Pilgrim and Native American Children Games

The idea stemmed from a Thanksgiving one year when I was teaching Kindergarten.  The kindergartners and I were discussing what life was like for the pilgrims and Native Americans.  We were imagining materials that would have been available to the children back then (rocks, shells, feathers, reeds of grass, sticks etc.) and games that they could have played.

The Ring Toss!

I came up with the ring toss craft and ended up making it with the kindergartners several years in a row.  The ring toss was a big hit each time!   Then, I decided to use it in a writing workshop where my students had to make their own ring toss and then write the instructions on how they did it.

A student shows her completed ring toss.

Here’s that writing lesson!

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Common Core State Standards

NOTE:  This lesson can address the following Common Core State Standards:  CCSS.ELA.LITERACY.W.K.2, W.1.2, W.2.2, W.3.2, W.3.2.A, W.3.2.C, W.3.2.D, W.4.2, W.4.2.D, W.4.2.E, W.5.2, W.5.2.D and W.5.2.E.



To make the ring toss, you simply need a stick, pipe cleaner* and 24” piece of yarn*.  A popsicle stick* can work just as well as an outdoor stick.

Find a Good Stick

But, I will say that finding a good stick is half the fun for kids.  If you’re a homeschooling parent, try your best to take or make the time to go on a stick hunt.  A stick about a foot long seems to work best.  It should be a stick that skinny enough to catch the ring, but not so thin that it snaps easily.

stick, pipe cleaner, yarn to make the ring toss

  1. First, cut the pipe cleaner in half.

a pipe cleaner cut in half

2.  Form one of the halves into a circle and twist the ends tightly around the circle so they’re not poking out.

the pipe cleaner made into a circle

3. Tie one end of the yarn to the circle.  I found that K-1 Grade students typically need help with the tying.  Older kids can usually do it by themselves.

the yarn tied to the circle

4. Tie the other end of the yarn to the stick.  Done!

the yarn tied to the stick the completed ring toss


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

  1.  Tell the story line:  You just finished making your own ring toss.  Now, you’re going to write out the instructions so someone else can make it.


2.  Give the students time to recall the materials they used and the steps they took.  Have them speak these items out loud.  Write them on the board.

Show the 5 Sections

Introduction (Engage the reader.)


Steps 1 and 2

Steps 3 and 4

Conclusion (Encourage the reader.)

As mentioned in my writing prompts introduction:  K-1st Graders are encouraged to write 1 sentence for each section, 2nd Graders 2 sentences, 3rd Graders 3 sentences and so on.


Guide the students through the following steps.

  1. Write the title on the first line in the center.
  2. Engage the reader by asking questions about Thanksgiving fun or Pilgrim/Native American childhood activities.
  3. Write the word MATERIALS on the next line, left side and list them.
  4. Skip a line.
  5. On the next line, left side, write INSTRUCTIONS or STEPS
Younger or Struggling Writers

Encourage young writers to write a sentence for each material listed. Have them use the words, First, Next, Then, Last.

For example:

First, get a stick.

Next, make a circle.

Then, tie the yarn.

Last, play!

Older or Advanced Writers

Encourage older writers to elaborate their instructions for each material. They can also use the words, First, Next, Then, Last.

For example:

First, go outside and find a small, sturdy stick.

Next, cut a pipe cleaner into two equal parts.  Form one half into a circle.Tightly twist the ends of the pipe cleaner around the circle.

Then, cut a piece a yarn so that it’s 24 inches long.  Tie one end of the yarn to the circle.  Tie the other end of the yarn to the stick.

Last, hold the stick in one hand.  Swing the ring up into the air and try to catch it onto the end of your stick.  Count how many times you catch it!

Additional Writing for Older Students

Have the older students write out how to play the ring toss as well. Check out this example.  Check out this example.


Lastly, write a conclusion that encourages the reader to make the ring toss and play it!

Print the Lesson

Here’s the full lesson for you to print out and use.

the ring caught onto the end of the stick A child shows his completed ring toss.


Correct the Paragraph

Students correct a paragraph.


a paper, marker and the word Thanksgiving

The kids love the mystery of this Thanksgiving game every time we play it!

Here’s how you play!

Have your students write in big letters THANKSGIVING at the top of a clean piece of paper.

The Word Thanksgiving written on paper

The Steps

Read through the following steps for students to follow on their paper.

  1. Write THANKSGIVING on your paper.
  2. Switch the first and last letters. (GHANKSGIVINT)
  3. Change the 3rd and 4th letters to the 2nd letter of the alphabet. (GHBBKSGIVINT)
  4. Change the 5th and 11th letters to an L. (GHBBLSGIVILT)
  5. Change the 9th and 10th letters to a B.  (GHBBLSGIBBLT)
  6. Change the 2nd and 8th letters to an o.  (GOBBLSGOBBLT)
  7. Change the 6th and 12th letters to an e.  (GOBBLEGOBBLE)
  8. Insert a space between the 6th and 7th letters. (GOBBLE GOBBLE)
  9. Answer the question: What does a turkey say?

They should end up with the word GOBBLE GOBBLE if they followed the instructions correctly.

Print the Instructions

Here are the instructions for you to print out and use.

Thanksgiving Facts

Find fun Thanksgiving facts to share with kids HERE!

You may also be interested in the following writing prompts involving instructions:

Gumball Machine-Writing Instructions

Gumball machine

Never Ending Syrup Sundae-Writing Instructions

If you found this lesson to be fun and useful to you, you’ll also want to check out Candy Cane Ornament-Instructions for Christmas!

materials to make a Christmas ornament