Kids Love this Silly Serval Writing Prompt!

This Serval writing prompt is a very fun piece and creates a lot of laughs among students!

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The serval “writes” a personal narrative about his/her time as a pet and then later as a wild cat at the Carolina Tiger Rescue.  This prompt can be used for any animal that is meant for the wild but often taken in as a pet.


Kids love wildcats!  If you have a location near you that houses wildcats, definitely read on and find out how you can use any one or all of my wildcats lessons with your students.

Here in North Carolina we have the Carolina Tiger Rescue.  They receive large cats that people decide they can’t handle as pets.  Their mission is to discourage people from attempting to domesticate such wonderful creatures.

My colleague, Kim (owner of Artz Hub) and I were inspired by our successful partnership with the Duke Lemur Center and wanted to branch out.  The Carolina Tiger Rescue seemed like a natural fit for our book creation camps and so we were thrilled when they agreed to partner with us, too.  As a result, we started holding art and writing workshops and summer camps at their location.

Support Their Mssion-Conservation and Education

Part of the partnership is that we incorporate their mission into our art and writing lessons.  So, the wild cat writing lessons are ones that I have actually conducted at their facility with children.  If you have a similar location near you, or even a zoo that houses wild cats, I’d strongly encourage you to plan a visit so the children can learn more.  Then, use any of the Wild Cat prompts as a follow up activity!

This serval writing prompt helps kids see why servals don’t make great pets in a humorous and entertaining way.

Common Core State Standards

NOTE: This lesson can address the following Common Core State Standards:  CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.K.3, W.1.3, W.2.3, W.3.3, W.3.3.B, W.3.3.C, W.3.3.D, W.4.3, W4.3.A, W.4.3.B, W.4.3.C, W.4.3.D, W.4.3.E, W.5.3, W.5.3.A, W.5.3.B, W.5.3.C, W.5.3.D and W.5.3.E.


To get a full understanding on how I conduct each writing lesson you may want to read the Writing Prompts Introduction post.  The serval writing prompt 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 storyline:  A serval is a pet and doesn’t like it!  First, it complains about its care.  Then, it makes fun of human behavior.  At last, it ends up at a rescue location and likes it there.

2.  Discuss facts about servals.  They

  • –live in Africa, Algeria and the Sahara Desert.
  • –also love the Savannah with the tall grass, streams, rivers and lakes.
  • –have long legs, large ears and short tails as well as spotted coats
  • On the back of their black ears are white spots.

3.  Next, brainstorm bad care, silly human behavior and quality care at the rescue location

Show the 5 Sections

  1. Introduction
  2. Complains about care
  3. Makes fun of humans
  4. Goes to the rescue location
  5. Conclusion


Guide the children through the following steps so that their story is organized and complete.  They are free to write these ideas in their own words.  There are sample sentences in italics for your own guidance.

  1. Leave the first line blank for the title.
  2. Next, write an introduction

Hello!  Hey! Or Hi! My name is ____________(name the cat) and I’m so glad to be at the Carolina Tiger Rescue.

Not long ago (or name the time), I was living _____________.  I did not like being a pet!

3.  Third, complain about the care (small crate, small house, no trees, cat food YUCK!)  First of all, the care was horrible!

4.  Then, make fun of human habits (mowing the grass, walking on 2 legs, using silverware, watching TV, etc.)  Second of all, humans are strange!

5.  Write about the transition to the Carolina Tiger Rescue.

One day, I ________________.  My owners couldn’t handle me anymore and brought me here to the Carolina Tiger Rescue.

6.  Sixth, state the good things at the CTR (real meat, tall grass, trees, space, vet care) I was so happy to be at the Carolina Tiger Rescue!

7.  Lastly, write a conclusion.

I did not like being a pet at all.  I hope I’m never a pet again!

8.  Choose and write a title on the first line. A popular one among my campers was “Listen up!”

serval writing prompt serval writing prompt

Print the Lesson

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


Once the writers finish their serval writing prompt, they can begin working on their serval art accent.

serval writing prompt

These serval art accent are highly motivating to students and reward them for their work.  In addition, they add color and charm to any child’s story.

Here are two art accents to along with the serval writing prompt.  I decided to focus on the tall grass for this art accent since most of the campers wrote about how silly it was for the humans to cut the grass.  The serval kept waiting for the grass to grow long and the humans kept cutting it!

White Crayon-Green Watercolor Paint

The FIRST art accent is really easy.  All you need is a white crayon, green water color paint* and water.

serval writing prompt

Using the white crayon, fill the border with grass.  The pen marks below show where students can draw the grass.

serval writing prompt, water color

Now, paint the entire border with green water color paint.  The white crayon lines will show through, making it look like grass.

serval writing prompt. watercolor grass serval writing prompt, green watercolor

Here’s a sample to print and hang.

Plastic Page Protector, Tempera Paint and Mod Podge

The SECOND art accent is surely unique and I discovered it by sheer accident.  I learned that you can brush tempera paint on a a plastic page protector*.

First, take the page protector.

serval writing prompt

Lay it down so that the white holes are on the RIGHT and the opening is at the top.

serval writing prompt

Paint vertically, from top to bottom over the plastic page protector with green tempera paint*.


Spray it with Mod Podge*.

Let it dry.

This art accent goes very fast.   The drying just takes a bit of time.  While it’s drying, the children can draw a serval (or color a serval like this one) to place in the plastic page protector behind the green paint.  The green paint looks like tall grass hiding the serval.


Here’s the image above for you to print out and hang for your students.

FINALLY, if you store this story in a binder or three ring folder, the story should be facing up in the plastic page protector (holes on the left).  The drawing and paint should be facing down or on the back.

Facts About Servals

Take it a step further and have your students learn more facts about servals here!


serval writing prompt, game

Wild cats are a big hit every year at my summer writing camps.  Here students unscramble the names of wild cats using letter tiles.  You can read my full post on different ways to use letter tiles here.

Writers can unscramble the wild cat names using the letter tiles.  Or, they can simply unscramble the words by writing them on small white boards as well.  The letter tiles are just another fun way to practice the words!  (You can use letter tiles from old Scrabble games or you can purchase different color sets of 100 wooden letter tiles online at Amazon.  Here’s the link*.)


There are 10 different cats at the Carolina Tiger Rescue so those are the names I used.  I made a document listing all 10 cats (9 plus the tiger in the logo) so they had something to refer to.  Here are the 10 Cats for you to download and use.  I print one for each group and slide it in a plastic page protector* so it can be reused many times.

I give each group of 2-3 children a box of letter tiles.

letter tiles to spell the names of wild cats

On the white board at the front of the group.  I write the letters to one of the cats in a scrambled fashion.

wild cats scrambled

The children race to form the word with their letter tiles.

students spell the names of wild cats

The game continues until they’ve completed all 10 names or the allotted time runs out!

Print the Instructions

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

Additional Writing Games:

Correct the paragraph

Students are correcting a paragraph

Sentence Scramblers:  (#1 of our Top 5 Writing Games)

(Use these serval facts to scramble)

Irregular Past Verbs-1,2,3

*All background knowledge and information needed for this prompt came from the staff and tour at the Carolina Tiger Rescue.*