Short Story Ideas for Children

Updated March 23, 2017

It's common to feel as if you could write a fantastic short story for children, but struggle to come up with an idea. You can find inspiration for story ideas in many ways, such as watching children play and listening to their conversations, or reading existing children's literature and allowing that plot to spark your own.

Explore a New World

Many children's stories feature normal characters who discover extraordinary new worlds, such as Alice in Wonderland or The Chronicles of Narnia. Your short story might feature a young boy or girl who stumbles into their own secret world, meets strange new creatures, and has an adventure.


Some short stories teach children a lesson about how to handle certain situations. Create a main character with a responsibility, like doing his homework or walking the dog, that he forgets or dismisses, and show the repercussions. These types of stories work best if they are filled with humour, as no one (including children) enjoy reading something written for the sole purpose of teaching them a lesson.

The Quest

It is common for many stories to focus on a quest or mission. There is something or someone the main character wants, and the story is about how he attains it. Create a main character and the object he wants, then ask yourself why he wants it, what is preventing him from getting it, and how he overcomes that obstacle. An example might be a girl who wants a cat, but her mother is allergic, so she volunteers at an animal shelter and gets to care for many cats every day.

Fairy Tales

Many modern short stories for children are based on classic fairy tales. Choose one of your favourite fairy tales and add a modern twist to create your own short story. For example, Hansel and Gretel is the story of two children lost in the woods, but your story might feature two children lost in the city instead.

Character Powers

Rather than setting your story in a fantastic new world, set it in an everyday world children are familiar with that features school, bullies, homework and chores. As a twist, create one main character with a special power, like the ability to become invisible or read minds. Explore how that power effects the character's ability to handle situations your readers encounter, like getting in trouble with their parents or forgetting to study for a test.

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About the Author

Kara Page has been a freelance writer and editor since 2007. She maintains several blogs on travel, music, food and more. She is also a contributing writer for Suite101 and has articles published on eHow and Answerbag. Page holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of North Texas.