These 33 January writing prompts made just for you and your elementary school aged students are based on the National Days calendar. January is the perfect time to start a daily writing practice in your classroom that’s fast, fun, and easy to implement.


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“Lemon polish reminds me of Christmas,” a co-worker once told me.

“Lemon polish?” I wondered aloud. “Why not pine boughs or gingerbread baking?”

She explained. “Every year, between Christmas and New Year, my mom dove into cleaning our house from top to bottom. Once she’d put away the ornaments, swept the floors and decluttered, she’d polish all the furniture with lemon oil. Our house had to be spotless and ready for the New Year.”

Hands in blue gloves holding a red yarn heart in the snow with the title over the top in a blue rectangle.
This post was updated December 2023.


New year, with new beginnings, and out with the old, is how the saying goes. This is the motto in so many cultures around the world. In China, Japan, Mexico, and Iran, people traditionally clean their homes and sweep out the dust to make room for good luck, prosperity, and happiness to come in the New Year.

How about you? Do you follow this house cleaning tradition?

Once you’re done cleaning, here are some sparkling and shiny writing prompts to fill the month of January with wonderful new ideas, none of which have to do with lemon polish.

January is National Soup Month

Warm, delicious, soup is the ubiquitous comfort food in the winter. I could write about soup for days. Investigate different types of soup with your students.

Authentic experiences lead to better writing and comprehension. So for this monthly prompt, why not read a multi-cultural story about soup, and then have a soup party with your students?

One of my favorite books to use this time of year is The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin.  (This is NOT an affiliate link, it’s a link to her publisher’s page for the book.)

In this story, (which I suspect is semi-autobiographical), the author shares how other people in her neighborhood have beautiful gardens with flowers. She resents the fact that her mother’s garden only has ugly vegetables. That is, until the end, when she discovers how food creates bonds with her neighbors as they all share soup made from the ugly vegetables.

After reading, I would bring in a crockpot and we’d make a pot of vegetable soup. The students measured and placed it all in the crockpot. (Math, anyone?) Then we all sat and TRIED to study while smelling our yummy lunch simmering away.

January is National Hobby Month

This is a fantastic opportunity to research and learn about different types of hobbies people have. From coin collecting to rock collecting, to painting, to skateboarding, and anything else your students come up with, you can have some great discussions around hobbies. Who knows? Maybe you’ll discover a new hobby you want to try!

To get started with these writing prompts, you may want to download the January Daily Writing Prompts Journal.

Blue background with snowflakes and an image of the cover of the January writing journal.

January Writing Prompts Based on the National Days

The national days calendars have a plethora of ideas for writing. They’re include just about any topic you might be interested in, so they’re a perfect launching pad for cross-curricular writing. You can write about science, geography, biographies, food, books, or gazillions of other things.

Some aren’t appropriate for school, such as National Margarita Day, (Hello!) I did the heavy lifting and sifting through the topics for you, to find the ones that work best for upper elementary students. Read on to see some of the January prompts divided into categories and see the wide variety of topics to write about.

Three days to remember in January, Braille Day, Morse Code Day, and National Handwriting Day.
Head to my store to find escape rooms for World Braille Day and Morse Code Day, as well as a complete handwriting curriculum.

Animals to Write About

The January writing prompts have days dedicated to birds, cats, eagles, penguins, squirrels and dragons.

Wait! Dragons?

Yes, there’s a day for that too!

It’s fun to start a morning discussion about the day’s topic. Your class discussion leads to more profound writing once the students have recalled their background knowledge and possibly learned some new tidbits.

Science Topics for Writing

image of popcorn with the words Bring on the Butter, It's National Popcorn Day!
Click the image to discover ideas for teaching science and history with popcorn.

Geography and Social Studies

Writing About People and Biographies

gray background with an old photo of a woman on a telegraph machine
Click on the image to find out where you can download a free Morse Code sheet.

Would you like to watch a video showing the Morse Code symbols and sounds?

This will get your students engaged in the subject before they do their daily writing. Maybe they’ll even write their answers in Morse Code too, so keep that chart handy.

Just for Fun Days (Don’t we all need a little fun in our lives?)

More just for fun topics include:

teal and fuschia background with a kite and the words International Kite Day
January 14th is International Kite Day. Click the link to learn more.

However you choose to use this calendar of January writing prompts, my intention is to make learning fun for your students and to help them learn to love writing every day. The following image will give you an overview of what’s included in this January Daily Writing Prompts Journal.

More January Holidays and Activities

As you may already know, Happy Hive Homeschooling and I have teamed up to bring you the best of the best holidays and activities. There are far more than just 33. Here are some super interesting days with great activities from the HHH website.


Save This Pin

There are so many more days to celebrate. I created a monthly writing journal for each month of the year based on the national days. If you want to save this post so you can come back to it again, just save the pin to your Pinterest board.

Blue background with snowflakes and an image of the cover of the January writing journal.
Save this pin to your Pinterest board and you can come back for the prompts again and again.

Happy New Year!

Lemon polish is optional.



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