We had a fantastic number of Spoke contributors participate in last month’s Spoke Writing Challenge, “Stories of Wonder & Imagination.” Our February 2018 winners are listed below—they each took home a cool $100 prize for their savvy word-smithing.

Scroll down to read excerpts from each of the winning posts.

Here’s How I Got My Tween Back into the Magic of Stories at Bedtime: Jennifer Porter

It’s not lost on me that as a working mom with elementary school kids, our quality family time is the few hours after work and school and before the Sandman arrives. These precious few hours had been diluted into routine that needed a little more inspiration.

I can’t remember who cried uncle first, but one night this fall I found myself in a most familiar, if not entirely comfortable, space on a sliver of my son’s twin bed. Our chat had covered the day’s events, which would have been enough for me. Then my little boy asked for a story.

Read the rest of the post here.

photo: Sara Shanahan

A Post-Modern Critique of My Preschooler’s Artistic Masterpiece: Sara Shanahan

Whether unintentionally inappropriate, funny or brilliant—my daughter’s artwork is getting interesting. In fact, she recently brought home this gem from school. It’s not “A Tiger in a Castle with a Butterfly,” “Lip Gloss,” or “A Paper Towel in a Box.” Those are the titles of her other creative colorings.

Get your mind out of the gutter, m’kay? According to my wide-eyed, smiling preschooler, the precious piece pictured above: It’s a dinosaur!” Whatever it is,that reptile is big! Turn it vertical—BAM! You got a brontosaurus!

Read the rest of the post here.

How to Play Pretend With Your Kids in 5 Easy Steps (& Legit Have Fun, Too): Nicole Merritt

Step 1: Pretend to enjoy your children. You thought I was kidding, but I’m not. The truth is that as parents, we don’t always appreciate our children. We love them with all we have in us, yes, but still, we don’t always enjoy them.

It is not always easy to be fond of someone who talks back to you or who poops in a diaper that you have to repeatedly change. Or, how about someone who sasses you as she “comes into her own”, or who moves at the pace of a snail just to irk you, or tells you “no” just because they can.

Read the rest of the post here.

Thank you to everyone who entered! If you missed this writing challenge, check out this month’s current Spoke Writing Challenge theme.

As always, ride on!

—Keiko Zoll, Spoke Contributor Network Editor



March Spoke Writing Challenge: Choose Your Own Adventure!

Spoke Writing Challenge Winners: The Productive Parent