No matter what you have planned this summer, whether it is a trip to see the grandparents, a week in Hawaii, or a stay-cation visiting your local museums, a custom journal is a great way for your children to record their experiences.
Custom travel journals are easy to make by using a blank spiral notebook, favorite art materials, and some journal prompt stickers.
You can choose any notebook that suits you, but we like notebooks without lines to accommodate the oversized handwriting of young writers and their imaginative drawings.
First, write out a few prompts. If your child is an emerging writer, pair a few simple questions with requests for drawings about the day. Prompts could include:
- What was the weather like today?
- Today I felt…
- Draw something you want to do tomorrow.
For young children, choose a simple font in a larger point size. For older children, you can shift to more complex questions and smaller fonts. You can use generic questions like the examples above, but you may also want to add prompts specific to your family’s particular experiences:
- What was your favorite animal at the zoo?
- What new Costa Rican food did you try today?
- Label the sketches you made after our visit to the art museum.
Be sure to capture things that are novel to beginning travelers like:
- Draw your hotel room.
- How do you think Denver is different from our hometown?
- What did you like about riding on the subway for the first time?
Print your prompts onto clear sticker paper, cut them apart, and put them into an envelope that can be attached to the inside cover of the journal. You can also print the prompts on plain paper and throw a glue stick into your travel bag; remember that it has to go in your clear Ziploc bag at a TSA airport checkpoint. Individual prompts (as opposed to preprinted pages) allow you to choose applicable ones each day and also gives you the freedom to place them in different places on the pages. It is also a great way to incorporate journaling from more than one child in a single book.
After you return home from a trip, you can add photographs, postcards, and other ephemera to some of the pages.
Children not only love creating their own journals, but they also enjoy looking through them long after the trip is over.
How do you help your kids record vacations and important family events?
Kayte Ghaffar shared these tips and ideas with us many years ago, but they have proved to be timeless and are a wonderful way to encourage summer journaling with children. We love her innovative ideas and knack for creating engaging learning experiences.