I broke out the new journals the other day, one for each of my kids. My kids love having journals and the excitement of a brand new, blank journal and a whole lot of art and writing supplies were just the thing for a cold, wet weekend afternoon.
Our kids always have a journal laying around somewhere, and I always have a supply of new ones in the cupboard so there is always a blank page ready to be filled.
Their journals are not strictly for writing, nor are they purely for art…. they are a combination of both and more. They are place to keep your ideas, to experiment, to collect, to share and to be inspired.
Here are some of the ways we use our journals:
For Drawings and Art.
My kids are constantly drawing something and before we started our journals we would go through ream after ream of paper, and then find all those papers scattered around the house. Now, when they are looking for something to draw on they reach for their journals (with occasional reminders) and all those papers are no longer hiding under the couch, nor are precious drawings accidentally ending up in the rubbish bin.
A feather, an interesting leaf, a flower to press, a collection of apple stickers, a stamp, a postcard… now all of these random things that my kids LOVE to collect and keep have a home.
To Look Back On.
In a bid to keep clutter under control I am learning that we don’t have to keep every journal forever, but we do keep them until the end of the year and then go through and either remove any special pages we want to frame or keep, or choose to keep one or two entire journals for a little longer. (I have a couple stashed away in a box I admit) It is one of our favourite things to look through the journals and look back on what they were interested in at the start of the year, how their writing has improved, or their drawings changed.
To Encourage Writing.
While my big kids have all taken to reading like ducks to water, learning to write has not been so easy for them. Morgan needs to get his pencil grasp right and the girls have long struggled with letter reversal and not writing as neatly as they would like to. I choose not to force them to practice boring writing exercises too often, instead I use their journals to encourage and inspire them to write. And Noah, who is three and not ready to learn to write quite yet, loves copying his older siblings, using letter stickers and stamps, and making letter-like marks which are all pre-writing skills that will stand him in good stead for when he is ready to write.
Here are some of the ways we encourage writing in our journals:
Writing inspirations –
- Letters – sometimes I sneak in and steal one of my older kids journals. write them a letter, and leave the journal on their pillow. Then they will write back and leave it on my pillow.
- First Liners – Izzy’s clever teacher has his whole class in love with this writing prompt and all my kids love it when I write a first (crazy) line to a story in their journals, or they write one for each other, and they have to finish the story.
- Lists- I write the heading eg “Things I love to eat” and they do the rest.
- Questions – What super power would you like to have? What would happen if horses could fly?
- Beginnings of a Drawing – I draw one small item then write a question eg A hat – who wears this hat? They draw the rest of the picture and write about it.
Sometimes the journaling happens quietly, on their own, sometimes it is a major creative event with the table piled high with supplies.
Here are a few of our favourite journaling supplies:
- Writing pencils and an eraser
- Letter stickers
- Letter stamps
- Water colour paints (they dry quickly so pages are less likely to stick together)
- Markers, coloured pencils, oil pastels
- Old photos, magazines, printable resources.
- Glue stick.