One way to inspire young children to be creative is to encourage them to make regular entries in a journal. A journal is a place where children can reflect on the day, or an event  and record their thoughts and memories about it. Journals are all about self expression and the best ones follow no rules – they are full of colour, pictures, different textured materials (for example, a leaf or a  piece of fabric) and are bursting with memories.

Some tips for keeping a journal with children:

– Together with your child choose a book with blank pages. Invite your child to personalise their journal by decorating the cover. The journal featured below belongs to my daughter, this was her first journal that we started when she turned four. We covered it in tie dye tissue paper we created.

– For a journal to be maintained it has to be fun, it has to be a place children want to go and record their memories. It needs to be a child led activity.

– Always date each entry.

– For children who are pre-writers, ask them to tell you about their illustrations and write down what they say verbatim.

– The beauty of journals is that they are such a beautiful keepsake of details and memories through your child’s eyes. Flicking through a journal from years ago is a gorgeous trip down memory lane (for parents and the child who kept the journal).

For younger children, their journal can be a place where they illustrate their thoughts, favourite things and places through drawings, collage pictures, photos and memorabilia collected from holidays and days out.

A couple of nights ago my daughter (currently six years old) and I were reading through her first journal she started when she was four years old. Here are some entries (these particular entries are when she had recently turned five):

A drawing of a Christmas scene. The page on the right features my daughter and I in the North Pole outside Santa’s house. There are pink snow flakes falling  from the sky.

Another illustration, this time about Halloween and decorating our home for Halloween. There is a purple wreath on the door, jack-o-lanterns and googly eyes around the window (not that we have ever had eyes of any description around our windows!)

Journals are also the perfect place to record interviews. My daughter wanted to interview me one night before bed time and write down my answers. So precious to have her written record of our interview.

I also like to use my children’s journals to record interviews about significant events such as first and last day of kindy. I quickly recorded my daughters thoughts about her first lost tooth the day after our first Tooth Fairy visit. I wrote down her responses word for word as she said them (hence the squished up response to question three as my daughter remembered some details later on that she wanted me to include).

Journals are a great place to record “firsts” too – such as first written words.

With the new year not long behind us it is a great time for children to start keeping a journal. This time next year you can look back on so many experiences that you shared and memories you made – there may even be details in there that you might have forgotten all about.  One thing is for sure; these special journal entries will make you smile.