Summer Vacation Journals

P1110526When we had our final parent-teacher conference of the year for Bug, she recommended that we help him keep up with his newly-formed writing skills. She suggested using blank board books, but honestly that felt a little too “permanent” for a child who is still experimenting with spelling. I did pick up some board books for another project, but for journaling, a paper book just felt more comfortable. We started with a journal for the kids’ Farm Camp experience. I gave them two pages for each day of camp to record their favorite memories in picture and words.

I decided to make a simple book for each of the kids, but if your kids are a bit older, this is the perfect time to start introducing bookbinding. ThinkQuest has some great tutorials. If you’re just getting started, or don’t want to use a lot of materials or time, the Mini Book is one of my favorites. It requires a piece of paper and some scissors.

For this project, I used construction paper for the covers, and an inexpensive kids sketch-book paper for the inside. You can see that I just grabbed a scrap ribbon I had, even though it doesn’t really match. Obviously, if you’re making an heirloom item, you’ll want archival papers and materials. I didn’t bother taking pictures of the steps as this is pretty simple. I punched holes along one side and wove an old ribbon in to tie things together. If you’re making the journal, don’t overthink this part.


  • Make sure the paper you use on the inside is appropriate for the materials the kids will work with. Most papers work well with pencils and crayons, but water colors, markers, and pens will bleed through thin paper.
  • If your kids are perfectionists, have them decorate the pages before binding. That way, you can just include their favorite pages.
  • For older kids, consider allowing them to write their thoughts on the computer and print them out to include in the journal. They can then add artwork later on. This gives them more room to write if they need it, and will help with keyboarding skills. It also allows them to focus more on the content than their handwriting.
  • It’s always inspiring to have new art supplies to work with. We broke out some new glittery gel pens and some appropriate farm animal rubber stamps.
  • Unless your kids love to write, don’t try to keep this up daily over an extended period of time. Once a day for a week-long vacation or camp experience is fine, or pick one day a week to reflect back on the experiences of the week. This is supposed to be fun.


  • Bug loved this project. He enjoyed capturing his favorite memories of each day in pictures and words.
  • LadyBug enjoyed coloring in her book, but the overall project was a bit lost on her. That’s fine, since she’s not writing quite yet.

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