Creative journaling is a great way for kids of all ages and abilities to express themselves and process the world around them. It also helps document big events and offers a unique way for your child to tell the story of her life’s journey. It can be fun to look back at journals from when she was younger and reminisce about events such as her first gymnastics lesson or the time she participated in a spelling bee. Creative journals also offer a gentle outlet for working through tough emotions and channeling negative feelings in a positive way.

Creative journals are colorful, tactile and allow children to tap into their innermost thoughts, while engaging their whole self: mind, body and spirit.

Materials needed:
• 3-ring binder
• Paper (lined or unlined)- a heavier paper or card stock works best if your child intends to use glue, tape or paint
• Hole punch
• Creative supplies: markers, crayons, colored pencils, paint, glue sticks, washi tape, rubber stamps
• Old magazines
Instructions and ideas:
1. Find a 3-ring binder with a plastic insert cover. While all binders work, the type with a plastic insert cover will allow your child to make a fun cover on a piece of paper or card stock that she can slip inside. Paint, markers, crayons and colored pencils often smudge when drawn directly onto a plastic cover.
2. Provide your child with paper or card stock, craft materials and magazines. Encourage her to color, paint and write about her day or important events in her life. She can also use old magazines to cut out pictures and words that inspire her or help give color and life to her journal. When creating these journals with young children, the process of crafting the journal itself helps improve fine motor skills.
3. If your child needs some help with ideas to include in her journal, start the creative process with a discussion. For younger children, you might ask them to draw what makes them happy or cut out pictures of items that make them feel better if they are sad, such as fluffy dogs, favorite characters or flowers. When working with older children, talk about less concrete topics, such as the color of an intense emotion or ask them to write about helping a child who is being bullied.
4. Allow your child to create pages for her journal with you or alone and ask her to share her thoughts about each page if she feels comfortable.
5. Use a hole punch to easily add these pages to her journal.

Creative journaling not only allows your child to work through emotional events in a comfortable way, but encourages imagination and helps her learn about herself. This project also strengthens the bond between you and your child by reducing screen time, helping you spend quality time together and encouraging conversations to take place.

Have you tried creative journaling with your child?