Creative Journal Ideas to help make journaling fun for kids—Oh, the many joys of creative journaling! I love to write about journal keeping tips, journal prompts and starters, creative journaling, and journal writing techniques. Writing in a journal is one of my favorite activities, but creating new, exciting, and innovative ways to keep a journal is almost just as enjoyable if you ask me.
Journaling helps students improve their writing and critical thinking skills, as they take a topic and explore it from multiple angles. Journaling can be assigned to kids of any age—and if you ask us, the sooner kids start to journal, the better!
To get kids interested in journaling, try introducing them to fun, exciting, simple, and low-cost ways to embellish a journal. Use the creative journal ideas for kids below to make journal keeping an interactive and unique tool for self-expression and personal growth (not to mention a wonderful creative writing skill development tool, but more on that later.)
Ok, first let’s dig in with a list of special creative journal ideas list—and then we’ll explore more fun ways to engage kids in journaling and in creative writing!
Creative Journaling for Kids
25 Innovative & Creative Ideas to Engage their Interest
- Summarize your day in 20 words or less.
- Write one word across the journal page that best describes your day.
- Write out the lyrics to your favorite song or print them out and paste them into your journal.
- Draw a picture.
- Write a poem.
- Break all those writing and grammar rules and journal in your own unique style!
- Print out a copy of an Instant Message chat that you had with your friend or your parent, and paste it into your journal.
- Compose a song.
- Write in your journal using colorful markers, colored pencils or even crayons!
- Cut and paste your favorite pictures from magazines into your journal.
- Paste craft items into your journal (check with your parents or teachers for things you can use).
- Brighten your journal with paint.
- Paste stickers in your journal.
- Include quotations by your favorite famous person or someone you admire. You can find quotes online or in books from the library.
- Record important events in history.
- Draw a cartoon.
- Record important news from the day.
- Figure out how many days are left until your 13th birthday or your 16th birthday or your 18th, 21st, 33rd, 47th, 53rd, or 111th birthday!
- Interview a family member and record the interview in your journal.
- Interview a friend and record the interview in your journal.
- Write down 3 things that you’re thankful for.
- Write down 3 things that really bug you.
- Invent a cool, new saying and record in your journal how and when you used it.
- Invent an animal that no one except you has ever thought of before.
- Draw a picture of an animal that no one except you has ever seen.
Making Creative Journaling MORE Fun
Whether your kids have written one journal entry or 100 journal entries, the practice of daily writing can have a positive impact on their lives.
Of course, kids don’t always see creative journal keeping this way—instead, journaling may seem like a tedious task that simply has to be repeated over and over again.
That’s why it’s so important to make creative journaling fun and engaging for kids. When kids can get excited about the process of journaling, they’re more likely to stick with the practice and work hard enough on it to truly reap the benefits of this empowering activity.
With that in mind, we recommend trying these simple creative journal Ideas to make writing even more accessible and fun for kids of all ages.
7 Creative Journal Ideas to Bring Excitement to Daily Writing Practice
1. Make Life (and Your Journal) More Colorful
Toss those pens and pencils aside and use markers, crayons, and colored pencils instead. You will be amazed at how beautiful and joyful a journal becomes simply by adding color!
Next, ask students to use stickers, magazine cutouts, glitter, and other craft supplies to decorate their journals. Whether they jazz up the covers or make the pages shine, kids will be more excited to write when their journals reflect their personal styles.
2. Summarize, Summarize, Summarize!
Journal entries don’t always have to be long or profound—sometimes just a few sentences or bullet points can be sufficient. Ask kids to summarize the highlights of their days in a short, simple fashion using bullet points or brief sentences to describe what happened and how it made them feel.
This approach makes creative journaling feel less intimidating, while still helping kids get into the habit of recording their thoughts and experiences each day.
3. Word of the Day
If you have a child who has really had a long day and doesn’t have much time or energy left for journal writing, try the “word of the day” approach to journaling! In this method, the student should spend a couple minutes reflecting and then choose a single word that encapsulates the day. Write the word across the entire page in big, bold letters—and you’re done!
When kids go back to review their journals at a later date, they’ll be surprised to see exactly how much they can recall about their days from just a single world!
4. Journals are for Sharing
A whole new world of connections and engagement opens up when you treat creative journaling as an interactive experience. To try this approach with your kids, declare that diaries are for secrets—but that journal entries are meant to be shared! With this mindset in place, parents and teachers can play an active role in the journaling process alongside their students.
Use the following prompts and try writing a few of your own journal entries alongside your child—and then share your answers with one another:
- What is your greatest dream?
- Write about one thing you could do to help someone less fortunate.
- What is your favorite activity to do with family?
- Write about your clearest childhood memory.
- What is the coolest thing you’ve ever done?
5. Journaling Has No Rules
There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to journaling. Journal writing should be freeing, not limiting—so give kids permission to break the spelling and grammar rules they are required to follow in school. This freedom allows kids to fully express themselves, and it makes creative journaling a much more enticing and exciting activity.
6. Get in Tune with Your Senses
Sensory writing is interesting writing—and focusing on the senses can also help students who are struggling to get started.
Give students a setting or situation and ask them to describe what a character experiences through the lens of the five senses. What does the view look like? What noises does the character hear—shouting or the rustling of leaves? Are there any smells in the air? Can the character taste anything—flavored lip balm or perhaps a delicious apple pie? What is the character touching?
7. Step Away from the Page
While it might seem counterintuitive to have students put their journals away, experiencing new things in the world promotes greater creativity once kids are back in their desks. Kids who struggle with writing can find inspiration by enjoying their favorite activities and trying new things.
Have students visit museums, parks, or local tourist attractions. Alternatively, ask each student to try something new—a new recipe, a new sport, or making a new friend. Exposure to different people, places, and activities offers new perspectives for writing, which can be particularly helpful when students get stuck figuring out where to go in their journals.
Share the Joy of Writing
Creative journaling inherently sounds like it should be easy. After all, the word “creative” implies a sense of freedom and possibility that other, more restrictive forms of writing simply don’t have. However, sometimes the lack of boundaries makes it even more difficult to begin writing.
Kids are sometimes confused by assignments that don’t have many rules, and they may struggle to begin writing creatively. The following five tips get the creativity flowing and encourage kids to think outside the page.
Five Creative Journaling Tips for Kids
1. Don’t Worry About Perfection
Perfection is the greatest enemy of creative writers everywhere. When a person writes about things that matter deeply to him or her, it’s only natural to care about the quality of the finished product.
However, people shouldn’t worry about perfection during the early stages of writing. Students who worry too much about getting a sentence exactly right may become frustrated easily and associate the negativity they feel with writing as a whole. Instead, encourage students to write freely at first and to get as many ideas down as possible. They can go back later and correct mistakes during the editing process.
2. Write About What You Love
Though you might be tempted to give students a particular writing assignment, sometimes it’s also best to sit back and let them journal about whatever they love most.
Allow students to take a general topic and spin it in any direction that interests them. Most kids will have much more to say and will feel more comfortable with creative journaling when they are able to discuss familiar and enjoyable topics.
3. Set Small Goals
Setting small, realistic goals for assignments is also a great way to help kids who are struggling with creative writing. Encourage kids to write for 10 minutes daily or to compose one or two paragraphs. With an end goal in sight, even students who dislike writing will know what they can expect and will have an easier time completing the task.
As students get more comfortable with writing, you can slowly increase the length of assignments—and watch as their creativity increases at the same time.
4. Practice Being Observant
Encourage students to pay more attention to the world around them—and to appreciate the odd and unusual things they see. When students are observant of the peculiar, the weird, and the unusual, they can then take the things they see and make it into extraordinary writing. It takes a keen eye and a good grasp of words to turn something peculiar into a grand spectacle.
5. Let Your Mind Wander
Kids sometimes get self-conscious about their ideas and may feel like they need to edit their thoughts before creative journaling. However, allowing your mind to dream and go crazy with ideas can actually be very freeing.
Tell your students to sit down and spend 10 minutes or so simply letting their minds explore. Then, have them write down all the fresh ideas they came up with. Once the ideas are on the page, they can then begin paring down their thoughts and choosing which concepts are worth exploring in-depth.
27 Bonus Creative Journal Ideas & Prompts to Encourage New Ideas
- Write about the last time you saw something out of the ordinary.
- What is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to you? How did it make you feel?
- What do you do when you feel sad or angry?
- Do you enjoy writing in your journal? Why or why not?
- What are some things you hope to achieve in the future? Why do you have these goals or dreams?
- Write about a person who plays an important role in your life and explain what makes him or her so special.
- Go outside and spin in a circle for ten seconds. Then, write about the very first thing you see when you open your eyes.
- What is the best thing you’ve ever eaten? Describe it in great detail so that someone else could imagine how it would taste and what it would look like.
- Would you rather spend this weekend at home with your family or out doing something with friends? Why?
- Describe your personality in just three words. Then, explain why each word suits who you are.
- What would you do if you suddenly had to go to a brand new school next week? How would you make new friends? How would you tell your old friends that you had to leave?
- Are you a tidy or messy person? Describe yourself and what your room looks like.
- If you could have any magical power, what would you like to be able to do? Why?
- What is your favorite TV show? What do you like best about it?
- Write a short story about any topic of your choosing—but write it from end to beginning.
- Write about a beloved family tradition that you enjoy celebrating. Then, switch journals with a friend and read about his or her traditions. Discuss your experiences with one another.
- Choose one word that describes your day. Write it in large letters on a single page of your journal. Then, write about why you chose that particular word.
- Write about three important or unusual things that happened in your life this week.
- What is the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do? How did you get through the experience?
- Write about one way you’ve grown over the last year. How can you tell that you’ve changed?
- Do you believe aliens exist? Why or why not?
- If you had the chance to learn one secret about the universe or to have one wish granted, which would you choose? Why?
- Write about a time when you met someone new. What were your first impressions of that person? How did your opinion of him or her change over time?
- Describe a time when something embarrassing happened to you. How did you feel?
- Write about the last time you had a big test to study for. How did you prepare for the exam? Did your work pay off when it was time to take the test?
- Write a brief summary of what happens in your favorite book. Then, brainstorm a few ideas for potential sequels!
- Would you rather have the ability to travel to any place in the world or the ability to travel to any time in the world? Why?
More Creative Journaling Resources
Journaling is most appealing to kids when you can find ways to make writing fun, simple, and full of creativity. To help keep your students engaged in creative journaling, be sure to check out the other resources and writing prompts on our website, including these great articles:
- 1,000s of Journal Prompts by Topic
- Journal Writing Prompts
- “What If…” Writing Prompts
- Top 10 Journaling Tips for Kids
- Strategies that Work in the Classroom: Journals in the Classroom
May your journaling adventures be filled with joy, fun, and creativity!
Until next time, journal on…
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