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All Hail The Travel Journal

Holidays and weekend breaks are a fabulous way to spend quality time enjoying your family and can be a welcome break from work and school for all concerned. However, sometimes it’s quite hard to look back and remember, in detail, the fun that everyone had and that is why I like to encourage the whole family, particularly the young, to keep a travel journal.

There are lots and lots of valid reasons for encouraging your children to keep a travel journal when you go on holiday:

  • It’s a great way for them to record everything they do and see because if they are young they may struggle to remember the good times without physical prompts.
  • It can keep your children engaged and amused during travel.
  • Adding artefacts to the journal each night is a nice quiet way to wind down after a busy day exploring.
  • It can be a great educational tool – for learning about new places but also because some kids really struggle to get back into the writing routine after a break.
  • A journal is a great memento to show friends and family after a wonderful holiday.

The actual journal itself doesn’t have to be particularly special because even the cheapest scrapbook or folder can be customised into a really cool keepsake. Perhaps keeping the journal inside a small box is also a good idea; for those slightly larger mementoes such as lovely shells, shiny special stones or pressed flowers, etc. plus the pens, pencils and crayons can be included in the box initially.

Beforehand

Providing a small starter kit for the kids, along with the journal is a great start. Alongside the necessary pens, pencils etc. these could include:

  • A print out of a map showing the journey itself – it’s great for your children to be able to trace the route with a highlighter.
  • Brochures with pictures of the area or the accommodation you will be staying in.
  • Flags of any overseas countries you may be visiting.

Generally, your kids will like to decorate the book and box themselves although you could provide printed materials relating to the area you are going to visit. These can be downloaded and printed from the internet in advance. It’s such a good way to start your children looking forward to their holiday!

Include

It’s probably a good idea to have popped some activity things in with the journal to begin with:

  • Some simple games – dot to dots, crosswords or tic-tac-toe.
  • Things to colour in which relate to where you are going.
  • Ideas of things to look out for during the journey and at any stop over places.

Ideas for the journal content

Obviously, this will vary depending on the places you go and the ages of the children but here are a few ideas:

  • A weather board – you could print out some labels with suns, clouds etc.
  • A mood board – with faces to which your child can add their smiles or frowns.
  • Food diary – encourage your children to draw pictures or write down the meals they have, particularly when they have tried something different.
  • Writing or drawing activities – swimming in the sea, walking through a wood, fishing in rock pools, etc.
  • Lists and pictures of any animals that they see including birds, fish, sea creatures etc.
  • Details about interesting people they meet – this could be the fisherman at the end of the pier or the children they play with on the beach.
  • Encourage a good mix of drawing and writing (even if you need to help with the written content).
  • Consider a cheap camera so that your children can take photos of things that they find exciting or interesting. The photographs can be uploaded and printed at home and stuck into the relevant places.

There are so many different things that can be put into a journal that the sky is the limit really. Let your children free up their imagination and encourage them to add everything they see or do even if it includes normal things like shopping in a supermarket for picnic food. The whole idea is that it reminds them of their holiday, warts and all.

I think one of the most special aspects of keeping a journal is that it can work equally well for a staycation too. If you have chosen to remain at home and do holiday activities instead, there is still plenty of opportunity to encourage your children to keep a journal of everything they see or do. You never know, journaling may actually be something that they continue to do throughout their lives!

June 2, 2017

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