Starting a summer journal

Keeping a journal is a simple way to keep learners writing over the summer, and it comes with all kinds of educational benefits such as promoting creativity and improving introspection.

Writing in a journal every day can be a tall order for a child, though, so how do you get them started? Here are three ways to make journaling more appealing and motivate your young writer to stick with it.

Personalize it

Before your learner starts writing, set aside some time for them to personalize their journal. Doing this will give your writer more ownership over their journal, as well as make it more enticing to them as an object, which may make them want to use it more.

You can start with an inexpensive, basic notebook, and then use materials like stickers, washi tape, and fabric to customize the cover. Your learner can add things to the inside of their journal as well, such as photos, tickets, comic strips, and flowers. Personalization can even be an ongoing project, with your writer adding more decoration to their journal all summer long.

Set a schedule

To encourage your learner to write every day, pick a daily time and duration for journaling (such as after breakfast for 30 minutes). A good time is one that your writer is comfortable with and that doesn’t have another activity scheduled right afterward. That way, if your learner gets invested in an entry and goes on a writing tear, they can keep writing without having a hard stop time.

For this reason, we recommend not scheduling journal time right before bedtime. Ideally, journal writing shouldn’t cut into a growing learner’s sleep. You may also want to set journaling as a condition for other activities, such as “no screen time until you journal,” to keep your writer motivated and focused.

Give them creative freedom

A journal can take many different forms. It can be a collection of daily reflections, short stories, movie reviews, doodles, or a mix of all of those. Whatever your writer’s summer journal ends up being, it should be their decision. You can show them different ways to use a journal, such as bullet journaling techniques, but leave the content of their journal up to them.

If your learner is struggling to think of something to write about, then it’s okay to brainstorm ideas together or give them a writing prompt. Here are some examples of prompts for young writers:

  • What is your summer bucket list?
  • What makes a good friend?
  • Who is your hero and why?
  • Describe your perfect summer day
  • If you could invent something, what would it be?

Get your child started with a summer journal, and you’ll be amazed at the progress their writing makes by the time the next school year comes around. They may even continue journaling into the school year and develop a new hobby. For more writing resources, visit’s Learning Library.