Summer journaling for the kiddos

The end of summer break is quickly approaching. In less than a month, kids will be putting on shiny new sneakers, squeaking them on freshly polished floors, opening perfectly tidy boxes of Crayola Crayons (can you smell them?) and settling into the routine of school. Girl journaling

And when school starts back, almost every kid will be asked at least once, by a teacher, friend, or principal the age old question: what did you do this summer?

You remember getting asked that question, don’t you?

Do you remember what you would answer?

Honestly, I don’t remember what I used to say when I was asked this question. I like to think that I would recall playing at the park, riding my park, and swimming in Lake Champlain.

But I know better. In reality I likely gave a response similar to those I have heard from kids myself.

“I don’t know.”

“I don’t remember.”

Or my personal favorite. The shrugged shoulders and the look that lets me know I am the biggest loser on the planet for asking the question. (It makes it sound like i hand out around some pretty snooty kids, right?)

While this question may be one that takes time to extract a response at the exiting and highly anticipated start of the school year, us moms can use it to engage our kids in journaling activities that wrap-up summer fun and transition us and our kids back into the routine of school.

Some ideas for end-of-summer journaling:

If you’ve got a writer who loves putting words on paper, let her choose her own blank book and special pen or pencil. As she starts to write about her summer, encourage her to add as much detail as possible and discuss what she really liked about special trips or camps. Her teachers will thank you.

Do you have a lot of photographs from your summer? If so, you may want to consider letting your budding student create a photo book that captures the story of what he did over the summer. This engages several skills sets: working with digital photos, navigating a photo book service, writing details or entires, and conducting a final edit. And then you have a book you get to keep.

Another option with photos is a photo collage. The graphic artist in your household can make one on using digital photos and then print out a collage to frame or hang on a bulletin board. Or individual photos can be printed, cut out, and organized to create a unique collage. There is also the option of using images from magazines, brochures, or travel guides that you collected throughout the summer. A cool follow up activity with collaging is to write a story about the collage and describe what the images mean.

Sometimes even the best writers or artists need a chance to think though what they intend to create. Have you ever found it easier to sort your thoughts when you think aloud? An audio journal can be good for this. Using a voice recording device or a built-in recorder on a smartphone or tablet can be a way to get the ball rolling. You could record a conversation between you and your kids reviewing your awesome summer. Or he could make his own audio answering questions that you give to him This can be used to transcribe into a written entry later or even a report if his teacher asks for one.

One more piece of the journaling puzzle to consider is when you will fit this into the day at the end of the summer. You may want to consider establishing a routine that you spend the week before school starts working on your end of summer journal before you head out for the day. This gets kids back into the mode of doing focused work in the morning.

Choose a technique and system that works for your needs. This is about emphasizing the quality of the time you spend together and getting into the back-to-school groove. Have fun with it!

Like this article? Please feel free to use it on your own blog or newsletter. I simply ask that you please include this blurb:
Sara Marchessault is a coach, writer, teacher, and mom who helps busy women use journaling to create more space in their life for being productive without feeling overwhelmed. To learn more about Sara and her work in the world, please visit joyfulbydesign.com or saramarchessault.com.

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