Journals are an excellent way for children to record events, explore their creativity, and work through their emotions and experiences.
Journaling can be as simple as jotting down some words or pictures in a basic notebook.
But some of the best journals for kids are designed specifically to help guide them as they write down their thoughts.
- Interactive journal
- Encourages creativity & self-expression
- Has over 100 pages
- Designated space for doodles
- Quirky writing prompts
- Inspires creativity
- Full-colored journal
- Great for conceptual artists
- Classic & simple
- Full of science facts & infographics
- Encourages self-discovery
- Guided journal experience
- Has various activities and prompts
- Includes inspirational prompts
- Promote self-awareness & reflection
- Includes stickers & postcards
- Teaches social emotional learning
- Comes with combination lock
- Has multi-purpose card slots
Benefits of Journaling for Kids
Some benefits of journaling for kids are:
- Improving writing skills: A journal is a no-pressure place where your child can feel they are in control of the content. They are more likely to willingly write in the journal if they control the content, and the practice will improve their writing skills.
- Exploring feelings: Most of us feel better if we have somewhere we can freely express our emotions, without judgment, and kids are no different. A journal provides your child with an outlet for the thoughts and feelings they may not want to share with anyone, or even speak aloud (1).
- Improving relationships: If you journal with your child, learning more about each other can help bring you closer together.
- Stimulating creativity: A guided journal can take your child’s creative side in directions they might not think to go themselves.
- Helping to develop “soft” skills: If your child struggles with skills such as planning and executing tasks, a journal can help them set a schedule for themselves. It can also keep track of the things they need to do and stay organized.
How Do I Journal With My Child?
If you are going to journal with your child or encourage them to journal by themselves, you can begin by choosing a suitable journal with them. You can also:
- Give them tools: Provide them with pens, pencils, a private place to write, and anything else they may need to begin journaling.
- Support them: Offer advice and support to help them get started, or keep at it.
- Give up control: Don’t tell them exactly what to write. Make suggestions if they need them, but otherwise, keep your ideas to yourself (2).
- Ensure their journal is private: If a child is scared their words or pictures will hurt someone, or get them into trouble, they won’t be honest. That child will need to know their journal is a safe space before they can record things with confidence.
Choosing the Best Journals for Kids
Giving some thought to your journal purchase can make you far happier with the product you choose and the experience. Consider the following points:
Will your child be using their journal to write or draw, or do a bit of both? Lined pages can help keep a child’s writing tidier and more organized. But it is not the best option for those little ones who prefer to doodle, sketch, or otherwise create images.
Travel, nature, scientific, and other similar journals should be strong enough to carry around or use in the outdoors. If your child is recording their thoughts and feelings, they might want to keep them to reread in the future, and this will also require a journal that will last.
Guided journals should be age-appropriate. Give your little one a journal designed for older kids and they may become lost or overwhelmed. That could put them off from journaling, maybe permanently.
But if you buy a small child’s journal for your older one, they may cast it aside because it is too childish.
There is a wide enough range of children’s journals available that you should be able to find something for any taste. A journal that appeals to your child will help encourage them to use it.
Online or Not
Some children don’t enjoy writing by hand, but might be interested in writing on a computer. There are online journals that provide a journaling experience. If you’re considering that option, be sure to review all the privacy and security settings before you allow your child to use one for recording anything personal.
Types of Journals for Kids
So, what types of journals are out there for kids? Here are the ones you can expect to see.
The most common and basic journals provide somewhere for your child to write. Your child could keep a journal in a plain notebook if they will only be writing, but a “proper” journal designed for recording their thoughts and feelings may be more appealing.
Plus, having a journal that looks special or different from notebooks will lessen the chance of it accidentally being thrown away.
Journals with unlined pages are great for children who like to express themselves visually. There are also journals available either with pages that are half blank and half lined, or with some blank and some lined pages.
Log-style journals have dates, or spaces to write the dates, on the pages. This encourages a child to write every or nearly every day.
The latest style of journals for children are interactive or guided. These journals give instructions about what to draw or write. They may also have prompts for activities, such as interviewing a family member, drawing your feelings, or other similar suggestions.
Memory-style journals are set out to help a child record events and experiences. Travel journals may have pages that make it easy to write down what has happened on a vacation or other trip.
Locked journals can be helpful for kids who are unsure about the safety of recording their thoughts. The lock on the journal can provide reassurance that their thoughts are safe and secure from prying eyes.
The Best Kids Journals of 2020
These are the top journals for kids:
1. Wreck This Journal (4 Volume Set)
This set of “Wreck This Journal” volumes is an excellent introduction to journals for kids of all ages.
Each page has an instruction or activity from the basic “Draw a picture of how you feel” to the more unusual “Color this page and take the journal into the shower.”
Specifically designed to be wrecked, volume one was the first of the new style interactive journals that are incredibly popular today.
Once I got past the discomfort of our child destroying the book, I appreciated the way in which it encouraged her to explore her creativity.
2. My Nature Journal Kids’ Nature Log
The 100-plus pages of this journal each have a space for the date at the top of the page. Some pages then have space to record daily temperature and weather observations, to draw pictures, or to write about the day’s discoveries.
There is also plenty of space to stick samples to the pages. Since each page has lots of room, this is an excellent choice for those under 10.
3. 642 Big Things to Write About
We loved the unusual writing prompts in this journal. Alongside the “What would you be famous for?” type of questions, there are others such as “How would you introduce a new color to the world?”
With three prompts on each page, your child won’t be overwhelmed by lots of blank space.
Excellent for reluctant writers, for inspiring creativity, and getting past writer’s block, this is a great pick for children of 8 years and up.
4. Wreck This Journal: Now in Color
Not included in the four-volume pack mentioned above, the latest edition of Wreck This Journal doesn’t disappoint.
Having enjoyed the previous Wreck This Journals, our tween couldn’t wait to get her hands on this 224-page version. There was no prompting required and the only downside was that I was hoping to enjoy this one myself.
Looks like I’ll be buying another copy for myself because my tween isn’t forking this one over to me.
5. This Drawing Pad Belongs to ______!
This journal has thicker paper than you might expect from a kids’ drawing journal at an affordable price point.
The pages stand up to pencils, crayons, and markers so there’s no nasty bleed through to ruin your child’s artwork on the other side of the page. Meanwhile, the prompts are simple enough for young children to enjoy while still being challenging enough for older kids.
6. I Love Science Journal
This journal begins with a short section of basic scientific information, such as the periodic table and simple equations. Then comes the journal itself which is full of prompts for writing, scientific exploration, and self-discovery.
Peppered with inspiring quotes from famous scientists, STEM-centered illustrations, and fabulous scientific infographics, I Love Science is a gift for both reluctant and enthusiastic scientists alike.
7. Grateful Together Journal for Kids and Parents
A parent and child journal is a relatively easy way to bond with your little one. By writing together you not only share an activity, but you will have the opportunity to discover more about each other.
The Grateful Together journal has the same writing prompt at the top of two facing pages — one for the parent and one for the child. You can write in the journal together, or take it in turns. Either way, it can help to build stronger communication between the two of you which can last a lifetime.
8. I Am a Leader 90-Day Journal
If you want to help your child develop self-confidence, determination, and a strong work ethic, this may be the journal for you.
Beginning with writing prompts designed to promote self-awareness, and reflection, the I Am A Leader journal for kids goes on to encourage an exploration of our place in the world, and how our actions impact it. It will help a child learn how to be a leader and what that means.
9. Go! Kids' Interactive Travel Diary and Journal
A combination of travel journal and keepsake, this Go! journal is available in various jacket colors. This allows you to buy a slightly different one for each child to prevent them from squabbling.
Once they have the journal, there are prompts to help them record their journey and experiences. There are also stickers, postcards to send, adventure badges to earn, and much more to keep your little one interested.
10. A6 PU Leather Journal
The majority of locked journals have a small padlock and key to keep your child’s secrets safe. The trouble with these is that the key is easily lost. And even if your child doesn’t lose the key, chances are it will break off in the lock.
That’s where the PU journal comes in. With an easy-to-set combination lock set into the cover, you can say goodbye to the frantic key hunt.
11. Bookworm Journal: A Reading Log for Kids
This sweet little journal for bookworms is more than just a spot to record what you’ve read. There are book suggestions, reading prompts, and more, as well as pages where your child is guided through their book logging entries.
As your child makes their way through writing entries, they’ll get to tear off a corner on each page. It appears as if the bookworm is going right through the book that way. However, with its cute illustrations, this book journal is best suited for those under 10 years.
12. Summer Write and Draw Journal for Kids
This particular journal does not have any writing or other prompts, nor does it have any guided sections. What it does have is over 100 pages, each of which has lines for children learning to write, and a space to draw a picture.
Ideal for new writers, you could also include your own prompts if you are looking for a way to spark your child’s creativity.
13. One Question a Day Three-Year Journal
This journal has a page for each day. At the top of the page is a question, and below the question are three spaces, one for each year.
This novel approach means that, after the first year, your child will be able to read and marvel at the previous year’s answer. It also allows an unenthusiastic writer to jot down a couple of lines, without being overwhelmed by acres of blank pages.
14. The 3-Minute Gratitude Journal for Kids
A gratitude journal is meant to help you focus on the upside to life. The theory being that by recording the positive moments each day, no matter how small, will make us learn to appreciate them more.
Each page has space to record a person who brought joy that day, three things to be grateful for, how you feel, and the best part of the day. This can be a great choice for kids who are a bit more pessimistic.
15. Christian Gratitude Journal for Kids
Similar to the previous gratitude journal, this Christian gratitude journal includes a daily Bible verse on each page. This is alongside the places to record the three things your child thanks the Lord for, blessings of the day, and more.
There are 100 pages providing plenty of space for your child to record their daily thoughts and feelings. And, if you like supporting the U.S. through your purchases, you might like to know the journal is made in the U.S.
The Journaling Opportunity
Giving your child a journal can help them explore their thoughts and feelings and record important events and experiences. It might even set them on a lifelong journey of self-discovery.
Meanwhile, journaling with your child can help bring you closer together, jumpstart your creativity, and maybe even inspire you to experience all manners of new things together.
These best journals for kids might be a great starting point in helping your child develop a love of journaling.