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Looking for something new to do this summer?  Summer journaling about all of your summer activities might be just the thing for you and your children.  Not only does keeping a journal provide you and your children with something productive, constructive, and FUN to do this summer, it also provides a tangible, lasting way to remember your time together.

I have 3 children still being homeschooled, and they all journal, including my son.  Even those who don’t normally enjoy writing very much, like my son, can enjoy jotting down a short description of each day’s activity, knowing that it will be a keepsake for years to come.  I have encouraged my children in this way, to see their journals as precious things that they will enjoy revisiting at some point down the road, when they are older.

Your kids can start their journals with a list of things they hope to do over summer vacation (#1 on the 101 Things To Do This Summer list).   Parents can sit down and brainstorm with their children about new things they would like to learn about, places they might want to visit, recipes they might want to try, etc.  You can find a list of hobbies HERE .   I printed a copy of this list off for each of my children and asked them to try and find at least a couple of new things to learn about or try.

Summer doesn’t have to be the same old routine every year.  These days there are virtually unlimited resources with which to learn new things or attain ideas for things to do and places to go.  Most cities have many free summer activities that we can participate in with our children or that our children can participate in on their own.

If you have the resources to attend venues or activities that have a fee or admission cost, you have almost more options than one family can fit into a summer.   Even if you seldom leave the house, you and your children can find many new things to do and try. HERE is a website that has lists of games and activities to try at home.

After you make these memories with your children, encourage them to write in their summer journals as much as they can remember about the outing or activity.  If they have a way to take and print pictures, they can have a visual reminder as well.  Let this be something fun that doesn’t necessarily have to be spell-checked and corrected.  They will be less likely to enjoy it and may not even want to chronicle their summer vacations if we make it too much like school.  The important thing is that the memories are being recorded for future enjoyment.

Ideas for types of journals and ways to decorate them are only limited by you and your children’s imaginations.  I have a nice leather journal purchased from our local store.  My children have everything from spiral notebooks to small hard-backed journals from the dollar store.  You can even use a scrapbook or a ring-binder notebook with loose-leaf paper.   Another idea for a journal is a ring-binder photo book with plastic slots for pictures.  Each slot can hold an index card describing each activity, recipe or outing, or it can hold a photo of the activity.

Kids can leave their journals undecorated if they prefer, or if your children are particularly crafty, they can be decorated with markers, crayons, glitter, buttons, stickers, or craft paint.   Some of the most fun I had as a child was decorating my possessions or projects, whether it was my folders from school or just a doodle notebook at home.  The more enthusiastic we are about this summer project, the more our children will catch the spirit and want to join in.

If they leave a page at the front blank when they first start their journals, they can go back at the end of summer and add a table of contents if they wish.  Then they can number their pages and easily find certain memories when they want.   Alternately, they can add an index at the end of their journals with corresponding page numbers.  Neither of these ideas is hard to do, and even younger children can be guided into adding one if they want.

Boredom is one of things that we always try to avoid around our house.  If the kids cannot come up with something fun and/or constructive that they want to do, we find something for them to do.  Encourage your children to branch out and seek new and fun things to do.

Be willing to buy or round up raw materials for them to work with, whatever the project may be.  Help them to look up information, recipes, rules for new games, sports, or fun books to read.  Set aside whatever time you can to take them to the activities or places around your town that have interesting, new things to do or look at.

Remember before each summer activity to tell your children to observe and remember as much as they can in order to journal about it when they get home.  They can even take their journals with them if feasible, or they can be left in the vehicle to write in on the way home.   Take photos for them, or if they are old enough, remind them to chronicle the outing with pictures themselves.

Journaling is a summer activity that provides a lifetime of memories.  It is something that can be done each summer while they are still at home.  My children already treasure their journals, and I’m sure yours will too!

Debbie Newman:

I am a  homeschooling veteran with four children.  My hobbies include blogging, gardening, herbs, and reading.  We live on a mini-homestead in the country, and have chickens, ducks, geese, and two very spoiled herding dogs.  You can find me on facebook or my blog servingyhwh.blogspot.com.

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