Your child starts a journal with great enthusiasm, has all the
intentions in the world of keeping at it, and, months later,
you find the journal laying on her bookshelf covered in dust.
Sound familiar? Creative Journaling makes the journal
writing process more enjoyable, fun and creative and can
help you overcome some of the barriers that may be
keeping your child from consistent–maybe even
I believe that the number one barrier to regular journaling by
kids is their preconceived notion of how to journal. When
presenting workshops on Creative Journaling for Girls, I
often begin by asking the participants to describe to me
what comes to mind when they envision themselves writing
in a journal. The typical and common response I receive to
my question goes something like this, “I sit and write about
what happened to me that day.” Although this is an apt
description of journal writing, it does not sound particularly
fun or enjoyable. Which is why, I believe, so many diaries
and journals languish on bookshelves and what, in my
opinion, stops a child from choosing journal writing as a
regular and consistent activity.
Integrating creativity with journal writing can transform
journaling from a mundane activity to a wildly enjoyable and
fun one. The preconceived notion of journaling held by most
girls is strong, however, and initially they hesitate when
encouraged to get creative with their journals. But once it
clicks with them that they can freely express their thoughts
using both words and creativity their eyes light up! I have
really hooked girls’ interest in creative journaling when I
offer them spangles, foam cut-outs, colorful feathers and
glue to further embellish their journals. It’s not long before
they are laughing, giggling, creating, and journal writing, and
what a glorious site it is. Huge smiles emerge on their
faces and their eyes sparkle and shine with joy as they
enjoy their creative journaling experience.
To help guide you and your child down the path of creative
journaling I’ve listed some tips below. Try them out, add
your own, or make up new ones and remember that there
are infinite ways for you and your child to dress up a journal
and integrate creative expression into your journals.
Creative Journaling Tips:
1. Journal Share – Make the journal experience interactive
rather than secretive and solitary. Take a new approach to
journal writing and declare that dairies are for secrets and
journals are now for celebrating and sharing. This will allow
you to play an active part in helping your child to complete
2. Brighten Journals with Color – Toss those pens and
pencils aside and use markers, crayons and colored
pencils instead. You will be amazed at how beautiful and
joyful a journal becomes simply by adding color!
3. Summarize. Summarize. Summarize – There is no need
to write page after page in a journal. A few words that
summarize a day, or how you feel, or a few bulleted points
that highlight the day’s events is sufficient. Keep it short and
simple and to the point by writing less than 10, 20 or 30
words, depending on your time constraints.
4. Write One Word – If you and your child have had a long
day and do not have much time or energy left over for journal
writing, simply choose one word that encapsulates the day
and write that word across the entire page in big bold
letters. Upon review at a later date you will be surprised
how much can be recalled from this single word!
5. Make It Sparkle and Shine – Use stickers, spangles, glue,
magazine cutouts, craft supplies (or craft leftovers from
Mom’s craft drawers). Get creative but keep it simple; this
need not be a major production.
6. No Such Thing as Right or Wrong – Lastly, and most
importantly, emphasize that there are no right or wrong
answers while journaling. Journal writing should be
freeing, not limiting, so give your child permission to break
the rules she is required to follow in school (spelling,
grammar…) so that she may fully and creatively express
When journal writing becomes a creative adventure full of
choices and options journals cease to languish on
bookshelves and girls discover a positive and powerful tool
of self-expression. Moreover, the completed creative
journals become cherished keepsakes that can be used as
tools of growth and reflection or as records of achievement
and change. Keep it simple, get creative, but most of all
remember to make the journal writing process enjoyable
and fun for you and your child!
Jill Schoenberg Girma is the author of Journal Buddies: A Girls Journal for Sharing and Celebrating Magnificence. She was born and raised in St. Cloud, Minnesota, attended the University of Minnesota, and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Youth Studies and Sociology. Her professional experience includes more than six years of working directly with young peoplehelping Zinnia Creative Journal them to understand and develop their self-esteem, creative talents and life-skills.