Journaling for Littles

Did you know that children can start journaling long before they learn to read or write? Learn how to set kids up for this habit from an early age.

journaling for littles

I think that providing a space for children to journal is one of the easiest ways to promote literacy in early childhood education! This is something my mother provided for me as a child, and it’s an activity my children enjoy from a very young age! All that is needed is a book – it can have lines, or blank pages. My children “write” (as two-year-old Lily is doing above), and draw – often narrating while they draw, as four-your-old Johnny is doing below:

promoting literacy: journaling for littles

These journals also make for wonderful childhood memories! I have my first journal, with a few entries my mother wrote in, then pages of scribbles, drawing, and even early written entries! It’s a fantastic record of my own early childhood! I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that I find writing fairly intuitive as an adult – as well as the fact that I have kept a journal every day since the end of October, 2003 – and quite frequently leading up until then!

Try this Question a Day Journal for kids who want more structure for their journaling:

Do you have a journal from your childhood? Do you keep a journal now?

MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

20 thoughts on “Journaling for Littles”

  1. I’m really glad you’ve been keeping a journal every day, sweetie! It is fun to read what we were doing back then. I love the pictures of the kids working on their journals.

  2. Fantastic! I don’t have a journal from my childhood. I kept one after I graduating for a few years. Now I write in one every once in a while but it’s not too consistent.

  3. Heather@Creative Family Moments

    Yes! Journals are the best! My mom encouraged me to keep a scrapbook (basically book with my notes and pics – not like it is today). I treasure it. My kids know that I can never have enough notebooks… and now they have their own collection going.

  4. Bear loves using his “field journal”. we got the idea from sheryl over at teaching 2 and 3 year olds and have done it since! what nice memories they will bring when our kiddos are older and can look through them!

  5. We have always kept scrapbooks as children – not scrapbooking but paper journals where we have written, stuck in tickets, pressed flowers, leaves, photo’s etc… from our days. At the moment we have my nephew visiting from the USA and both J and him are keeping a journal/book of their time together. We have a spring journal and will soon be moving onto a summer journal as well.

    1. What a wonderful memory J and his cousin will have of their time together! I love your idea of seasonal journals, also!

  6. My blog is the closest thing to a journal I have. I’m just horrid at it, partially because I dislike writing things out by hand.

    1. My journal has been completely digital since I started doing it every day (which is why it’s gotten written every day). Blogs make great journals, though, I think!

  7. i have kept a journal since I was eight years old. I still have them all too. Not only is this a great literacy activity, but the journals make a fantastic keepsake too! What a great preservation of time for your children :)

  8. Elisa | blissfulE

    I used to journal on paper, and I do have some very early journals, but it had not occurred to me to enable my kids to journal! I find the practice immensely helpful in clearing my head and helping me make better decisions, speak more clearly, and pray. Nowadays my blog is the closest thing I have to a journal.

    I’m fascinated that you keep a digital journal (in addition to your blog) – hadn’t thought of that, either, but if I had, it would have made it so I could have kept journalling even when I find it difficult to write on paper (eg since Nikki was born). Do you have any tips for how to organise a private digital journal? Do you use a word-processing program?

    1. I write my journal in xml, which is pretty geeky of me, but not hard once you learn the basic code terms. I write it in notepad and upload it to a password-protected website. The nice thing about that format is that it makes it easy to then publish it – Mike gave me the first five years bound into a book as a gift for Christmas back in 2008 :)

      I can give you more details if you are interested – just email me :)

  9. I was a journal writer in my childhood, but unfortunately I didn’t keep them when we came over here. I have a journal available for Anna, but she is not really interested to write and draw in it, for some reason it feels more like work for her. Maybe if we start journaling together, it might change…

    1. I think most of my childhood journal entries were done on Sunday afternoons when my mom sat us all down to write together :)

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