Beating Summer Boredom: Journaling

by Cate on June 25, 2009

Nick's Journal

In an effort to beat summer boredom, I put together a now-bulging folder filled with craft ideas, activities and even a little bit of work to keep Nick entertained for the next few months.  I promised him it would be a mix of both fun and educational things, this way we’re working all sides of his little noggin. And for me, I kept an eye on doing things that are inexpensive but that hold his interest. When it comes to entertaining kids, you don’t need to break the bank to do it. This notebook is case in point.

Some fifteen years ago, I befriended a woman who happened to mention at the time that she had kept journals from when she was 12 to present day (and the time, we were in our mid-20s), and still had them. I was in awe, and I have to admit, just a little jealous. She had a giant lidded basket in her living room filled with all the different journals, some with very neat, adult handwriting and serious topics, and many with words that dotted i’s with hearts and that were filled with fanciful lettering. Oh how I wished I had thought of that and could go back. My childhood memories are spotty at best (though do come back in full force every now and then to surprise me), and I would have loved to have a record of everything. So this summer, I thought it would be a perfect time to get Nick started.

After a trip to Michael’s, I had a few colorful notebooks for the whopping price of a dollar each. I rummaged in our craft and scrapbook boxes and came up with the stickers for the front and ribbons to tie around the spine. We started this journal on the first day of his summer vacation, and he writes in it every morning, recounting the day before. While it will serve as a wonderful memento for him to look back on and reminiscence, there are also sneaky lessons in there too. He is flexing his spelling muscles and penmanship skills without it having to feel like work.

He has totally gotten into it and goes off to write every morning, completely on his own. What a great thing for him to look back on years from now, and the present day rewards are already showing themselves.  During the school year, I was always after him to slow down with his writing because he’s always in a hurry to finish his homework and his handwriting was sloppy at best.  But now?  Now his handwriting is neat as a pin, and fitting on much smaller lines than the homework papers allowed.  Love it!  Love it, love it, love it.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah Caron June 25, 2009 at 9:30 pm

Wow, what an awesome idea! That is a fantastic sneaky way of keeping the brain moving all summer. And beautiful journal!

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Claire June 25, 2009 at 9:52 pm

This will be so much fun for him many years down the road! I was never good at keeping journals but it’s funny when I find writing assignments from my elementary school days!

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Joanne June 26, 2009 at 8:38 am

This is a great idea! Sounds like you guys have a great summer ahead of you.

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Susan June 26, 2009 at 11:04 am

Such a pretty notebook – makes me want to make one for myself!

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Amanda Nicole June 26, 2009 at 11:25 am

What a cute idea! I wrote in journals all through high school and for a few years after. I may go through them again when I’m brave enough to trudge through all that angst ;)

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Amanda June 26, 2009 at 12:12 pm

I wrote in journals from 6th grade through all of high school and a small bit of college. At the time, I had these grand visions of being the next Anne Frank, or at the very least, passing them on to my future daughter. Um….not so much. The last time I started to read thru the “early years” I was cringing with embarrassment. SOOOO awful. Part of me wants to burn them, for fear that someday someone else will read them.

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Natasha - 5 Star Foodie June 26, 2009 at 12:24 pm

Journaling is so much fun for kids! My daughter has been doing an online diary since she was 3 where she dictates to me what she wants to write. She just did her first hand written story (with lots of help on spelling from me).

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purejoy June 26, 2009 at 3:34 pm

what a great idea. now i wish i had little uns to inspire over the summer!

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Jackie @ PhamFatale.com June 26, 2009 at 7:23 pm

I smiled when I read the title. The kids are on a summer break and they ARE bored. I will definitely get inspired by your post today

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Heather June 26, 2009 at 10:04 pm

how adorable!! i would totally journal in a book that cute!

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Nerissa June 27, 2009 at 12:04 pm

It is a great idea. Sometimes I think that a journal can force to you try new things out so you have something to write about.

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sara June 27, 2009 at 10:23 pm

you are such a good mom, they are lucky to have you :)

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Cate June 27, 2009 at 10:46 pm

Sara – aw, thank you. Now’s a really good time to hear that. :)

Nerissa – an interesting way of looking at it, but totally makes sense. :)

Heather – it’s all about the cuteness factor! Although since it’s for Nick, I had to tone it down a bit. ;)

Jackie – 8 am on his first day of summer break, I was greeted with “Mom, what can I dooooooooo?” I keep trying to explain exactly how much stuff/opportunities he has versus when we grew up, but it usually falls on deaf ears. ;) Determined to beat that problem this summer, even if it kills me. :)

Purejoy – so do it for yourself! :)

Natasha – that’s awesome! And what a fun thing for her to look back on.

Amanda – definitely no interest in reliving some earlier school days, that’s for sure, but at least you can look back and laugh about it a little. ;)

Amanda Nicole – I hear you! You couldn’t pay me to go through junior high or high school again!

Joanne – I’m hoping so!

Susan – no time like the present. ;)

Sarah – I’m all about the sneaky learning. :)

Claire – Exactly! Every now and then, my mom finds some old homework or letter or something of mine and it’s fun to look back on what was going through my mind then.

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Alisa@Foodista June 28, 2009 at 8:01 am

My mom motivated me to write and keep a journal.I still have my highschool journals and I had to laugh at the things that I wrote back then. Now that I blog, I keep a yearly journal instead for my son (he is now 10 years old). Writing about how much I love him and all the memorable events of the year that passed. I hope to give it to him someday when he gets married so he’ll pass on this tradition to his children too.

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Patsy June 29, 2009 at 12:51 pm

My oldest son’s teacher recommended having the kids keep journals over the summer as well. I need to get him a book to do it still, along with the other “learning” activities I hope to get both of them to do so that they go back in September ready to get to work again.

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