In five and a half weeks we are embarking on a holiday over to Europe and stopping in Singapore on our way home to Australia. One of the many pleasures with the organisation of such a trip is to create a travel journal. On most of our travels I have produced a journal for each of my children that is age appropriate so I thought I would share with you the journals over the years.
There are many reasons why I think a travel journal for children is important. Firstly it gives them a chance to reflect on their experiences each day and offers an educational opportunity. This then becomes a lovely memento that they can share with their friends and extended family when they arrive home. I also found that it was an excellent way to keep them entertained (when they were younger) whilst we were in a restaurant or trying to have a quiet drink in our hotel room after a busy day sight seeing. The journal can be fun and educational at the same time.
In the early years I would buy a large scrapbook and stick a title page on the front with the place names and the dates we would be visiting. I would cover the front and back with contact so it would be better protected from dirt or small amounts of liquid.
Next I printed off free colouring-in sheets based around some of the activities we would be doing and placed them in the back of the scrapbook. I also purchased stickers and other embellishments so my children could paste them into the book. What child doesn’t love to glue things onto paper! My daughter’s first scrapbook at the age of four was mainly drawings and we would write underneath how she described the picture. If we were in a restaurant we would pull out a colouring-in sheet related to that days activity and stick it into the book when completed. It was also a lovely way to store postcards and other memorabilia that she collected.
A few years later when both my children were able to read and write I decided to make the journal myself from card and printer paper. I printed off lots of different activities, for example, games to play, word searches, colouring-in pages and quizzes. I tried to tie as many of the activities into what we were going to see and experience. A few examples were the ‘Chinese food match up’, ‘Dubai sights’ and ‘Jonker walk’.
I also added in some blank and lined pages for my children to explore their own creativity.
Once I had all the pages in order I stapled them together as close to the left hand edge as possible. I then found a piece of coloured card slightly wider than A4 and I wrapped it around the front of the book and attached it with double sided sticky tape. The image below shows how it looked when finished.
To protect the journal during our travels I placed it in an A4 sheet protector. My children loved filling in this journal and it gave them something to do at the end of each day when we were too exhausted to entertain them!
My latest creation is my best to date (well in my opinion anyway!). I managed to finish these in time to give to my children as part of their christmas gift (along with lots of other travel related items for our trip in June).
Here is a list of the supplies I used to create these journals:
- A5 spiral bound notepad
- Coloured and patterned paper
- Double sided sticky tape
I used my computer and printer to research and print off pages for the journal.
It was handy that I knew most of our itinerary for this upcoming trip so I could coordinate the pages to suit. For some of the sections where I was unsure of our plans I kept the pages neutral.
I wanted to create pages that didn’t require too much writing and would showcase my children’s creativity. I thought it was important to put as much information and details about our trip so that it could be looked at before we leave. The pages in the above picture were easy to produce using a printout of our flight details with a small lined area for writing and a page with a sleeve to keep the boarding passes. The sleeve was made by attaching doubled sided sticky tape around the side and bottom edges of the yellow patterned paper.
My children love having their own copy of maps and by placing them their journal they won’t get lost or damaged and are always at hand. The information provides an educational experience and gives your child a better understanding of the place before they get there.
The above pictures show how you can embellish a page instead of leaving it blank and still allow your child to use their creativity.
Games, quizzes and activities are an excellent way to amuse your child whilst travelling and what better way than to add them to their travel journal. We love playing the alphabet game as it can be played anywhere so why not place it next to the page corresponding to a train journey. A couple of pages about the local food is also a fun activity, it not only teaches your child about the local cuisine but it may encourage them to try new flavours. I also like to include treasure hunts or search and find activities. The picture above has paintings from the National Art Gallery in London, once my children see the painting they can record the name of the artist and the painting. It’s then a great memento of the time spent at the gallery.
I made sure that some pages were designed to store tickets and other memorabilia that gets collected along the way. I found clear pockets (usually used for selling cards) could be stuck to the page using clear double side sticky tape. I used letter stickers to spell the word tickets. I also wanted to leave blank pages at the back of the journal (I left 10 pages blank) for photos, scribbles or anything else my children would want to record.
The final addition was to make a bookmark and of course I wanted it to have a travel quote on it! By cutting part of the heart out it can slot over the page.
I have to admit that I had so much fun and I learnt so much whilst creating these journals. My children have read them several times already and it has added to the excitement of the trip.
I hope that the pictures will give you some inspiration and help you to create a lovely travel journal for yourself or your child.