What You Need:
- Empty notebook with unlined paper (try to avoid spiral bindings or perforated pages; a hardcover notebook with a sewn binding will hold up better during the trip)
- Writing utensils such as a pen, pencil, and an eraser
- Paint, stickers, and other materials for decorating
- Flat souvenirs such as postcards (optional)
- Computer printout map of your trip route (optional)
What You Do:
- Before you leave home, encourage your child to personalize the outside of the notebook. He could write his name on the cover, as well as the dates and destination of the trip. He may also want to draw or paint a picture on the cover or add decorations like stickers.
- Create and print an online map of the route you'll be traveling, whether by car or by plane. Help him glue the map to the inside cover of his travel journal and invite him to refer to it during the journey.
- Throughout the trip, encourage him to get out his travel journal and write in it. If he can't think of anything to write, give him a few ideas:
- Keep a daily journal, in words and pictures, of the events of the trip. He can include descriptions of the places you visit, the people you meet, and how he feels about them.
- Use the journal as a scrapbook, pasting postcards, brochures, and other items in it that he picks up along the way.
- Record observations of nature. He could make a list of the birds and animals he sees and write down questions about them so he'll remember to look up the answers when he gets home. He can also make quick sketches of plants, animals, or the landscape.
- Write stories and poems inspired by the trip. If he has trouble getting started, ask questions. What does he think it would be like to live in the place you're visiting? If the plants, animals, and objects along the route could talk, what might they say?
The possibilities are endless, but no matter what your child chooses to do with his travel journal, by the end he'll have a personal and inexpensive souvenir that will help him remember his trip for years to come.