The best way to make a trip memorable for kids is to make it engaging and interactive. Helping them create a travel journal is a great way to allow kids to jot down their thoughts, memories, and experiences throughout the trip.
Our son, Aiden, created his first travel journal on a trip to Florida. I’m pretty sure the journal was originally Mamaw’s (grandma) idea. Since then, he has created one for every trip. Not only does it give him the opportunity to reflect on what happened each day, but also gives him something that he can share with his friends and family back home.
Alternative to Electronic Entertainment
Travelers find themselves spending countless hours on trains, planes, buses, and other forms of transportation. This can be unbearable for children. Since most parents cringe at the thought of having their child stare at a seat-back display or iPad for 12 hours straight, giving them at activity such as journaling is a great alternative.
Suitable for All Ages
People usually think of journaling as an activity for older kids. However, a travel journal can be adapted for younger children as well. Aiden created his first travel journal at 5 years old with the help of his Mamaw. At the end of each day, they would talk about the places they had visited or things they had experienced. She would write down a few quick sentences to summarize the day and Aiden would complete the entry with his own illustrations. Of course, as he has gotten older, he has graduated from simple sketches to full detailed entries.
Selecting a Travel Journal
There are unlimited options when it comes to helping your child create travel journal. There are some really great, inexpensive journals available online such as the My Travel Journal by Lonely Planet which contains various activities and writing prompts. Or you can simply pick up a blank notebook.
If you go with the blank notebook, come up with a list of questions, write them inside the cover, and have them select 2-3 questions each day to answer. Here are some example questions:
- What was your favorite activity today?
- What was the scariest thing you did today?
- Write about something you tried for the first time (new food, new experience).
- What was an interesting fact that you learned?
- What was your least favorite thing you did today? Why?
- What surprised you the most about (Rome, Thailand, etc.)?
The most important thing is to make sure that they take the time every day to write. No matter how busy the trip, there is always downtime whether you are riding a train to your next destination, on a layover, or just hanging out at the hotel after a long day. Not only is this a great educational experience, but it can also be therapeutic and help them wind down at the end of the day (especially before bedtime).
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