A summer journal is akin to sunshine, lemonade, popsicles, expansive waters, summer reads and… dreaming.
For me, summer journals were and are all about just that — dreaming.
When was the last time you gave yourself license to dream? Or your mind permission to meander?
Life is hectic and demanding — and can be even more so when the kids come home from school. Or even if you don’t have kids, summer has its own schedule that isn’t always laid back and vacation-like. Sometimes it takes a lot of work and planning to create summer fun.
And the last thing any of us want is an added task during this season.
However, anything worth accomplishing, is worth remembering. And while there are many ways to record those memories, history reminds us that the written word survives longest. Photographs are wonderful, souvenirs are fun and quirky, inspiring fond recollection, artifacts can be meaningful — to you. But when you are no longer there to share that story, that memory, it dies. But the written word survives and explains. And journals collect those words, corralling them into a document that can easily be saved and shared.
And in the curating of memories, the writer can find a little piece of themselves. There is a natural flow that occurs between records and dreams. It might have something to do with the scratch of the pen against paper, or how your mind slows to accommodate the written word and allows it to meander along forgotten paths.
For children, of course, it’s an educational exercise. But it’s also so much more than that.
By the time our son could maneuver a crayon, we were journaling in the summers. I have so many journal pages and notebooks filled with his scribbling. I insisted he do it. And after a while, it became his. I insisted not so much to encourage writing and word development, although it did, but also to teach him to dream and imagine. Each one of those scribbles had a story and was a full feature film in his own mind.
To this day, he is an incredibly creative kid who sees the big picture in life and more importantly, can dream an idea, and follow through and make it happen. Some of that is his own unique personality, some of it was the discipline of thinking and innovating… and dreaming. I believe journals help children and adults alike to do just that.
Let this summer be the season you allow yourself time to recreate or resurrect a long-forgotten dream, or dream an entirely new one.
Teach your kids to do the same.
Plan, innovate, imagine. And see where that takes you! I will bet it will take you further than you imagined.
Many Ways to Journal
There are many ways to journal and record memories, ideas, thoughts and goals. In fact, some of the oldest known written journals were written in 10th-century Japanese court. “The first diaries of a consistently introspective nature were written by ladies of the royal Japanese court in the 10th century. These records took the form of pillow books, so called because they were tucked in or under the pillow. Their diaries probed beyond the historical surface of life and extended the written record of daily experience to include inner realms as well – dramas, fantasies, even fiction,” records the New York Times.
There are different mediums that work for different writers. Harness your natural interests and expand from there. If photography is your thing — print them and attach those images to pages in a journal or notebook. If botany is your thing, photograph, sketch or press interesting foliage you find in your travels. If traveling is your passion, document your trips with a dedicated travel journal. If doodling is your relaxation technique, make your journal margins wide and interesting with your illustrations. Find ways to journal.
Summer Journal Ideas
Summer Writing Prompts for Kids
Summer Writing Prompts for Older Kids
Kids Cute Summer Printables
Travel Journals/ Smash Journals
Art or Illustrated Journals
How to Create Summer Journals
Not a traditional journal — but I love to press flowers and foliage and attach them to the pages of my journal. Here is a great DIY tutorial on how to make your own flower press.