Journaling is a great way for kids to practice their literary skills and explore their emotions. Whether you like the idea of creating a gratitude journal or simply using a journal to inspire creativity, these fun prompts are an easy way to get started.

By Fiona Tapp
January 21, 2020
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Credit: Jamie Grill/Getty Images

No matter your age, keeping a journal is a great way to think deeply about your feelings and reflect on your day. It can help you to work through difficult emotions, develop gratitude, set goals, and check in on your emotional well-being. But the benefits of journaling for kids go even further, including offering a chance to improve their literacy and strengthen their reading comprehension, creativity, and spelling skills.

If your child is using their journal as a diary, it's important for them to have an expectation of privacy. But if they are happy for you to read their journal, with some help and support it can be an excellent way to support their developing language skills and encourage them to become reflective in their own self-discovery.

Yanique Chambers, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker in New York State and has over 10 years of experience working with children both in the school and foster care systems. On her blog, Kiddie Matters, she says that journal writing "gives kids a judgment-free space to self-explore and find their creative voice. They can use their journal as a place to dream and set goals. They can also use journal writing to find solutions to internal conflicts and solve problems."

Journals can also be used for specific school subjects to deepen your child's understanding and comprehension in mathematical, historical, or scientific concepts.

The Best Time to Start Journaling

As soon as your child is able to write freely without having to stop and sound out each word, they are ready to journal. Even at a very young age kids can work on very simple journaling skills with a parent to identify emotions and think creatively. Here are a few tips to get started:

  • Encourage kids to write fluently by reminding them that correct spellings are not important when journaling.
  • Provide daily prompts to encourage children to focus on one area to expand on in their writing.
  • Let your child choose their own journal at the store; this is a special workbook and they should feel ownership over it.
  • Many journals made especially for kids have their own questions, prompts, and diagrams printed inside to help develop their creative juices.
  • Make journaling time an exercise in self-care rather than anther homework task by letting your child draw boundaries around when and how much they want to write.

Although journaling has so many educational and emotional benefits, some children find it hard to get started. They may stare at the blank page and feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to begin. That's where journaling prompts come in. Prompts give your child an inspiring place to start, a question to answer, an idea to extend, or a mental picture to complete. Read on for a few of our favorites.

Creative Journal Prompts for Kids

  • Journal topics for kids can become their own prompts. Ask your child "what would you like your new journal to be about?"
  • Start with your child's interests and ask them to expand. You could say, "Describe a day in the life of your favorite book or movie character."

Science Journal Prompts for Kids

Create a science journal for kids by getting your little one to start to address some of the big questions in the natural world:

  • Why is the sky blue?
  • Why did the dinosaurs die?
  • Think about a time when a machine helped you with a problem.
  • If you could invent something, what would it be?
  • Thinking about the invention of the internet, describe how it has changed the world.
  • What can you do to combat climate change?
  • What is the most destructive natural force, and why?

Gratitude Journal Prompts for Kids

Help kids to begin a gratitude journal by asking them what brings them joy with the following prompts:

  • Describe the happiest day of your life.
  • If you could do anything all day tomorrow what would you do?
  • Describe the perfect vacation.
  • Write about what you love about your family.
  • Which room in your house is your favorite, and why?
  • What's your favorite school subject? Why?

Question Journal Prompts for Kids

Asking journal questions for kids is a great way to get them thinking and writing more. Try these journaling question prompts:

  • If you could have any special talent what would it be, and why?
  • What makes people happy?
  • What job would you like when you're an adult?
  • What's your favorite celebration, and what are the things you like most about it?
  • What's your favorite outfit? How does it make you feel?
  • What makes a good friend?
  • Is there ever a time or situation where it could be OK to tell a lie?
  • What makes you smile?
  • What is one thing you would like to get better at?
  • How would you like to spend the perfect day?
  • Describe yourself in 10 words.
  • What age are you most excited to turn, and why?
  • What do you imagine your life will be like as an adult?
  • Who is your hero? Why?

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