13 Best Types of Journals for Kids

Looking at types of journals for kids can be overwhelming, but journals are a fun way to encourage kids to write and create! Whether you’re looking for a journal for tweens, a journal for boys, or journals to work on emotional intelligence, you’ll find it in this list of journals for children of all ages for creative writing, sketching and drawing, or even a nature journal for your walks (and more!).

types of journals for kids with young girl writing in a journal with colored pencils

Types of Journals for Kids To Use

List of Journal Types for Children:

  • General Writing Journal (for creative writing or directed writing prompts as a daily journal for kids)
  • Science Journal for Kids
  • About Me Journal
  • Gratitude Journal for Kids
  • Bullet Journal for Kids
  • Mother-Daughter Journal or Mother-Son Journal
  • Art Journal
  • Nature Journal
  • Prayer Journals for Kids
  • Parent-Child Collaborative Journal
  • Poetry Journals for Kids
  • Drawing Journal or Sketchbook Journal
  • Travel Journal
  • Mindfulness Journal for Kids
  • Smashbook
  • Feelings Journal / Emotions Journal
  • Junk Journal
  • Travel Journal
  • Photo Journal
  • School Journal

(See the full journal list for kids below!)

Different Journals for Kids: Pros and Cons of Each Journal Type

#1: General Writing Journal

A general writing journal is probably the journal you’re most familiar with as a regular journal.

They are often referred to as plain journals for kids because they’re generally journals filled with blank pages, either lined journals or unlined journals. (It’s all about your preference.)

This journal example is used to write or draw or create in any way that your child gets inspired, like for a gratitude journal to list what they’re grateful for, answering a daily writing prompt that they’re given, or even to add special drawings or doodles.

Pros of these types of journals for kids: Versatile for creating, writing, drawing whatever your child wants. 

Cons of these types of journals for kids: Some may find a bunch of blank pages with no direction intimidating.


#2: Nature Journal

A nature journal is a super fun journal that your kids can take with them on nature walks or hikes.

They can write about what they see, make drawings, and even rubbings of things that they find during their nature time.

Pros of these types of journals for kids: Encourages kids to get out and learn about nature!

Cons of these types of journals for kids: If they’re too big, they can be too hard to carry or manage during hikes or nature walks.


#3: Art Journal / Drawing Journal / Sketch Journal / Doodle Journal

An art journal is exactly what you think it is—a place to draw, create art, or just doodle!

An art journal can be really fun and freeing for kids, especially if they:

• Can’t write yet

• Have trouble writing

• Struggle with issues like dysgraphia and dyslexia

• Don’t like to write

• Love creating art or drawings

Pros of these types of journals for kids: Awesome to keep all of a child’s creations in one place.

Cons of these types of journals for kids: Journals need to have a heavier weight of journaling paper, so be sure to pay attention to the weight (in lbs) of the paper before buying a journal for art.


#4: Smash Journal / Junk Journal

A smash journal (also sometimes called a smash journal, a junk journal, or a junque journal) is another journal that’s fun for kids because you can “smash” stuff into it.

It’s an alternative to a scrapbook, but can be used to write things, draw things, or glue fun finds into.

There’s no planning and it’s s a fun catch all book for cool things your kid finds or thinks or gave them inspiration.

Smash journals aren’t necessarily uniform size and colors of pages and are often made of recycled and upcycled materials.

I love these as journals for tweens and journals for teens because they can really get creative with personal styles!

Pros of these types of journals for kids: Fosters a lot of creativity and collects important finds.

Cons of these types of journals for kids: Needs a heavier journal paper. I would suggest starting at 120-140 lb (and up) so that the glue doesn’t bleed through the paper or the items glued onto the paper stay.


#5: Travel Journal / Adventure Journal

A travel journal is a great way to document where your child has traveled, when, and what they found along the way.

You can allot your child one travel journal per trip or they can use one journal for every trip (until the journal pages run out and then they can start a new journal).

Travel journals are also great journals for kids for keepsakes to remember their trips for years to come!

Pros of these types of journals for kids: Allows kids to write their thoughts about the travel and affix memories like souvenirs and photographs. 

Cons of these types of journals for kids: Only encourages journaling during travel, so it’s good as a secondary journal. Use another type as a primary journal to encourage regular journaling.


#6: Photo Journal

Photo journals require that the kids use a camera or a phone.

Then, they take pictures of things that inspire them throughout the day (or on a nature hike or a vacation or for a special event).

You’ll have to print out the pictures for the kids, but after that it’s all on them! They can affix the photographs to the journal and then write or draw about the photographs!

Pros of these types of journals for kids: Great for kids to learn photography and for kids who don’t like to write and draw from scratch.

Cons of these types of journals for kids: Need to have a camera or phone to take pictures and then print out the photos. Also, need to have a heavier weight journaling paper to stand up to glue and photos.


Kids Journal Ideas

#7: School Journal

A school journal is an amazing keepsake of a child’s school year.

With a school journal, your child writes about different milestones throughout the year. It’s especially fun to start a school journal with questions like favorite book, favorite food, favorite color, favorite TV show and more.

Then, at the end of the year, have your child answer the same questions and see how your child has changed.

Don’t forget to include a beginning of the year picture and then an end of the year picture!

Also, add entries and souvenirs of fun events and happenings throughout the year so that they can reflect on life events for years!

Pros of these types of journals for kids: Great milestone book for every school year.

Cons of these types of journals for kids: Better as a supplemental journal since your child won’t be journaling every day.


#8: About Me Journal

About Me journals are fun because your kids get to answer all different questions about themselves (and it ends up being a great keepsake just like the school journal!).

With About Me journals, kids are given directed questions and then space to draw or write (or both) to answer the question.

Pros of these types of journals for kids: Kids get to learn more about themselves and boost emotional intelligence. It’s also a great keepsake.

Cons of these types of journals for kids: You need to come up with directed journaling questions (or buy a journal with the questions).


#9: Science Journals for Kids

If you have a science lover, than a science journal is a must for your at-home learning.

Science journals are used during science projects to document observations and findings.

My daughter uses a science journal during our homeschooling and loves it!

She writes a brief overview of the project. I have her hypothesize what she thinks is going to be the outcome of the project. She documents what happens during the project and then the outcome.

She also draws findings on some of the projects.

My daughter regularly goes back and reads her old project notes, so it reinforces what she learned in the other projects.

Pros of these types of journals for kids: Fun for STEM learning and keeps track of what kids learn during science.

Cons of these types of journals for kids: Use only as a supplemental journal since they are only used during science experiment observation.


#10: Feelings Journal / Emotions Journal

A feelings journal allows a child to write (or draw) about their feelings.

It is especially helpful if a child is having trouble communicating. This helps them get in touch with how they’re feeling for the day.

A feelings journal can be used daily and also for special learning.

For example, on the daily you feelings journal the child may draw a picture of how they’re feeling today (smile face, sad face, anger face, etc.). They would elaborate on their feelings after like, I DREW THIS BECAUSE. . .

Lastly, the child would journal how to best deal with those feelings. (You may need to provide some direction with this and use it more as an interactive/ directed / or guided journal.)

You can also use special topics for a feelings journal like:

• What makes me happy (or sad or angry, etc.)

• Play different kinds of music and then ask the child “How does this music make you feel?”

• Show different pieces of art and ask the child to journal how a specific piece makes them feel.

Pros of these types of journals for kids: Helps kids better understand their feelings and makes you aware of what’s going on with the child.

Cons of these types of journals for kids: May get into sensitive material or topics that need follow-up. 


#11: Parent-Child Journal, Mom and Me Journal, or Pass Back and Forth Journal

With a parent-child journal, one page is reserved for the parent, and the facing page is reserved for the child.

Then, the parent and the child each answer the same questions.

For example:

• My favorite childhood trip was. . .

• My favorite book as a child is . . .

• My best memory of school was when . . .

It’s fun to compare answers and great discussion points for further conversation.

Parent-child journal writing is A LOT of fun and a special way to connect with kids!

Pros of these types of journals for kids: Allows parent and child to work together to learn more about each other.

Cons of these types of journals for kids: Consistency is the key, so you need to make time to both journal!


#12: Storybook Journals

Storybook journals are generally upcycled journals (or recycled journals) that are made from children’s storybooks. And, we probably don’t have to tell you that this journal type is one of our favorites!

(See examples here to understand why!)

You get a fun story—maybe even a beloved childhood favorite book—and then also room to journal, too!

Pros of these types of journals for kids: Encourages storytelling and writing and imaginary play.

Cons of these types of journals for kids: Often fixed journal pages that cannot be refilled. 


#13: Autograph Books

Autograph books are books where your kids get—you guessed it!—autographs!

For example, you may take a Disney autograph book with you and get all the different character autographs.

Or, maybe your kid loves sports and keeps an autograph book to get signatures from the local sports stars.

I know what you’re thinking.

“But, autograph books aren’t really journals! So, why are we talking about them?”

Alright, you got me there, but I encourage you to think outside of the box a little.

I encourage you to have your child get the autographs during an event or visit and then use the pages after to journal about their trip or experience or also use it as a photograph journal for the special event or vacation.

Then, not only will they have autographs, but also the memories of the experience! (Don’t forgot to get pictures of your child getting autographs from the person/characters to include with the autograph journal!)

Pros of these types of journals for kids: Fun to get autographs and then tell the story behind the autograph.

Cons of these types of journals for kids: Use only as a supplemental journal, so you will also need to have a general journal for daily writing.


What are your favorite types of journals for kids?

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