The best kids’ journal

From bestreviews.com
By
Catherine Bushen
BestReviews

Journaling is a great way to hone kids' writing skills and tap into their creative side. It can also help them understand their emotions and become more self-aware.

Journaling is a fantastic way to encourage children to record experiences and explore their creative side. As well as a relaxing, screen-free hobby, journaling also helps youngsters improve their writing skills, express their feelings and develop mindfulness.

Journals come in all shapes and sizes for different age groups and purposes. One of our top picks, the SmitCo Emoji Journal Set, is an excellent choice for kids who want privacy, because it comes with an invisible-ink pen.

What to know before you buy a kids’ journal

How can journaling benefit a child?

A journal is a nonjudgmental, safe place for kids to express themselves. It gives youngsters a chance to reflect, process new emotions and begin to understand changes in their lives. On top of all this, it fosters creativity and helps to develop storytelling skills.

Type

The type of journal your child intends to keep will have a huge impact on the style of book you need to buy.

Writing journal: This type of diary records feelings, emotions and events. Children can choose to write daily, weekly or whenever they feel like they have something to say. Medium or large books with lines are well suited for this style of journaling.

Drawing journal: For kids who like to express themselves through art, a drawing journal might be more suitable than a writing one. Ideal for this type of journaling are blank pages or a mixture of blank and lined pages.

Log journal: Log journals are perfect for keeping simple records. Children can document the animals they see in a nature diary or the places they visit in a travel diary. These also provide an effective way for a child to jot down what they eat for dietary purposes. Small books work well for log journals because they’re easy to carry around.

Guided journal: This kind of journal has prompts to encourage children to write about specific topics, such as fears, moods or dreams. Some diaries in this category have starter sentences to give structure to each entry. They are well suited to young children.

Age appropriateness

To encourage the best use of a journal, it’s important to choose one that’s suited to a child’s age. A book designed for preteens probably won’t be stimulating enough for a 6-year-old. On the other hand, older kids generally don’t want anything too childish.

Books intended for young children usually have more generously spaced lines to accommodate large handwriting. Journals for preteens often include an invisible-ink pen or a lock for privacy.

Kids’ journal features

Lined vs. blank pages

The majority of kids’ journals have ruled lines to help keep the user’s writing neat. Some also feature a line for the date at the top of the page. However, if you have a budding artist in the household, a book with blank pages allows them to be more creative with the layout.

Journal sizes

Most journals are about half the size of a standard sheet of A4 paper (letter size). They’re small enough to carry around in a school backpack yet still have plenty of space for writing. Pocket-size books are ideal for logging brief notes or observations on the go. Large journals are a popular choice for those who intend to write at home. The biggest books are usually the size of a school notebook, which is handy for prolific diarists.

Paper quality

For those who like to draw or sketch, it’s wise to pick a journal with good-quality paper. This will help ensure that felt-tip pens, markers and other drawing implements won’t bleed through to the next page.

A journal with a lock

Some journals, especially those designed for older kids, come with a lock. A lockable journal can help a child feel safer about writing a diary. It gives them the confidence to be totally open and free with their thoughts.

Kids’ journal cost

For a decent journal with good-quality paper, you can expect to spend at least $10. If you increase your budget to around $20 or more, you can get a hardcover journal with a lock, writing implements and other accessories.

Kids’ journal FAQ

Is it OK to read my child’s journal?

A. In most cases, parents shouldn’t read their child’s journal without permission. A journal is a safe space for kids to express themselves, and you’re violating their trust if you read it. An exception to this rule is if you have concerns about a child’s safety or well-being.

What should my child write about in their journal?

A. Journaling isn’t an exact science, and there are no rules or restrictions. Each child can write about whatever they feel is important. Typically, this might include friends, family, events, emotions, dreams or concerns. If your child is stuck for ideas, try to suggest something that interests them. Some common themes are nature, travel, food, books and movies.

Which kids’ journal should I get?

Best of the best kids’ journal

SmitCo Emoji Writing Journal Set: available at Amazon

Our take: This is an ideal gift set for kids or preteens.

What we like: This set contains stickers for personalization, an invisible-ink pen for privacy and a clip-on light.

What we dislike: It doesn’t have a lock.

Best bang for your buck kids’ journal set

Project MC2 Light-Up Diary: available at Amazon

Our take: This is a reasonably priced option for those who want to keep their secrets hidden away.

What we like: Youngsters can record their thoughts in confidence using a black-light pen. When they have finished writing, they can secure the diary with a padlock.

What we dislike: It isn’t as sturdy as higher-priced alternatives.

Honorable mention kids’ journal set

The Noble Collection Harry Potter Journal Set: available at Amazon

Our take: Fans of this wizarding franchise will love this Gryffindor-themed diary.

What we like: This well-made journal is beautifully crafted. Each of the 240 pages features the house crest at the top.

What we dislike: It’s somewhat expensive.

Catherine Bushen is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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