Journal Topic Projects to keep Preteens Busy and Interested during the Idle Summer Days

Preteens or “tweens” are the challenging years in a child’s life (as well as for the parents). The hormones are raging as emotional and physical changes are taking place. Children need to have an outlet for their feelings. A journal is a place where a preteen can ask questions and express their emotions. A journal must be private and a tween needs to know he or she is safe writing in it. The Pew Research Institute surveyed students and writing. The finding showed that children are motivated to write when they are given topics that interest them.

During the school year, there are many things that serve as a focal subject for a preteen to write about. Many teachers encourage students to keep journals by posting a prompt at the beginning or ending of class time. Most of the time, the prompt focuses on a subject that the teacher wants the students to learn.

In the summer, it is more difficult for a child to write without a prompt. Plus, during the summer, children do not want to feel like they “have to write”. A fun writing journal takes away the stigma of making it a chore. Let them design their own journals by using stickers, pictures, drawings. Take them to the store to choose what type of notebook they want to use. Let them choose writing tools, stickers, and magazines they may want to use to cut out pictures.

Everyone, children and adults, have a “learning style”. The following are brief definitions of learning styles that help a parent to encourage their preteen to keep a fun journal.

Visual (spatial) learning style uses images, pictures, colors, and maps to organize information.

Physical (kinesthetic) learning style uses textures, crayons, markers, and other tools to write.

Auditory (hearing) learning style uses rhymes, rhythms and listens to conversations.

The following are journal projects that incorporate all the learning styles and allow the child to approach it in their own unique way. Each one of these projects adapt to the learning style by using the following format: Illustrate and write, use different colored writing tools for each day. Discuss, before writing, on how each person perceived the event or place.

Travel journal: On a family vacation, journal about each day. Illustrate and write, use different colored writing tools for each day. Discuss, before writing, on how each person perceived the event or place.

Art journal: Visit local museums. Write about the style of art. Go to the library and learn about an artist and write a few facts about him or her.

Gaming secrets: For those tweens who are into video games, they can write ways to win certain games.

Field notes: Nature walks in which the tween picks flowers and leaves. Paste in the journal and describe them.

Photo journal: A picture a day, which is pasted into the journal and description of the subject.

Food critic: When eating out, the child can write a review of the food. When eating at home, can write a review of the food. With this project, the preteen can draw pictures of the different foods.

Every day discuss with your tween what he or she wrote and observed. Showing an interest in what a child is interested in helps keep him or her interested to continue with writing.

Children learn by observing. This may be an ideal time for a parent to begin journal writing. Journal writings are thoughts and observations. It provides tools for communication and writing practice.