The summer would have been a time that many of us travelled with our children and showed them new places, new people and new things. It would have been accompanied by oohs and aahs at the time we did it - whether it was a tiger in Ranthambor or India Gate in New Delhi. However, memories can quickly fade away as we all get into the routine of everyday life in the new school year. A great way to preserve memories is to have children create a travel journal. Here are some tips.
What you need
- Get a good big notebook
- Get child-safe scissors, and glue
- Crayons, color pencils etc.,
- Photos from your trip
- Access to old newspapers and magazines.
- A computer and printer would be optional.
Why write a travel journal?
Discuss with your children about why a journal would be nice. It will be fun. It will be simple. It can be shared with the rest of the family and friends. It can keep the great memories for future years. It will not just be writing.
Identify the trip's highlights
Soon after your trip, sit down with your children and casually discuss what they saw during their travel, what places they liked best, funny incidents, what they hated etc., Get this done in one session and make notes for yourself. Your children will work on the journal for many days, so your notes will serve as a reminder for them.
Ideally, if you took a relaxed trip, you can do this every day of your trip. So you can update the journal "live", so to speak.
Do a little bit each day - write, draw, color, paste
Each day, let your children pick one item they would like to record in their journal. It could be a trip to a colourful market, a zoo, an old relative they liked etc., This is where your notes can come in handy.
Ask them what they want to write. Let them say what they want to write and then write it. Sometimes, you may have to prompt them or remind them. Let the children make the choices about which part of the trip they want to highlight. For example, you may think it is important to write that they saw lions, while the children may think the monkey stealing food was more fun.
Do not make the children write too much for their age. For a child of 4 years, "I went to the Nagarhole park. We got on a bus to go inside the forest. We saw elephants, bison and deer" maybe enough for each day. While a child of 10 may write a lot more than that.
But writing is not the only part. They can draw pictures about the highlighted activity. Or they can paste the photos you took of them. If you do not have photos, see if you can sit with them on the computer and print out some pictures that they select. Else, scan through old newspapers and magazines to find pictures that match what they want to say. Mixing up the journal will keep it interesting and fun to create and to read.
Keep it fun
The idea of writing a journal is so the children and you can look back at it any time and remember the fun you had. The journal should be colourful and fun to read even in the future. Children will often show it to those around them and it is more fun to explain if there are a lot of pictures and drawings than just words.
Keep the activity relaxed. Some days children may write more, some days less. Just go with the flow. Try to mix the writing activities with the drawing, sticking, coloring activities so that it does not feel monotonous.
Remember to store it away safely
Remember to put the journal away safely after the initial novelty has worn off. Before you go on your next trip, you can browse through your older journals and see how much fun you had.