Creative Writing Journal
Who doesn't love those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer? As parents, we welcome this time of year when our kids can finally kick back, relax, and just be kids – play outdoors, while away the days, break out of the routine of school and just let the days unfold. We also think about all the progress our young scholars have made throughout the last school year – and wonder how much of the knowledge and new learning they’ll retain. One motivating way to enhance what kids experience during the summer while reinforcing and applying previous learning is by taking a little time to reflect, in writing, on all summer has to offer.
This summer journal is designed to be a stimulating, creative, fun vehicle that will empower children, not only to chronicle their best days and experiences but to look at and record even the most ordinary events in extraordinary ways – in other words, to “see with author’s eyes”. In it, they’ll be reminded how to capture vivid little slices of life using the writing skills they’ve practiced throughout the school year. Each activity includes an optional summer art project to enhance the writing and further preserve their summer musings.
In addition to the kid-friendly suggestions/instructions in the Summer Musings journal, we include a Parent Tips Sheet to help you gently guide, encourage, and inspire your young summer author. Children will participate by writing in their own “Summer Musings Journal” provided – a wonderful summer resource that can become a treasured keepsake in the future. Directions and suggestions precede each writing activity. Simply look over the directions, offer your child some casual guidance, or let your young author go to it on his/her own! The good news is, each writing activity can be approached, again and again, every time the young author has a new summer experience! For example – the writing activity titled “Summer Scene” can be used every time the young author visits a new summer place – the seashore, forest, canyon, lake, etc! For added fun, provide your child with a zippered plastic bag that will hold their journal and art supplies: safety scissors, glue stick, markers, crayons, colored pencils. Take this “Author’s Kit” along on vacation and family outings.
The Summer Musings Journal will help your child to:
- Collect mementos to scrapbook along with their writing.
- Provide a small history of the interesting person they are today.
- Impress future generations with their insights and writing ability.
- Create a treasure of a book for reminiscing
- Add original artwork to enhance their writing.
- Allow them to relive their summer days all year round!
Have your child carry their Summer Musings Journal with them whenever you’re headed out for some summer fun.
See below for a variety of writing prompts for the Summer Musings Journal.
One rewarding experience involves journaling – writing a simple chronicle of your day so
that sometime in the future you’ll have a record of what you did, how you did it, where you did
it, and how you felt about it. You can do this every day, or on days when the spirit moves you.
Writing every day will give you a summer memoir by the time fall arrives! You decide! Here’s
what you do – pick a writing time each day and try to be consistent about it. Go to a quiet place
where you can think. Some writers like to sit outside under a tree, others like to write under
their covers in bed at night with a flashlight! Find the time and place you like best and stick to
When writing about your day, remember, you don’t need to include the every-day,
predictable, boring stuff like getting dressed or having breakfast. Try to pick the most
interesting, enjoyable, or challenging part of your day and focus on that. You can add a
diagram, map, or illustration!
Use the form below, to help shape your memories.
The Most Important Part of This Day:
_______________________________. How I felt about the most
important part of my
day___________________________________________. What I
want to remember most about this
My hope for
Here’s a sample entry:
Today I became an expert underwater somersaulter! We were invited to Rosie’s house to take
an afternoon swim. It was way hot and I could hardly wait to get in that water. Rosie was already
in the pool when I got there. “Come on!” she shouted, “Let’s do an underwater show!”
I jumped in – a human cannonball that splashed our moms sitting with their iced teas in their
pool chairs. I could hear them screaming underwater! Rosie did handstands and wiggled her
skinny legs in the air. I held my nose and shut my eyes tight, dove forward and curled up like a
cannonball again. But this time I waved my arms pushing me upside down. I paddled until I
made a full circle and burst out of the water! I could hear Rosie clapping. We had a
competition and the moms judged. They said we tied, but later my Mom told me she thought I
won – she was just being nice! We kept it up until our fingers were wrinkled! It was so much
fun, even though I still have water in my ears. Tomorrow it’s supposed to rain, so Rosie’s
coming to my house for a sleepover. Maybe Mom will let us bake brownies!
(Provide a simple pad, composition book or journal for daily entries.)
Sometimes summer brings opportunities for sightseeing! It might be a trip to a big city, a visit to a museum, ballpark, or zoo, an amusement park or a boat ride.
Next time you visit someplace special, collect some MEMENTOS! These could be ticket stubs, brochures, flyers, even natural materials such as flower blossoms or beach grass! You’ll use these to make a COLLAGE - cutting out, arranging, and gluing down – and preserving - the souvenirs of your sightseeing excursion!
Then, you’ll write an advertisement for your special visit!
Use the following QUESTIONS and SENTENCE STARTERS to help your own advertisement about your experience.
- What happened first?
- What special sites did you see? Be specific! Describe these!
- What would you recommend to others?
- What shouldn’t be missed?
- Why would others enjoy this?
- Don’t miss______.
- You’ll arrive at_______.
- Be sure to________.
- Everyone will enjoy______.
- Here you’ll see______.
- There you’ll be treated to_______.
- No one could forget_______.
- My favorite part was______
- You’ll pass _______.
- Watch out for______.
- Don’t miss_______!
HERE’S A SAMPLE:
Central Park Summer Fun Tour!
Whatever you do, don’t miss the opportunity to take an NYC guided bike tour of Central Park!
Gather your family and head to the Big Apple for a morning of fun and exercise!
You’ll arrive at the NYC Bike Tours Office where you’ll be fitted for the perfect bike and helmet and
provided with your own bottle of water!
Your group will line up with an expert NYC tour guide and set out along the Hudson River bike route.
Here you’ll see skyscrapers on your right and a variety of boats on the river to your left. You’ll pass rollerbladers
and joggers along the way, and New Yorkers pushing baby strollers or walking dogs.
You’ll enjoy zipping under stone overpasses and tree and blossom-lined lanes in Riverside Park.
Eventually, you’ll follow your guide across a couple of city streets. Not to worry though – despite
the hubbub of noisy yellow taxicabs, the never-ending traffic, bike messengers, and even rickshaws,
you’ll cross quickly and safely.
Soon your group will enter Central Park! There you’ll be treated to fountains, gardens,
interesting wooden buildings and statues of famous authors. You’ll pass the famous boathouse on the
lake where you’ll see people in rowboats.
My favorite part was “Strawberry Fields” dedicated to John Lennon, the famous Beatle!
If you enjoy cycling, sightseeing, and fun, this is the trip for you!
Summer is a time for outdoor fun! It might be beachcombing or hiking, camping or
bicycling, boating or swimming! Think about a summer outdoor adventure you’ve had. Then
write a fully elaborated MAIN EVENT about your outdoor adventure! Your main event
adventure should include a balanced mix of:
ACTION DESCRIPTION THOUGHTS/FEELINGS EXCLAMATIONS/DIALOGUE A SOUND EFFECT
Use the summary form and the questions below to help you create an entertaining main event
account of your summer adventure. And, don’t forget to illustrate your account!
First, write a simple summary statement describing your MAIN EVENT. Then, use the following questions to fully elaborate your main event in an entertaining way!
• What did you do? Tell it in slow motion action!
• What did you see, hear, feel?
• What did you wonder or worry?
• How did you feel? What did those feelings look like?
• What did you say or exclaim? (Use quotation marks!)
• What sound effect did you hear?
Here’s an example:
MAIN EVENT SUMMARY STATEMENT: This is about an afternoon of canoeing at the lake.
It was a hot, muggy afternoon when we carried the canoe from the shed out to Silver
Lake. Josh and I had packed a snack bag of potato chips, devil dogs and juice boxes, picked up
our orange life jackets and threw it all into the canoe. “Be careful!” Josh’s grandma called. “We
will!” we yelled. We could see the shimmering water and hear the sounds of a loon calling on
the other shore. We cut through some tall grass toward the edge of the lake and carefully
nosed the canoe into the water. We grabbed our life vests and snapped them on.
We stepped into the tipsy boat and it pitched sharply to the right.
“Whoa!” Josh yelled, “Keep her steady!”
We plopped down, put the snack bag between us and each grabbed an oar. The water
rippled against the side of the canoe like quiet music. We rowed together as a team – after all,
we’d had plenty of practice – right, lift, left, lift, and the boat moved out smoothly. I exhaled
and smiled. Even though my arms would be aching later on, right now I felt relaxed and happy.
Everything else slipped out of my mind except the sound of the oars in the water, the sound of
far-off voices calling from the beach on the other side of the lake, and the twittering of birds in
the tall pines along the south shore.
When we reached the center of the lake we put the oars down and leaned back. The sky above
was bright blue with a few high, puffy clouds. A dragonfly zipped past on its way to shore.
If I could freeze a moment in time, it might be that time in the canoe, in the middle of
the lake, floating peacefully, with nothing to do but have a snack and look at the sky!
Enjoying the summer weather? Do you have a favorite summer spot to kick back and
enjoy the season? It might be by the pool or lake. Maybe it’s out on the deck or in the garden,
at the seashore or a woodland path. It might even be on the front steps, in the backyard, or a
Find your favorite summer spot and settle in. Close your eyes for awhile. Feel the air,
listen to the sounds, notice the smells. Then open your eyes and take it all in!
Use the QUESTIONS, below, to help you prepare to capture a summer afternoon in
writing! Once the questions spark your thinking, use the SENTENCE STARTERS to put your
musings in writing. Use some scrap paper to work through your summer scene description.
When you’ve “tweaked” it and revised it so that you’re sure someone else could read it and
imagine every last sight and sound through your eyes, copy it into your journal. On the
opposite side of the spread, add an illustration or a photograph!
• Where are you sitting, reclining, or standing?
• What kind of trees, plants, flowers do you see?
• What does the sky, clouds, sun, or if evening, the moon and stars look like?
• What sounds from nature do you hear?
• What other sounds do you hear?
• What is the temperature? (Don’t use numbers – explain how the temperature feels!)
• What is the weather like?
• How does the air, breeze, wind feel against your skin?
• What do you imagine as you enjoy this setting?
• How does the setting make you feel? What does that feeling look like?
Who wouldn’t love (sitting, reclining, standing) here by ___?
Staring into the distance, I notice_______.
My eyes roam across________________.
I take in the______________.
I love seeing _________.
Looking up, I gaze at_______________.
The ____seems _____.
I can hear _______________.
The day (morning, afternoon, evening) feels ________.
Listening carefully, I detect the sound of________.
My whole body feels_______.
I close my eyes and enjoy__________. •
I relax and imagine __________.
My mind wanders and I fantasize about______.
I sigh and ________.
I’ll never forget____________.
Here’s a sample!
I stretch out on the chaise facing the woods off the back of the deck. The morning feels
warm and a breeze tickles my face. I close my eyes and feel the sun on my face. I smile at the
peculiar warbling chuckle of a woodpecker followed by the rhythmic hammering of its beak
against an old rotten tree. Even though I can’t see the stream I hear it gurgling in the distance
and imagine the small frogs and long-legged water birds wading along its marshy banks. A
honey bee buzzes past, working its way from one pot of geraniums to the next.
Sometimes a season conjures up lists of favorite things that are best enjoyed during that time of year!
Think about everything you enjoy most about summer and use these things to create a summer poem. Begin
with a list of the favorite things you see, hear, feel, smell, do, eat, and enjoy. Here’s a sample of one person’s
summer favorites. Read this list and then make your own!
Sample Summer Favorite List!
sun on my face
seashells and stones
Match up all of the nouns (people, places, or things) with a doing word (verb) and or a describing word
Matchup activities with locations or settings. Combine these to create a “word painting” about summer.
Begin with a line about favorite things! Remember – nothing has to rhyme! And add new ideas as they come.
Don’t feel you have to use every idea from your list. Read your poem-in progress aloud to see if you like the
rhythm! Change a word, cut others out until the flow feels right to you! Use “word referents” (other words to
rephrase an idea – for example, instead of saying “beach” you could say “ocean shores”.) Lastly, come up with
a title for your poem and add an illustration or photograph! Try using a different medium that you usually use
in your artwork. If you usually pencil sketch, try watercolors or markers.
So much to love when summer comes!
Sun smiling on my face, uplifted,
Breeze through my hair by ocean shores,
Toes curled up in the toasty sand,
A pocketful of shells and treasures,
Seagulls call and waves rush in,
I pucker up for lemon ice, tart and frosty…