Keeping a journal is an important part of my life. It is my silent, constant, and trusted companion. It helps me express my thoughts and feelings, discover my true self, explore my ideas, and exercise my imagination. When I was young, I’d get lost in its pages. In it, I was in a different world – a haven free from judgment, criticism, or failure.

I want to pass this passion for journal-keeping to my daughters – for all the reasons I just mentioned and because I see how they struggle to express themselves. And it’s very important to me that they learn how to effectively communicate, especially when it comes to their feelings.

Of course, like most artists, my journals are not confined to written text on lined notebooks. My art journals combine text and images – a more effective way of nurturing self-expression and imagination than with words alone. I recently discovered The Creative Journal for Children by Lucia Capacchione, a book that presents exercises in writing and drawing to foster children’s creativity, self-esteem, and learning skills. I’m very much excited about it – I’m hoping that the exercises will help my daughters develop a genuine love for journaling.

The journal pages that I’m sharing below are from an activity we did last Friday as a family that was based on the book. It was a 3-part activity. If you’re inspired to do something similar with your children or family, make sure you tell them the next step only after they’ve finished the previous step – or else it might compromise the result.

Here’s what we did:

  1. Using a color marker of our choice, we doodled on a blank page of our journal. We doodled without intention – we didn’t try to draw a picture, we just let our hands flow.
  2. After doodling, we tried to find recognizable objects from the lines and shapes we made, and, with a darker marker, we outlined them.
  3. Now, here comes the fun part. We made a poem about all the things we found. I told Mica and Rinoa, the poem doesn’t have to rhyme – after giving me shocked looks!

Scribble-Scrabble by Rinoa Redington (6 years old)

Donuts are yummy,
With frosting on top.
Boys can be bald.
Stars are 100 miles away.
– Rinoa Redington

Scribble-Scrabble by Mica Redington (13 years old)

Two fish are swimming around a bell, snowflake, and heart.
A pair of eyes keep a close eye on them.
A soda can on top of yin and yang spills a drop,
And it falls next to a bright star.
– Mica Redington

Scribble-Scrabble by Johwey Redington

I feel like a fish out of the water,
gasping heavily to breathe.
That ominous ball just keeps on rolling,
coming after me with rage.
The ivory keys of my piano
bring comfort to my sorrow.
I caress them with delicate fingers,
touching affectionately.
The music, it frees my pent-up spirit,
as I soar with the birds in flight.

Scribble-Scrabble by Troy Redington

In a land of doodle
I find no harm
Except for this birdie
with a human arm.
A tiny faucet
goes drip, drip, drip,
A giant toilet
for birdie to sit.
A lone roller blade
without a lace,
A freaky eye
without a face.
The word ‘drug’
written in graffiti,
The word ‘Troy’,
what the heck, that’s me!?
– Troy Redington

Just to let you know, I asked permission from everybody if I could post their work and they were all excited.

Happy scribbling,