Kids Travel Journal

Kids Travel Journal

A kids travel journal is the ultimate fun and memorable activity on a family vacation! You know all that time in the car or on the airplane? Use it wisely and have your kids reflect on what they’ve seen, eaten, and experienced!

Do your kids love to look back at old photos? What about old school papers and accomplishments?

Both of my kids do, especially my daughter. She is my child who likes to write stories, make lists, and have written and physical souvenirs of past adventures. If you’ve followed this blog at all you may have seen or downloaded the original kids travel journal I created for her.

While we still LOVE it, and it’s been great for past travels and adventures, the child is ready for something new.

That’s why I put together this new journal. Next week we’re heading off on a Spring Break road trip, and it requires something new and fresh for her to put her mind to!

In a hurry?

Scroll to get the travel journal bonus! Or PIN it for later here!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

A kids travel journal is the perfect road trip or air travel activity! Give the kids something to do as they travel, make memories, and reflect on new experiences. #kidstravel #traveljournal


The journey, not the arrival matters.

T.S. Eliot


What’s new in this kids travel journal?

First of all, I looked at quite a few ideas from my kids and others who’d used our original journal before. How could we make it better, more user-friendly, and still super-fun and engaging for kids?

One of the first things I did was change the size of the journal. Instead of a full page, I changed it to a half-sheet printout.

Why do you ask? Well, the half-sheet size is easier to travel with. It will fit in all sizes of bags, purses, backpacks, as a bookmark in a book, you name it.

It makes it easier to pull out and write/draw on any place you go whether it be in a car, a museum, or when you sit down to rest during a hike.

Record and reflect on family vacations with this printable kids travel journal. Fun and easy to take on the go, it's perfect for road trips, air travel, or any kids' outing! #kidstraveljournal #travelprintable

Another thing that’s changed is the amount of color vs. white space.

This journal has some pictures and color, but not as much as the last one. It was done on purpose so it’s easier to print out either in black and white, full color, or grayscale, depending on your preference. This also lets the child doodle in the edges and put in their own colors.

In addition, I’ve added some more prompts to spark kids imaginations.

For example, there’s a page for the day with the weather, how I feel, and other things listed. But then there are also pages on what I ate today, where I’m sleeping, who I saw, etc.

Depending on the kid, you may want to use all the pages or just a few and make more copies based on the length of the trip.

Filling out the kids travel journal. #kidstravel #printables

List of travel journal activity pages

  • Cover Page: My Travel Journal
  • Name and contact page with space to draw a self-portrait
  • Where in the world are you going? A world map to record where you travel.
  • Where in the USA are you going? A map of the USA to record where you travel.
  • The daily page includes:
    • Today’s Date:
    • I felt
    • The weather was:
    • I learned:
    • I met:
    • Three things I did today:
    • Today I traveled by:
  • What I ate
  • Written prompts: Three words to describe today, I miss…, I tried something new today!, I felt…
  • Out my window is a place to draw what they’ve seen out their window today!
  • Tonight we are staying… (where, and place to draw it)
  • Written prompts 2: The best thing about today was…, my least favorite thing was…, three words to describe this city/town are…, three questions I have are…
  • Today I learned a new word! This page includes a word bubble with an area to draw and a field to describe what it means.
  • Today I saw this! Includes a space to draw/color and descriptive words.
  • Here is a portrait of a person I saw today.
  • Today I saw this animal.
  • Trip Reflection page

Pages of the kids travel journal with a pen. #kidstraveljournal #kidsactivities

It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.

J.R.R. Tolkien

Author, The Lord of the Rings

New Kids Travel Journal Bonus

Sign up for Explorer Momma’s newsletter and get the NEW Kids Travel Journal as a bonus! If you’re already on our list, awesome! You can still download the journal!

Preview of the new kids travel journal #kidstravel #kidstraveljournal

How to download the kids travel journal

First, enter your first name and email in the field below. Second, open up your email, and in a few minutes or less you should receive an email. Click on the button in the email to confirm your subscription to the Explorer Momma newsletter and your bonus kids travel journal should then download to your computer.

It’s that simple! Print out the entire thing or pick and choose the pages your child would most enjoy!

What do you think of the journal?

So far the journal has met approval with my own kids. We’ll be giving it the full road trip test next week, and I can’t wait to see how it goes!

After this one, as my daughter gets older we may turn to a basic blank journal with a few travel quotes here and there.

However, for now, when they’re in elementary school, this style of a journal is still appealing. It also makes kids think a bit about their travels. Who they’ve seen, what they’ve done, cultural differences, etc.

Do please let me know if you use it with the kids in your life! I hope it’s useful, and let me know if you have any suggestions to make it even better!

PIN it here for later:

An easy to use kids travel journal is perfect for any family vacation! Whether the kids are on a road trip, airplane, or train it makes a memorable travel diary. #traveljournal #kidstraveljournal


More kids travel activities:

  1. The Ultimate Road Trip Activities for Kids
  2. Kids Airplane Activities: Airplane BINGO
  3. 8 Ways to Survive a Long Layover with Kids
  4. The Complete Kids Carry-On Packing List

Kids Travel Journal

The Perfect Road Trip or Air Travel Activity! Click here to check our the Original Travel Journal Printable

The Best DIY Essential Oil Travel Roller

The Best DIY Essential Oil Travel Roller

Lately, I’ve been super-picky about the household products we use in our family. Not only what you eat but what you put on your skin can have huge effects on your health for good or bad. What gets me is that there are so many toxins out there in everyday products that are not regulated and most people don’t even realize it. So today, we are going to put together the absolute best DIY essential oil travel roller.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

When you go on vacation with the kids, what are some of the basics? There’s the inevitable fall and scrape a knee, so you’ll need disinfectant and bandages. What else? If you’re on a lake or beach vacation you will probably need sunburn spray/cream to calm it when dad refuses to put on sunscreen or you miss a spot. In addition, you’ll need bug spray and bug bite relief. Do you know what I also love? A sleep aid to calm me (and the kids!) down after a big day and sleeping in a new place.

Also, if you’re camping, road tripping, or traveling by air long distances don’t you always carry a hand sanitizer and/or wipes to get rid of all those germs?

What’s in antibacterial wipes, anyway? Well, I’m glad you asked! “Fragrance” (possible carcinogen, possible allergic reactions), methylparaben, propylparaben (both hormone or endocrine disruptors), phenoxyethanol (The American Society of Contact Dermatitis lists phenoxyethanol as one of its core allergens), and so many more!

I want to know what’s in my EVERYDAY use products and know they’re good for me and my family, don’t you? Wouldn’t you love to be able to make your own using essential oils and natural ingredients?

In a hurry?

Scroll down to the bottom for the printable recipe or PIN it here for later!

Essential oils experts: questions and answers

Lately, I’ve spent a ton of time researching the best natural remedies, but sometimes I do get frustrated when I’m looking up herbs and essential oil information. Have you noticed all the conflicting viewpoints on-line? I suppose that’s true with many subjects!

DIY Essential Oil travel roller recipe

Have you ever read that a certain essential oil is okay for internal use, only to turn around and read another article that says that same essential oil is “for external use only!”? Or what about which oils are okay during pregnancy or for babies? Also, it often comes up, which brands you can use and trust? It can all be really confusing and either make you want to pull out your hair or become your own expert! What if you could watch a panel of actual aromatherapy experts tackle all of these tough questions and more?

Maybe they won’t even agree on every single thing, but at least you’ll find out why they disagree, so you can make an educated choice for yourself. I know once I have the facts I’m FULL of opinions. 😉

Have you tried eating low carb?

I love this cauliflower mac and cheese bake!

Cauliflower mac and cheese bake, square piece

Best DIY essential oil travel roller bottle

Back to the indispensable travel roller! This super simple recipe is one I use and keep on me constantly, especially when traveling. My 5-year-old son has his own he puts on his scratches and boo-boos. In addition, it’s super calming so it helps him go to sleep at night without the toxic “fragrance” in so many kids’ calming night lotions.

The DIY essential oil travel roller contains only three ingredients, well I guess four if you count the 10 ml roller bottle. Lavender, tea tree oil, and fractionated coconut oil (or olive oil works too).


DIY essential oil travel roller, lavender

First of all, let me say lavender is one of my favorite scents in the world! It has so many properties it’s really one of the most versatile essential oils and therefore so very useful for travel when you’re trying to save space. Lavender can relieve nervous tension (calms), it’s a pain reliever, skin disinfectant, it enhances blood circulation, and can aid in respiratory problems.

Melaleuca or Tea Tree Oil

DIY Essential Oil Travel Roller

Melaleuca is also known as tea tree oil and is truly another essential oil cure-all. It has so many helpful uses, you pair it with lavender and you can’t lose. Melaleuca is an antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antiviral, expectorant, fungicide, insecticide, stimulant, and a sudorific substance.

Fractionated Coconut Oil

Fractionated coconut oil is often used as a carrier, or to dilute essential oils. Don’t be fooled! It also has its own amazing qualities that make it a great choice for a roller. It can withstand light and high heat without going rancid. Also, it’s not greasy and lighter than regular coconut oil and has more of a cleansing effect on the skin. This is a fabulous base for skin care products and as a way to use your essential oils.

As I said, the recipe itself is super simple.

To make the DIY essential oil travel roller, take one 10 ml glass bottle with a roller topper and lid. Once it’s cleaned and sterilized put in 5 drops of lavender and 3 drops of melaleuca. Fill the bottle to the top with the fractionated coconut oil. Push the roller ball into place and screw on the lid. Shake it a bit, and it’s ready to conquer scrapes, bug bites, boo-boos, rashes, stress, insomnia, and more!

It’s also one of those things I can pull out to take action on a “boo-boo” of one of the kids, and just seeing it makes them calm down and feel better. Try it out for yourself when you travel with the family or just keep one in your purse at all times. I even rub it on my wrists sort of like a relaxing perfume. It has so many uses!

What products do you like to make yourself?

So yes, I admit it. Lately, you can find me nerding out drying out my Mother’s Day rose petals for a bath salts recipe, making my own hand sanitizer, and trying out different essential oils in my lip balm recipe. It’s so time for back to basics, and I’m excited to learn more and more because hey, it keeps my babies safer. Free from daily toxins rubbed into their skin and educated to make their own choices in the future.

DIY Essential Oil Travel Roller

Multi-purpose essential oil rub. Good for scrapes, bites, stress, you name it! Save room while you travel!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time1 min
Total Time5 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: essential oils, travel
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 1kcal
Author: Lauren Gonikishvili


  • 10 ml roller ball bottle
  • 5 drops lavender oil
  • 3 drops melaleuca oil (tea tree)
  • 2 teaspoons fractionated coconut oil or olive oil, fill bottle


  • To make the DIY essential oil travel roller, take one 10 ml glass bottle with a roller topper and lid. Once it’s cleaned and sterilized put in 5 drops of lavender and 3 drops of melaleuca. Fill the bottle to the top with the fractionated coconut oil. Push the roller ball into place and screw on the lid. Shake it a bit, and it’s ready to conquer scrapes, bug bites, boo-boos, rashes, stress, insomnia, and more!
Best DIY essential oil travel roller recipe

The Super-Easy, Best Paper Airplane Ever

The Super-Easy, Best Paper Airplane Ever

This post contains affiliate links. Best paper airplane ever

Lately, I’ve been focused on meal planning, new recipes, and getting ready for Christmas. All of the sudden it hit me, Christmas is at the beginning of winter break this year. That means we have almost two and a half weeks with no school AFTER Christmas. What are we going to do? How can I get the kids to be occupied, not kill each other, and not drive me insane for two and a half weeks?? Needless to say, much list-making and calendar planning ensued.

The brainstorm of planning showed me I have events and basic schedules. What I really need are simple, fun activities to interest the kids for a good length of time at home. Meaning, we need activities they can repeat and not get bored with.

This easy and best paper airplane plan and game is one such activity. My son (5 years old) rarely tires of it, although he can be found making paper airplanes at home, Grandma’s, and even at church (oops). We call this the Georgian airplane because it was the paper airplane my husband grew up making as a kid in Georgia (the country), and let me tell you it can fly!

Best paper airplane ever pin

Best Paper Airplane Ever

First, take out a letter-sized rectangle piece of paper. You can use color, white, or whatever you happen to have on hand. Fold it lengthwise in half to make a longer rectangle or what we call a “hot dog” shape.

Best paper airplane ever, hotdog

Second, open the “hotdog” back up and fold both top corners to meet at the middle line. You’ll make two triangles and a pointy tip.

Best paper airplane ever, top corners

Third, turn the paper over and fold the triangle backward to lay flat down on top of the larger rectangle.

Best paper airplane ever, big triangle

Then, with the triangle tip pointing down, take the top, left corner and fold it to the center line about an inch above the tip of the triangle. Do the same on the right side.

Best paper airplane ever, corners

After that, identify the point on the large triangle and fold it up as far as it will go without folding the sides you’ve just folded to the center.

Best paper airplane ever, small triangle

Then, pick up your airplane and fold it in half on the existing crease.

Best paper airplane ever center fold

From there, you’re going to make the wings. Fold the line of the top wing down to exactly meet the folded center line. Turn the airplane over and repeat on the other side.

Best paper airplane ever, wing fold

That’s it!! Lastly, go over all the folds with your fingernail to make them as crisp as possible. The airplanes fly so much better if they have well-creased folds. Then you are ready to fly!

Best paper airplane ever complete

Best paper airplane games

  1. A basic game of catch. Throw the paper airplane back and forth between two people.
  2. Point out targets around the house and make a sort of frisbee golf game using airplanes.
  3. Make your own target out of a piece of poster board with numbers. Set a number goal, and the first person to get that many points wins. Have the players take turns and each only throw one paper airplane at a time.
  4. Have the kids make a paper airplane hanger out of paper or blocks.
  5. 100 Airplanes game. This is a variation on the Japanese paper crane tradition, but I made this one up. Tell the kids they have to make 100 paper airplanes and give them away as gifts. If they make a present 100 airplanes to other people they will have good luck and spread joy.
  6. Paper airplane battle between two sideways card tables.
  7. Let the children be creative and make their own stories with the airplanes. Are you at an airport? Military base? What are the airplanes’ names?


Best paper airplane ever target game

Good luck!

This is such a fun, traditional activity, and keeps my son entertained for HOURS. Maybe not hours at a time, but a good 20 minutes here and there fairly often. Do you have some other simple activities for your kids so you can get a chore done or have a moment of peace? I love this kind of thing because they can do it themselves, and at the same time, it avoids screen time.

Leave me some comments below with other awesome, easy activities!!

Beat those winter blues!

Here some other fun things to do in winter.

7 Awesome Activities to beat the winter blues, feature

Free Printable French Valentine Cards

Free Printable French Valentine Cards

This page contains affiliate links. Printable French Valentine Cards

Hearts, flowers, red, and pink! Valentine time of year is just around the corner once again. The question is, will you be prepared? Are you like me and in search of a set of fun, different, and cheap (yes, I said it!) Valentines? Do you need something to pass around to kid school friends, family, your Zumba group, and make them smile? If that’s the case, you’re in luck because you can download your own FREE printable French Valentine cards below. French, because, why not? Does one need a reason to speak in French? Pas du tout! It’s different, fun, and the language of love!

Scroll down to download your own free printable French Valentine Cards.

or Pin it for later!

Printable French Valentine Cards pin

My favorite history of Valentine’s Day story

As far as I know, there are at least 3 different Valentines or Valentiniuses the holiday could be named after. My favorite legend of the holiday centers around a certain priest way back during the height of Roman power. At this point in history, Christians were being persecuted, thrown into prisons, beaten, tortured, and generally treated badly.

According to legend, Valentine helped many Christians escape the horrible prisons and was himself captured for his aid. As a result, our hero Valentine was thrown into one of these same prisons. Under the circumstances, a bit of luck, or the grace of God, favored our Valentine. In amongst the usual torture and abuse, the jailer’s daughter visited the good Valentine. Her visits brought Valentine a ray of light, and he soon fell in love with her.

Printable French Valentine cards book

Tragically, Valentine was sentenced to death, the pleas of the jailer’s daughter going unattended. Before his execution, our hero penned a love poem and letter to his love and signed it, “From Your Valentine”. This became the basis for Valentine’s Day letters and greetings throughout the Middle Ages and until this very day.

Printable French Valentine Cards, macarons

Printable French Valentine cards without candy

A little pet peeve I have about Valentine’s Day when it comes to kids’ Valentines, is that it’s EXPECTED to put candy with every single one! Kids are bribed with candy at school, at offices, at my own house, and just have way more sugar than is healthy. Therefore, I like to do something fun for holidays like Valentine’s Day and Halloween that does not contain sugar.

Individual Valentine card

First, get some simple cellophane bags from Target or another store (or order them on Amazon here). Then, print out your printable French Valentine cards on card stock. Place one card in each bag along with a small gift for Valentine’s Day. Last but not least, tie the top of the bag with a cute red ribbon, and you’re done!


Printable Valentine cards preview pin

Small charms or gifts to go in your Valentine bag:

Do you need some gift bags, Eiffel Tower charms, or maybe Eiffel Tower magnets?

Or who wouldn’t like to receive a squeezable heart stress ball, vintage style Paris bookmark, or heart erasers?

Challenge yourself to think outside the candy box and have fun with it! Do your kids’ friends like a certain game, toy, or love France? What would be fun for your family members and friends?

What do you get with your printable French Valentine cards?

Just in case you are not a native French speaker, I’ve included a vocabulary list with English translation. These are great for kids in French classes or anyone who has a love for all things French. Take a look below, and imagine yourself in front of the Eiffel Tower. Ah, Paris…

Printable French Valentine cards preview vocabulary

Printable French Valentine cards

In today’s culture, walk into a grocery store or really almost anywhere after Christmas. What will you see? You’ll be bombarded with red hearts, Hallmark cards, chocolates, flowers, jewelry, and more to buy the perfect gift for your special someone…and all your closest acquaintances. If you love it or not, why not make it fun for kids and friends alike? Give them a Valentine and a little lesson in that flowing language of love…French! C’est magnifique!

Do you have any other fun traditions for Valentine’s Day you do with your kids? Share them in the comments below!

Printable French Valentine Cards, Eiffel Tower

Do you need a simple Valentine craft?

Kids' Valentine craft feature

Kids’ DIY Christmas Tree Ornament

Kids’ DIY Christmas Tree Ornament

This page contains affiliate links. Kids’ DIY Christmas Tree  Ornament

Did you know according to the Guinness Book of World Records, “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby is the all-time best-selling Christmas/holiday single in the United States? Not only that, but they report, it’s also the best-selling single of all time. Moreover, it has estimated sales in excess of 50 million copies worldwide. Why am I telling you this? Well, it snowed here a couple of days ago so I succumbed to the pleas of my daughter to play some Christmas music. There’s just something about the tones of Bing and “White Christmas” to put me in that joyful Christmas mood.

Before you know it we’ll all dive into Christmas baking, crafting, decorating, and spreading of holiday cheer. I can’t wait!

Christmas Craft Time

Okay, I admit, my kids and I started out a little early this year making some Christmas tree ornaments. I wanted a project using only items I already had around the house so I didn’t have to make a special trip to Michael’s or Hobby Lobby or somewhere (I tend to spend lots of money at such places). Therefore, somewhere in my brain came up with a memory of a craft I did long ago in Girl Scouts. A craft made with simple, everyday items, which come together to make a nice ornament for the Christmas tree.

Can I tell you a little secret? What else do I like this project? Well, it occupies the children for quite awhile as they choose their Christmas card picture, glue on their toothpicks, and add decorations and the finishing touches. A kids’ DIY Christmas tree ornament.

Yes, I’ll say it. Even with the help they’ll need, you’ll have at least 15 minutes of free time. Fifteen minutes can be a lot to get your own tasks done. Namely, you can wrap three presents, prep dinner, or sit and have a mug of tea. Think about those long 2 weeks (or more!) off of school and all the things you’ll need to occupy the kids. To be sure, this is a fun, easy to set up craft the kids will be proud to put on the tree. Doesn’t that sound fabulous?

So give it a go. It can’t hurt can it? Do you use those toothpicks up in the cabinet for anything but testing the doneness of cakes? Therefore, make an awesome kids’ DIY Christmas tree ornament today!

Or you can always Pin it for later here.

Kids’ DIY Christmas Tree Ornament

Kids' DIY Christmas Tree Ornament pin

First, gather your supplies. You’ll need:

Kids' DIY Christmas Tree Ornament supplies

Second, select the Christmas card and portion of it you would like to frame with toothpicks for the ornament. I suggest using a plastic plate to keep all the supplies from rolling away or hit by little elbows onto the floor. Then place one layer of toothpicks crossing each other around the portion of the card you wish to frame. You can use the little house shape I use on the cardinal ornament, a simple square, a star, or whatever your creative minds think up. Just be sure the toothpicks cross so you can glue them together.

Kids' DIY Christmas Tree Ornament card

Third, trace and cut out the shape from the Christmas card. I usually test the toothpicks at this point to make sure they fit where they’re supposed to. Trim the cutout as needed.

Kids' DIY Christmas Tree Ornament, card cutout

Toothpick Christmas craft time!

Fourth, start gluing your toothpicks. For the first, layer I glue the entire toothpick to anchor the toothpicks to the card piece. One at a time glue them all the way around your shape. This takes some patience, but if they’re interested, kids get the hang of it pretty quickly.

Kids' DIY Christmas Tree Ornament toothpicks start

For the last toothpick in the first layer, put a dot of glue on each toothpick it crosses and place the toothpick. As much as I’d like to use a glue stick for this project, we tried, but they just wouldn’t hold together. Regular or school glue is better for the craft, and be assured, it will drip. If you have a perfectionist like my daughter reassure them it’s fine. It happens. It will dry clear.

Kids' DIY Christmas Tree Ornament toothpicks 1

Next, go around the shape adding a second layer of toothpicks. These next steps can take some patience and time, but kids get incredibly excited when it’s finished and set to dry. Again, it may not be perfect or get knocked over. Don’t be discouraged! You can always piece it back together again!

Kids' DIY Christmas Tree Ornament, glue bottle

Slow and steady

Continue to add rows of toothpicks to your desired height for the frame. Personally, I like to do five layers of toothpicks, but it’s up to you and your creative kids. When the frame is built up, leave it to dry overnight or for several hours.

Kids' DIY Christmas Tree Ornament closeup finished toothpicks

Then, cut a piece of yarn or ribbon about 8-10 inches long to make the tree hanger.

Kids' DIY Christmas Tree Ornament yarn

Thread it through the toothpick layers near the base (card).

Kids' DIY Christmas Tree Ornament, yarn threaded

After that’s complete you can tie the hanger and decorate! We used what we had in the house so there’s quite a mix of things. Together with glitter and bells, we used small colored puffballs, greenery from the tree outside, and more. Be creative! Use whatever you have or make that trip to the store and get some fun sparkly decorations. There you have it! An awesome kids’ DIY Christmas tree ornament.

Kids' DIY Christmas Tree Ornaments

A challenge for you

As a kid, I remember simple projects like this and just loving them. It was part of the holiday season to make and bake and give things away. Every year a group a group from our church would go sing Christmas carols for local nursing and retirement homes. We always brought gifts to share with the residents, and handmade ornaments like this were always well-received.

I challenge you. Try out this kids’ DIY Christmas tree ornament and make a few extras to give away. Furthermore, take them to a neighbor, a retirement home, or a friend and let the kids experience the joy of giving their time and a hand-made gift to someone who truly appreciates it. And listen to some Bing Crosby while you’re at it.

Happy Christmas crafting!

Pin it to save for later here!

Kids' DIY Christmas Tree Ornament. Need an easy and fun Christmas craft for school or scouts? Recycling Christmas cards has never been funner! #diychristmasornament #christmascrafts




Need more awesome activities for kids?

7 Awesome Activities to beat the winter blues, feature

Kids’ Thanksgiving Journal: How To Make Kids Thankful

Kids’ Thanksgiving Journal: How To Make Kids Thankful

This page contains affiliate links. Kids’ Thanksgiving journal

We’ve all been there, or have seen it, or heard about it. You break down and buy the really expensive toy the toddler saw at the store, and they love it! That is, they love it for a week, then it sits in the toy box or the closet. What happens then? Yes, you got it! The child begs for more every time you go to ANY store with them and throws a gigantic tantrum if they don’t get it.

I’d like to think that goes away as they get older, but how do you teach kids to be thankful for what they have? If they don’t learn to be thankful, how will that affect them in the future as teenagers and adults? It’s pretty scary when you stop to think about it.

I’m going through the same issues with my kids and put together a list of ways to make kids more thankful. This is a work in progress, and I’ve found some things are great for my son and not my daughter. Consequently, I’ve come up with this printable Thanksgiving journal as a prompt and tool to help get my kids thinking about why we’re thankful.

How to help our kids to be thankful

Kids' Thanksgiving Journal pin

Kids’ Thanksgiving Journal

Click here to pin it to your Thanksgiving or Kids’ Activity boards for later!

In the spirit of the season, a kids’ Thanksgiving journal is a great way to help your elementary and even middle school students. Thanksgiving is almost upon us, and rather than focus on giving thanks only that day, build up to it with a kids’ thankful journal. Now, you can make one on your own with a regular notebook or blank journal. In the days before Thanksgiving, have the child write about different things they are thankful for and why. Also, they can draw a picture to go along with each day if they wish.

I don’t know about you, but my kids generally need more direction to help generate ideas and really dig deep and think about it. Therefore, I came up with this printable Thanksgiving journal you can download below. In it, I have a page for every letter of the alphabet. First of all, they have to think about something/someone they are thankful for that begins with the letter of the page. Then there’s a space to draw a picture and some prompts to help them think a bit more deeply.


Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Kids’ Thanksgiving Journal Prompts

First off is the basic:

Tell me about something you’re thankful for beginning with the letter A. Why are you thankful for it/him/her?

Second, we dig a little more into the people involved:

Who is it or who gave it to you? Did they have to give up anything of their own to make you happy?

Third, is the action step:

How can you show them you are thankful?

My plan for Thanksgiving

I plan to give my kids a page to do every day leading up to Thanksgiving. However, you could do it all at once or a few every day, whatever’s best for the kids in your life! Then, on Thanksgiving, they will have the journal to share or as a resource when they’re asked the inevitable question, “What are you thankful for?”

Sign up for the Explorer Momma newsletter and tips and as a bonus get your kids’ Thanksgiving journal

Kids' Thanksgiving journal with msg

There are many other ways to encourage your kids to be thankful:

  1. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or food pantry.
  2. Buy fewer rather than more toys.
  3. Make sure you are using “please” and “thank you” to model good manners.
  4. Stick to a weekly chore chart or list. Have the kids help around the house daily.
  5. Always give part of the weekly allowance or “commission” to church or to a charity.
  6. Make presents and cards for others for special occasions. (They love this one)

I hope you try out a kids’ Thanksgiving journal this year if you have elementary or middle school-aged kids. Not only is it a good writing exercise, but it might get them to think a bit too. If you do complete it, please let me know how it goes for you!

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” Marcus Tullius Cicero

As I said, this is a list in progress for me. Do let me know if you have an easy way to help teach kids to be thankful, and I’ll add it to my list to try with my own kids. I hope we are all thankful for the many blessings we’ve been given. From thankfulness comes so many other virtues. It’s not always easy, and I know I often have to stop and think about my motivations, but we must always keep trying.

Give Thanks

Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash

Happy Thanksgiving!

Kids' Thanksgiving Journal pin2

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