Journals to Keep Kids Busy on Vacation

I learned how to journal from my grandmother. As a kid we spent many family vacations in England visiting my parent’s roots and extended family, my Grandma helping me record the memories. My first book dates back to 1975. I was three so she did the writing but based on the number of “we fed the ducks” entries I was obviously dictating some of the content. The second book is from 1978 and includes entries from both of us.

I was inspired by these childhood journals to create something similar for my boys for our winter vacation. Truth be told, I hoped they’d provide a focused activity in restaurants. This was our first all-inclusive resort and I was a bit daunted at the thought of eating every meal in a setting that required sitting in one chair for an extended time.


By dinner time on the second day my 5 year old plunked himself down and asked for his “book stuff”. Excellent. Goal achieved. Mama is happy. As expected the 2 year old didn’t get quite as engaged but he enjoyed the stickers and imitating his big brother.


  • Cerlox notebook
  • Laminate sheets
  • Stickers
  • Markers
  • Tape (we take green painters tape everywhere as it has a multitude of uses!)

Note: I purchased all the above at the dollar store, total cost was approx. $10.

How To Make:

  • Create your cover. I used to write the text and insert the images. You could also use powerpoint or other software or cut/paste letters and pictures on to a 8.5 X 11 piece of paper.
  • Put your cover into the self-laminating sheet
  • Tape the cover on to the book

I gave the kids their books on the plane and suggested they draw and write about the things we do and see while on vacation. To get them started I suggested they tape their boarding passes to a page and draw a picture of the plane.

The diaries definitely helped provide a focal point and something to do while waiting in restaurants. As the week progressed I realized we’ll make this a regular vacation activity so decided to write a few notes and highlights myself. I hope one day the kids will look back at them and remember a time when feeding the fish in the koi pond was a highlight of their day.

A few pages from my 5 year old’s book:

Kyle's Activity Book

And from my almost 2 year old:

Cameron's Activity Book

Comment (1)

  • This is an awesome idea, I really like it and can’t wait to put it into motion with my girls.


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