When I was a kid, my family had ‘quiet time’ for at least an hour each day. We were supposed to nap but my parents were happy if we kept to ourselves and wrote in our journals. In hindsight, a journal jar would have been a great way to begin the routine of winding down for that hour. Here’s how to create one with your family.
What is a journal jar?
A journal jar is a container (for example, a mason jar) that holds various journal prompts written on individual slips of paper. When it’s time to write in your journal, you can reach your hand in the jar and pull out one slip of paper. Then you begin to write based on that prompt. If you’re not convinced that journaling is beneficial for your children, read our blog post on Benefits of Journaling for Kids.
6 Steps to Creating a Journal Jar
- Identify your jar. I like a large, 64-oz mason jar because of the classic look and you can see all your slips of paper through it.
- Find the right paper and writing instruments. Various colors of paper help keep it exciting – be sure to cut it into long strips. Markers might make it easier for kids to write.
- Get the family together. Explain what a ‘journal jar’ is and how you’re going to all make one together. For the ones who are old enough to write, let them get creative with the prompts. Help those who cannot yet write legibly come up with questions for you to put down.
- Fold each slip of paper and stick it in the journal jar. Folding is important so that you cannot see the journal prompt through the jar.
- Shake it up. Have each member of the family shake it up for fun.
- Use it. When you’re ready for quiet time, have each child pick their own prompt from the jar. They can then retreat to their room or private space for personal writing and reflection.
After quiet time, you can ask each child what they wrote about in their journal. (Don’t ever read their journals without their permission!) You will learn so much about each child through their answers to the journal prompts.
Remember to add new prompts to the journal jar when you see it getting low. You can make it another family activity or add them on your own. For great ideas for journal prompts, check out our free journal prompts generator.
Do you have a journal jar? What are your tips for coming up with prompts?