Inspire kids to draw with a free art journal starter kit
The art journal starter kit is an easy way to get kids started with creative journaling. I use art journals with every grade level in my art classes. This summer my 5 year old son has also started using them and he loves it! A journal is a great way to encourage kids to document their thoughts and experiences in a visual way. Using a sketchbook also gives them a time and space to develop their drawing and writing skills. In addition, I have found that each of these books is a little time capsule. It is like a snapshot of the time period in which it was made. In this post you will find ways to use an art journal, simple ways to make them, and free printable journal cover templates and drawing prompts to get you started.
Download your free Art Journal Starter Kit by subscribing here.
Using the Art Journal starter kit to document thoughts, experiences, and imagination
Drawing is a great way for kids to document their thoughts and feelings even before they have command of the written language. For our youngest artists, drawing helps them to develop their fine motor skills and practice self expression before they are developmentally ready to write words. My elementary students use writing and drawing together in their art journals without any prompts. It is a natural combination for children to use both in self expression.
Ways to use The art journal Starter kit
Using an art Journal Outside and on the go
A small journal can be taken with you on family outings, playdates, and even vacations. It’s a fun way to document the day’s activities. A vacation journal template comes with our free art journal starter kit. We also have found that some places are especially inviting to draw in. For example, we enjoy drawing in public gardens like this one shown below. You can find a public garden near you here.
Observational drawing in your Art Journal
Drawing what is actually seen helps kids to analyze what they see and pay attention to detail. You can do this on the go as mentioned above. Sometimes it isn’t convenient to sit down and draw in the middle of a playdate or an outing. In that case, if we want to draw something onsite we just snap a picture for later. Cell phones make that one easy!
Observational drawing can also be done without going anywhere. You can also try setting up a still life at home with everyday objects. You can also draw from a photograph. My students especially enjoy building with blocks and drawing their finished structures in their sketchbooks. The Artful Parent has a great resource for getting started with observational drawing.
Art Journal Prompts and questions
Our art journal starter kit comes with two lists of prompts and questions your child can respond to with drawing and writing such as: “What’s hiding deep in the woods?” or “A celebration I will remember“.
Make a record of an event or a project
Art journals can be used to document a holiday or special event. Birthdays, graduations, or even a playdate can be recorded in a sketchbook.
Journals also can be used to document each step of a special project. For example, we recently set up an aquarium for my son and we keep a journal just to track all the stages it goes through. Anytime we add a fish, snail, shrimp or frog, it gets memorialized in the journal. We also paste odds and ends in there such as water quality tests and the like. Our aquarium journal is a family project. We all like to contribute writing and drawing as you can see below.
Making a simple art journal
Gather Your supplies for your art journal
All you really need to make a simple art journal is a small stack of paper, folded in half and stapled together, and a design for the front. If you would like to have an art journal design template that can be decorated and personalized, you can download the art journal starter kit! Simply subscribe to our email list here, and it will be sent directly to your inbox! You will find 3 art journal cover templates and 2 pages of drawing prompts. The covers include: My Art Journal, My Nature Journal, and My Vacation Journal.
Assemble and decorate your Art Journal
First, take your stack of copy paper, and fold it in half. Next, put the cover design on top of the 2 drawing prompt pages and fold them in half. Then, the blank paper goes inside of the folded printouts.
Finally, your artist can decorate the cover in any way. There is room for a drawing on each template. If you would like to make a painted cover, you can paint on heavier drawing paper, cut out the template and paste it to your painted cover. The design you see below was glued to a leaf rubbing. To make a leaf rubbing to be used for a nature journal, read Create a Leaf Rubbing to Remember a Nature Walk.
To download the Art Journal Starter Kit, get updates, and free resources, subscribe to the Painterly Path Newsletter!
Do your children or students keep an art journal? I would love to hear what they use them for and how they were made!