Anytime Books

As an avid journaler for years I encourage free writing in my children. One of the easiest ways to do this is have my children make a personal journal for getting some creativity on paper. Journaling is a great way for children to improve their writing skills and encourage them to create stories or describe thoughts of the day. Those fresh ideas in their heads cannot be left inside, they have so much to share about the world they are living in. My girls have been using journals for a long time, since they noticed me writing away, I got them their own notebooks and let them begin writing. Eventually their journals became a hodgepodge of things within. It was then when the girls stopped calling them journals and decided that "anytime book" was a better name. Now that I think about the name, anytime book, it seems so much more fitting. Prior to Grandma F'Laker gifting the girls with several bargain priced small journals the girls used all sorts of paper to create their own anytime books. They would choose several types of papers and create stories with incredible illustrations. Sometimes they would staple the books together and other times a hole punch and ribbon/yarn was used. Always the end result was fantastic. They would spend hours creating and were pleased to share with me and their friends.

Since this is such an easy craft to do I thought it would be the best way to kick off our Craft-a-Go-Go month.

Project: Anytime Books
Target ages: 2-adult

Materials for this project can be as vast as you choose. Typically we start with bargain priced journals (notebooks) you can find at craft stores or my favorite place to find $1 items, Target. When I find some that are the size I like I buy several to have on hand. The smaller sizes are the best for these books but using other sizes will work just the same. Even small notebooks are good for this project. Other needed supplies mostly depends on the writer. I recommend checking out the $1 bins at craft stores or Target or even Dollar stores for stickers and other scrapbooking like things. All of those crafty supplies are perfect for this project. I have come up with some ideas (this list can almost be endless) for the items my children use the while creating their anytime books. Keep in mind the age of your child and choose what fits best.

small journal or notebook (5"x5")
double sided tape
various stickers
foam stickers
all kinds of paper in various textures and colors
hole/paper punches in different sizes and shapes
stick on gems
stamps (small stamp kits)
colored pencils
glitter pens
Things from nature: leaves, petals, seeds, etc.
clippings from: newspapers, magazines, circulars, old homework sheets, toys, board games
paper crafted things such as little people, animals, etc.

Once you have all your materials set them out on a table and let them go. Kids have the skill of curious exploration and without much help can create wonderful things. The great thing about this project is that it can be never ending. It's always something they can do. Once they fill up one book they can begin another and another and another. Endless, simple, creative fun. There is an added bonus to this project in that it is portable. On days when I know we'll be gone, likely on a trip, I just create a take along bag. I put a fresh journal in a gallon zip top bag with some crayons, colored pencils, pens, stickers, stamps and stick on gems and put it in the car. When they complain of nothing to do, their bag appears and instantly they are busy. This is an excellent airplane activity.

By the way this is not just for children. One way to reduce stress is to write and color. Pick a nice journal for yourself and use the same principle. Doodle away the stress write away the lists in your head and take a moment to exhale. This is fun and I bet you'll soon discover the joy of making your very own anytime book.


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