Best kid’s journal

Activity

Kids who enjoy writing poetry or stories in their journals may benefit from a creative writing class or a kids’ writing club.

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

Which kid’s jounral is best?

For kids who like to write, a journal is a prized possession. Besides holding their thoughts and feelings, it’s the perfect blank slate to let creative juices flow.

Traditional kids’ journals feature lined or blank pages, and these days, you’ll find several journals that have writing prompts, inspirational messages or interactive features. If you’re looking for a well-made journal, Harry Potter Gryffindor Journal is our top choice for its premium binding and hardcover.

What to know before you buy a kid’s journal

Benefits of journaling

Many kids write in journals as a form of self-expression or creativity. Journaling is considered a personal or private experience because kids can write or doodle anything they like on the pages, including subjects they find difficult to discuss otherwise. Writing in a journal is also viewed as a therapeutic experience when it’s used as a coping mechanism for dealing with stress or major life changes. 

Outside of creative and emotional benefits, journaling may help younger kids develop handwriting, sentence structure or reading skills. For older kids, journaling may develop more complex writing skills, like storytelling, poetry composition or memoir writing.

How early can kids begin journaling?

Some kids begin journaling as young as age 5 with assistance from caregivers or therapists. According to the U.S. Department of Education, most 5-year-olds are capable of using descriptive language to engage in conversation or respond to questions. To some extent, journaling at this stage is a collaborative experience because kids share thoughts while adults transcribe them.

More independent writing, however, usually occurs when kids are in first grade or older. The U.S. Department of Education states most first-graders can “read and retell familiar stories,” as well as “write about topics that mean a lot to them.” Kids at this age, and older, can either write freely in blank journals or compose focused entries in writing prompt journals.

What to look for in a quality kid’s journal

Ruled vs. blank pages

Most kids’ journals have either ruled or blank pages, and some journals for younger kids feature both page styles. Ruled pages have solid or dotted lines, similar to those seen on looseleaf paper or in workbooks. Journals with blank pages, including sketchbooks, give kids plenty of space to doodle, write or create scrapbooks. 

Writing prompts

Journals with prompts offer a guided approach to writing. The prompts are typically in the form of inspirational messages, thought-provoking questions or writing challenges. Many writing prompt journals are themed, in which all prompts revolve around the same subject or goal, like building self-esteem or writing poetry. 

Binding

If you’d like to invest in a kid’s journal with a decent lifespan, take a good look at the binding. As expected, the better it’s reinforced, the better it holds up to heavy handling. 

  • In perfect binding, pages are glued together along the spine. Quality is hit or miss, and in lower-quality journals, pages are prone to falling out.
  • Hardcover journals often have case binding, in which their pages are sewn together in small sections. These journals lay flat on desks, making them easier to write inside. Their pages are well-reinforced and won’t pull away from binding on their own. 
  • Coil and spiral binding, seen in both hard- and softcover journals, have perforated pages bound with plastic or metal coil. The pages turn 360 degrees, and the journal can be folded back for writing. Unfortunately, pages tear away from a coil rather easily.

Deluxe journal sets

When journals come with accessories like stationery, writing instruments or stickers, they’re called deluxe journal sets. Popular for gifting, they cater to a kid’s general interest in writing. Not only do they foster a constructive journaling environment, but many of these accessories can also be used for other activities, such as letter-writing, thank-you notes or school projects. 

How much you can expect to spend on a kid’s journal

Basic ruled or blank-page journals cost $10 and below, whereas journals with hardcovers and better bindings run closer to $20. The most expensive journals, priced $20-$35, are well-made and often come with accessories such as pens or stationery. 

Kid’s journal FAQ

Is writing in a journal better than typing on a PC or tablet?

A. It’s not necessarily a matter of being better; it’s a matter of a preferred medium. Kids who enjoy the physical acts of writing and drawing may prefer using pen and paper. Skilled or speedy typists may be partial to using devices, as they may appreciate the opportunity to edit or save their writing electronically. 

Which types of writing instruments should kids use for journals?

A. Pencils and ballpoint pens remain favorite options. Rollerball pens and fine-tip markers are ideal for journals with thicker pages that prevent bleeding through. Heavier and thicker markers, however, aren’t recommended. 

What’s the best kid’s journal to buy?

Top kid’s journal

Harry Potter Gryffindor Journal

Harry Potter Gryffindor Journal

What you need to know: A premium option, this durable hardcover journal has the quality of high-end adult journals. 

What you’ll love: The officially licensed journal has signature Harry Potter features, including a diecast metal crest. It has two ribbon bookmarks that you can use to section the journal. The durable design holds up well to heavy use. 

What you should consider: The Harry Potter journal is much heavier and bulkier than most options. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top kid’s journal for the money

Peaceable Kingdom Secrets, Dreams and Wishes Glow-In-The-Dark Journal

Peaceable Kingdom Secrets, Dreams and Wishes Glow-in-the-Dark Journal

What you need to know: This color journal, ideal for ages 6 and older, has 104 blank lined pages that can be used either for school or personal journaling. 

What you’ll love: The line spacing is wide enough to accommodate kids with larger handwriting. The rounded edges are considered kid-friendly, plus they’re less prone to sustaining damage or bending. Pages are thicker than most kids’ journals. 

What you should consider: Some people found the lock was flimsy and they had to replace it. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

The 3-Minute Gratitude Journal for Kids

The 3-Minute Gratitude Journal for Kids

What you need to know: Given its friendly design and various writing prompts, this is a popular first journal for kids.

What you’ll love: The journal has a good balance of guided prompts and free writing areas. It’s suitable for independent or collaborative writing with household members or therapists. The pages feature large, easy-to-read text and friendly characters. 

What you should consider: The journal has a soft cover and may tear with minimal use. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.