With all of this heat in Portland, it feels like summer is already here.  The kids will be out of school soon, and they will suddenly wander around the house asking what you are going to do with them.  Here’s an craft idea that will be special all summer: a summer adventure journal. 

The tradition of recording travel and other new experiences is a very old Western European tradition — and a tradition in most cultures worldwide. As early as the 5th-4th century BC, Mu tianzi zhuan of China recorded his experiences in the first known travel book on the Silk Road. It tells of his journey to the Tarim basin, the Pamir mountains, and further into today’s Iran region. In the West, Itinerary by Antonius was written in the third century AD.

When European explorers began to chart new parts of the world in the 15th and 16th centuries, they recorded their experiences.  Reading these journals, often aloud, was a popular pastime in 17th-century Europe.  As travel opened up and became more common in the 18th and 19th centuries, even “regular” (but still rather wealthy) people, who went on holiday or moved to new lands would write about their experiences.  At that time, it was imagined that a journal was to be shared. It might be read aloud or passed along and read by others.  In the 20th century, people began to keep diaries (a little bit after the advent of psychoanalysis).   A diary was imagined as something more personal, and maybe even secret, where you recorded feelings and thoughts. What will your journal be?  It’s up to you to decide.  Kids will have fun all summer writing, drawing and collaging in their journals.  And adults will to.  And then many years from now, you will have a beautiful artifact (a piece of history) of the months ahead.  

What you will need:

A journal with a blank cover. There are good ones in the scrapbook section at Michael’s.

Paint, collage images, crayons, pastels, Modpodge or any other art supply

Begin by decorating the cover. Then, keep adding and telling your story throughout the summer.