This summer I was in charge of our Thursday art lessons, and I wanted to encourage creativity every day of camp. So I went into our supply closet and found some small notebooks that had been generously donated by American Eagle to our program, and thus our art journals were born.
It is a very simple concept that the kids wanted to do every day. We provided the journals, supplies and an example. They brought their imagination and creativity.
We provided one 4 x 6.5 in. journal to each student for the month of summer programming. Instead of wasting loose leaf paper during our station time, we encouraged them to use their art journal so they could take it home at the end of camp and remember their time with us. Each day we set up a table with their journals, markers, colored pencils, magazines, scissors and glue. As they came into camp, they would pick a "station": card games, books, mancala, crochet, sidewalk chalk or art journals. Our goal was to provide several different activities, and then they could make a choice.
They could cover the exterior with pictures from the magazines or use colored art paper. Then, they wrote their names on the inside cover. Going page by page, our students filled their art journals with doodles, drawings, paintings and collages.
Our only rule: Do not write in your friends' journals unless they ask you to do so.
They really enjoyed going through the magazines, cutting and pasting images on to the pages, and then sometimes coloring the images and/or creating scenes around the image.
We encouraged them to write, make patterns, or try to design something new. It was great to see their creations. One student made her journal into a passport and then wrote about what we did each day. Another student liked putting together different outfits and jewelry from the magazines, while another student drew animals.
Overall the majority of our students participated in this station daily. In fact, we are planning to offer art journals during our upcoming afterschool program because it went over so well. Art journals can provide an outlet for students, allowing them to express their feelings in a creative way. Some of the best conversations we had this summer were while sitting with our students at the table, drawing together.
For more Art journal DIY and inspiration see this post, and for more fun projects and inspiration follow our pinterest board.