Make the World Your Child’s Classroom

Regardless of the destination, each trip you take with your child is a memory to treasure. So why not help him preserve those experiences in the form of a travel art journal?

Making one is simple enough: just dedicate a blank notebook or sketchpad to it. Your little one can even design and personalize the cover.

But what makes it really special is how the two of you can work on it together, especially since maintaining this journal can have many benefits:

1. It serves as the perfect outlet for creative self-expression.

By doing this project, you’re giving your little artist a place to document his observations and thoughts without limits. So when he shows you his work, take the opportunity to show your appreciation and give constructive suggestions. The recognition your child receives for good work helps him realize his own value.

You can encourage his creativity even more by taking photos together for the journal. On your next trip, lend him the camera and see what snapshots he ends up with. Later, you can help him pick out and print the best ones as you reflect on your experiences together.

2. It trains motor skills.

All that writing, drawing, coloring, and more mean his finger muscles are getting loads of exercise. He may be slow to start, maybe even fumbling with his designs. But once he gets the hang of it, you'll be amazed at your child's much-improved dexterity, hand stability, muscle tone, strength, and balance.

How could you make it even better? Give your child specific tasks that require deliberate hand control. Ask him to trace-draw his own photos, illustrations from his picture books, or zany cartoons in newspapers and magazines.

 

3. It enhances focus and concentration.

Maintaining a travel art journal takes a lot of work. It’s a combination of several artistic skills (coloring, cutting, pasting, etc.) applied to a page at a time. However your child decides to go about it, he will have to implement a systematic process. Does he make the line drawings first before coloring them in? Does he stick the big leaf first or the small one? He will have to figure it out as he goes along. By doing so, not only does he learn to plan and execute, but he also develops focus and attention to detail.

4. It develops a sense of aesthetic.

If you can’t help but marvel at the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells in a foreign land, imagine how even more exotic these are to your little one. His heightened awareness helps him gain a deeper appreciation for the world’s beauty.

You can further develop his aesthetic sense by sharing your favorite pieces of art and literature with him. Be they simple magazine clippings, poems you dearly love, or original material by you, your child will benefit from a wealth of inspiration.

5. It fosters environmental awareness.

Going from place to place gives your child ample opportunities to observe and interact with nature. Make him witness a captivating sunset, touch a makahiya, or literally stop and smell the flowers. He can even pick a flower or leaf and press it in his art journal as a souvenir.

But it’s not enough to just appreciate nature. Show your little one how to care for it too. Teach him how to throw his trash properly or even reuse and recycle objects.

There are so many reasons to start exploring the world with your child and get a travel art journal going, but perhaps the only one you really need is getting to spend heaps of quality time with your little one. This shared endeavor will bring you together as collaborators that trust and value each other.

So start expanding your child's horizons with a couple of travel destinations that you'll both enjoy.Before you know it, your child will be on the road to greater learning.

References:

• Nature Crafts. Retrieved on June 29, 2010 from the Family Crafts Website:http://familycrafts.about.com/od/naturecrafts/Nature_Crafts.htm
• Flower Fairies. Retrieved on June 29, 2010 from the Disney Family Fun Website:http://familyfun.go.com/crafts/flower-fairies-895315/
• A Place Of Our Own: Stencils and Coloring Books. Retrieved from the A Place Of Our Own Website: http://aplaceofourown.org/activity.php?id=378
• Picture Books and the Art of Collage. Retrieved from The Free Library Website:http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Picture+books+and+the+art+of+collage.-a0110310807
• The Role of Art in A Child's Development. Retrieved from ArticleOnlineDirectory: http://www.articleonlinedirectory.com/Art/494451/1/the-role-of-art-in-a-...
• Art and Critical Thinking. Retrieved on January 30, 2011 from the Albany Institute of History and Art Website: http://www.albanyinstitute.org/Education/criticalthinking/activities.htm
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• The Health Benefits of Journalling. Retrieved from Psych Central Website on January 30, 2011: http://psychcentral.com/lib/2006/the-health-benefits-of-journaling/

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