Who else is ready for a new year? The new year is my favorite holiday. So are birthdays. I’m excited to share a few great books to cultivate a little creativity all year long for your kids, or perhaps yourself!
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This post has been edited from it’s original post date of December 2020 to include new titles in the series. You can now watch on YouTube or read on for the blog review.
“Do you have a kid who enjoys writing and art? How about geography, science, or nature? Are you a memory keeper? If so, you will want to check out one of my favorite series from Kane Miller. “My Year of….” journals are unique, quirky, and and “imaginatively offbeat” – perhaps that’s why I think they are so awesome! This series of books are ones you write in, be creative in, think in, discover in, and make them exclusively yours! While they are similar in format, the content is different. All six books provide activities that are quick, simple, and fun! Whoever the “author” is, it will surely be a one-of-a-kind keepsake at the end of 365 days! Let me give you a brief overview of each of them!
A Year of Series Descriptions
A Year In My Life is the original in this series. It contains 365 writing and drawing activities. Prompts include your day-to-day life, thoughts, dreams, silly things, and more to stretch the imagination! Sketch, scribble, and write your way through the entire year! Activity examples include: “Look at your feet, and write down everywhere you walked today”, “Make up a sentence about today, but write it backward”, “If today was an instrument, what would it be? Draw it”. “Draw the smallest thing you saw today, but make it enormous!”
My Year of Art contains 365 prompts to draw, paint, write, make collages, and more! The front of the book provides a list of materials and tips to use in the journal. All of them can be found in most homes. Activities examples include: “Using a pencil, trace the outline of a key. If this key could open any door, which door would it be?”, “Look at a piece of clothing you are wearing, and draw its texture using a pencil”, “Make a list of all the green things you saw today”. There are also several pages about famous artists, and prompts for using their techniques in your journal.
My Year Around the World takes the adventurer on 365 travel-themed activities. Learn about people, places, culture, and critters from all over the world. Activity examples include prompts such as: “Mawsynram is a village in India that gets about 40 feet of rainfall each year. Design an umbrella for your trip to Mawsynram.”, “In Lapland, Finland, you can spend the night in a dome made of glass. What would be good and bad about staying in a see-through building?”. “When their baby teeth fall out, children in Greece make a wish and throw them onto the roof! Invent a funny thing to do with your baby teeth.”.
My Year of Nature contains activities inspired from the natural world of plants, animals, weather, habitats, and more! Activity examples include: “Pick a bird you like and find a picture of its feathers. Then draw one as closely as you can.”, “How many brown animals can you think of? Give yourself two minutes to write as many as you can.”, “If spring had a taste, what would it be?”.
My Year of Discovery takes the explorer into space, back in time, and around the natural world with 365 STEM-themed activities. Examples include: “Tumbleweeds grow into a rounded shape In the fall, they dry out, detach from the ground, and blow around by the wind. Imagine you’re a tumbleweed. Describe your journey. How far do you go? What do you see?”, “If you had a robot helper, what would you like it to do?”
My Year of Writing contains 365 writing challenges that cover stories, poems, persuasive writing, and more! Examples include: “Write a description of yourself, but don’t use the letter E”, “Write a one sentence description of a swamp or a bog. Be as vivid as you can.”, “Write down all the adjectives you can think of to describe food.”.
Who can journal?
The publisher’s recommended ages is for ages 8 and up. With some help, younger kids could use these as well. Older kids who may not enjoy writing and journaling will love the style of this book. The simple pen and ink illustrations throughout add interest, and the most difficult part (the idea) is done for you!
I also like the idea of making it a family affair! How fun would it be to go back and read them on New Year’s Eve? Birthdays are another great time to start! Moms, dads, and even grandparents can use the journals! What a keepsake it would be to read the words or view the sketches of grandparents!
Expand the contributors by leaving a journal on the coffee table for any family member or visitor to fill in a day. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a sketch from an aunt or a short writing prompt filled in by your favorite uncle? Homeschool families could use them in their lunch crate or in the form of a needed brain break. Of course, you could also do it all yourself and have a book that’s totally you!
Every day is a new day to be creative!