Journaling is a powerful tool for any teacher to equip his or her students with. The act of daily writing empowers kids to express their thoughts and feelings readily and promotes reflection and self-awareness. However, while journaling is often a reflection of what’s going on in a child’s daily life, it can also be used to promote action on its own.
In this new set of journaling challenges, students will receive a new activity to try out for a week or a month at a time. Each journaling challenge is designed to help your students try new things, to express themselves in new ways, or to promote positive behaviors.
Encourage your students to stick with each challenge every single day for the duration of your choosing, and then ask them to write small daily reflections and updates or a larger, more thoughtful journal entry at the end of the project. After performing the same daily actions and reflecting on their experiences, students will have a new understanding of the activity they completed as well as a deeper appreciation for the benefits of reflective writing.
35 Journaling Challenges for Kids
1. Each morning, write down a positive thought in your journal that you will try to remember when the day gets stressful or you’re upset.
2. Give someone a compliment every day and write about their reactions.
3. Try a brand new food every single day.
4. Every morning or afternoon, spend 15 minutes reading the news and learning about current events in our world.
5. Write a list each day of everything that made you feel happy that day.
6. Focus on smiling at other people when you pass them in the halls or on the playground.
7. When you disagree with people, ask them to explain their perspectives to you instead of arguing with them.
8. Spend at least 30 minutes outside every day.
9. Avoid saying anything mean, negative, or bad about anyone.
10. Learn three new facts every day and write them down in your journal. At the end of the project, ask a friend to quiz you on them and see how many you can remember.
11. Commit to getting rid of one thing you don’t need every single day. Throw away old papers, donate old toys, or recycle something you can no longer use.
12. Write down one positive thing you love about yourself every day.
13. Focus on listening instead of talking. Ask lots of questions and get to know the people around you instead of talking about your own experiences.
14. Ask your mom or dad to tell you a story about their past each day.
15. Take a picture of something every day.
16. Listen to a new song every day and think about what the lyrics mean.
17. Spend 10 minutes each day putting things away around your room (or some other area of the house) so that you don’t have to clean it all at once.
18. Before school each morning, spend 5 minutes thinking about what kind of day you want to have and imagine yourself having a great day.
19. Perform a random act of kindness each day.
20. Avoid talking about other people when they aren’t around.
21. Spend 20 minutes each day just sitting down and thinking. Let your mind wander wherever it wants!
22. When you wake up each morning, think for 3-5 minutes about the most important thing you have to do that day and how you will achieve it.
23. Practice daily gratitude—say “thank you” often and make sure to let at least one person each day know how much you appreciate having him or her in your life.
24. Choose a random skill or hobby you’d like to learn and practice it every single day for 15-30 minutes.
25. Spend 15 minutes each day dreaming about your future and considering what kind of job you’d like to have, where you want to live, and who you’d like to be.
26. Spend one hour each day in a room without any electronic devices (or with the devices turned off).
27. Keep a dream journal.
28. Think of one habit or behavior you have that you’d like to change. Give up the habit or commit to an alternative behavior for the duration of the project. If it gets too hard, tell yourself you can go back to it when the project is over. (Of course, you might not want to anymore after you’ve gotten used to your new behavior over time!)
29. Try to wear something different every day that you wouldn’t normally try—a new hairstyle, an unusual color combination, a necklace worn as a bracelet, etc.
30. Learn a new word each day.
31. Write a poem or short story every day.
32. Draw a picture each day of one thing you did, saw, or experienced.
33. Right before you go to sleep, spend five minutes thinking about your favorite part of the day.
34. Spend 20 minutes each day doing something active—running, walking, biking, swimming, etc.
35. Think of something you’d like to learn more about. Spend 20 minutes each day researching or reading a book about the topic.