Make your own summer journal satchels

Did you hear that? It was the sound of children cheering wildly as school bells across Illinois rang for the last time this school year. To celebrate the end of the school year and kick off the best summer ever, assemble summer journal satchels with everything your kids need to record their adventures.

The key to getting kids to actually keep a summer journal is gathering together all the necessary supplies in one location so they can get writing when inspiration strikes. Whether your kids are summer camp-bound or just heading down to the local pool for the afternoon, they are going to have lots of new experiences. A journal encourages kids to take a few minutes each day to wind down and reflect on their activities.


Turn a plain canvas backpack into a fun summer craft.


  • Canvas drawstring backpack
  • Iron-on letters and embellishments or fabric markers
  • Iron (to be used by adults or older children only)
  • Blank journal
  • Colored pencils, markers or crayons
  • Disposable camera
  • Paper lunch bags or envelopesfor storing items
  • Glue sticks
  • Decorative stickers or scrapbooking supplies

Buy a plain canvas drawstring backpack and decorate with iron-on appliques. Spell out your child’s name and decorate with a fun theme (such as flowers or sports). To attach the appliques, peel one off and place on the fabric. Cover the appliques with a thin press cloth or towel and apply a hot iron in 30-second increments. Repeat until the appliques are securely attached. Once the appliques have set to the fabric, turn the backpack over, slide the iron inside and apply to the backside to seal the appliques. Be patient with this process because it can take a while for the iron-on appliques to attach completely. If you want to skip this step, use fabric markers to decorate the backpack instead.

Once you have your summer journal satchel ready to go, stock it with the necessary supplies. Include a blank, bound journal and colored markers or pencils. Provide a disposable camera so kids can capture images to add a visual element to their journal entries. Then throw in some extras to keep the journaling process fun. Options include summer or vacation-themed stickers, stamps and an ink pad, and a glue stick. Provide plain paper bags or envelopes so kids can collect and store mementos from their summer experiences (like dried flowers, ticket stubs or cool postcards). The bag or envelope can be glued right onto a page of the journal. Add personalized items based on your child’s interests. When you present your children with a summer journal satchel, challenge them to take 10 minutes each day to record their fabulous summer adventures in this special journal.

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