The Great War

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How to keep a diary: Top tips and guide to journaling for kids!

Start your own diary and journal!

We’ve got an audio series on Fun Kids called The Great War. It’s told from the viewpoint of a boy called Edward.

We know about Edward’s life during and after the Great War because he kept a diary which we can read today.

Do YOU keep a diary?

If so we’d love to hear about it and if you don’t here’s some reasons why it could be a great idea for you to start!

Diaries help us learn from the past

Historians love to find personal written material like letters and diaries because they can learn about what everyday life was like for people from the past.

If the person is famous, perhaps a King or Queen, we may learn more about the personality behind the pomp and what was important to them in private, away from servants and closed doors.

The diaries of everyday people are just as interesting – sometimes even more so.

Diaries can tell us about the sorts of food people ate, what they liked doing (and what they didn’t like doing!), and how they spent their time. Where the diary is very old, we can even get clues about how people would have spoken to each other by looking at the language used.

A very famous historical diary: Anne Frank

Anne was a girl from a Jewish Family who hid from the Nazis in World War Two, and eventually died in March 1945 in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. She was fifteen years old. Her diaries survive and not only tell of what it was like to live in such terrible times but show us how she was a normal girl with hopes and dreams, who liked lots of the same things you probably like.

She loved keeping a diary and said:

‘Will I ever be able to write something great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer? I hope so, oh, I hope so very much, because writing allows me to record everything, all my thoughts, ideals and fantasies.’

Diaries can help us when we are anxious

When we write about what is happening to us it can sometimes make it easier to make sense of things.

If we find we are frequently writing about a particular situation which is making us unhappy that’s a clue that perhaps we need some help.

Feelings can be complicated but writing them down can help us unpick some of the “knots”.

Diaries can keep a secret

Shh! You can tell a diary anything and they won’t tell – although you may want to get a lockable diary!

Diaries can capture special times

If you re-read your diaries from when you were smaller you might be reminded about a much-loved family pet, an amazing Christmas or a brilliant holiday.

With a bit of imagination, you’ll be back on the beach in no time!

Remembering happy occasions can help us see that life isn’t always so bad, and help us feel hopeful about what’s to come. If you write down funny things that have happened, and good jokes you’ve learned you can give your future self a giggle!

Diaries are a gift to ourselves

Imagine being an old lady or old man, reading back your diary entries from when you were a little girl or boy.

Wouldn’t that be interesting?

It might remind you of what you were like when you were younger, who your friends were and what family life was like.

You might share it with your own children or even your grandchildren and even great-grandchildren who might not realise you were a skateboarding star or the class clown.

Diaries can be digital

You might think you’re not interested in diaries but if you’re old enough, it’s possible you like reading blogs, or watching – “Vlogs” – videos online of people talking about their life. Sharing experiences in this way can look like fun, and a way to connect and help and entertain other people, but, remember you shouldn’t post any personal information online – and you can’t keep something secret if you have millions of subscribers! (It’s much safer to share your thoughts with a private page in a book).


What you’ll need:

Something to write in:

  • Notebooks come in all sorts of designs so you can choose one that suits your personality. Maybe you prefer something pocket sized – or if you love to write choose a big one with lots of pages!
  • You can buy Diaries which have a page for each day. Some have a padlock to keep your secrets safe.
  • Maybe you prefer to write a Digital Diary – using an app on your tablet, laptop, PC, or even your mobile phone! (Check with a grown up before you use new apps).
  • If you fancy a larger space in which to get creative, why not opt for a Scrapbook? – Especially if you want to make a super dazzling diary with mementoes included.

Something to write with:

Pens and Pencils – black or blue or any colour you like! Maybe you enjoy writing with a posh fountain pen with purple ink, or perhaps you’re happier with a cheap and cheerful pencil with an eraser on so you can make changes to what you’ve written.

Things which can help make a super dazzling diary!

  • Coloured pens or pencils.
  • Stickers and stamps.
  • Photographs of people or places you like.
  • Postcards from places you have visited.
  • Souvenirs from days out – tickets from sports events or wristbands.
  • Interesting things you have found – e.g. nice leaves or cartoons from a newspaper.
  • Gluestick/Tape to keep treasures secure.

If you keep a diary why not tell us all about it?

Let us know in the comments below!

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The Great War

The Great War - Life through a Child's Eye.

More From The Great War