Great Ideas Journal (Leonardo DaVinci Activity)

The kids have loved learning about the amazing ideas of Leonardo DaVinci.  One of the things they found interesting was that he was constantly writing down his ideas in journals.  They could be random ideas or sketches.  They were partial thoughts...not plans for a complete invention.  We talked about how we all get neat ideas for things but then never go back and finish thinking them through or doing anything about them.  Having a journal to put down your great ideas on paper is a fantastic way to encourage creativity and inventiveness.

So the kids made their own Great Ideas Journals.  Leatherwork was a common art form in the Renaissance times so I picked up some leather book cover kits at Tandy Leather.

The book cover kit is all put together and ready to go but it allows for creativity in decorating and customizing the look of their journals.  First you use a damp sponge and moisten the leather.  This makes it softer and easier to use the leather stamps.  We have lots of leather stamps and a mallet so I let the kids do their own thing with those.

Nicholas made a border around his then wrote "Great Ideas" in freehand on the cover.

He added some swirls on the cover as well.  Then he used a leather stain to really bring out the beautiful color of the leather.

Here is his finished journal cover.  I bought some plain sketch books for their journal.  They just slide into the pockets on the inside.  The journals can be replaced when they get full and they can still keep the same leather cover.

Rachel used a more tropical theme for her journal.  I love the sea shells and hibiscus flowers together.

She added a title and a few other decorations to her cover and then stained it as well.

Here are a few ideas from Rachel's Great Ideas Journal.  A huge multi-level tree house.

I like this idea below.  It is a robot that does her homework for her.  I think it might could be adapted to do housework too so I'm really encouraging her to pursue that idea a little further!

A journal is a great way for kids to get their thoughts on paper.  Kids should be encouraged to use the journals however works best for them.  Some kids might choose to draw sketches of their ideas to tinker or plans for the future, Others might want a journal with lined pages to write out their thoughts and feelings in words.  However they choose to use it is fine.  And they don't need a fancy leather cover.  A cute notebook from the dollar store works great too.  They can decorate the cover with markers and stickers and make it personal.

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