Skip to main content Buy Tickets

Port Discovery is open for play! The Museum is open on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays. Ticket availability is significantly limited and we have made a variety of other updates to provide you with a safe, fun experience. Plan Your Visit and Purchase Tickets Today! 
Planning Ahead? Tickets for summer visits and information about our Summer Hours of Operation will be available starting May 7th.

How-To DIY Journal Making at Home for Parents and Kids

With daily writing prompts included! 

Health & Wellness Play Tips

In this tutorial, you'll learn how to create homemade notebook that can be used as a journal or a sketchbook!

Each day during our Health & Wellness Play Tip week (Sunday, May 3 - Saturday, May 9th), Port Discovery will have a different writing prompt available for children and families. We strongly encourage parents/caregivers to create their own journals, and to complete the prompts alongside their children! 

This project is a great example of parallel play, where adults and childrens work on their own individual projects adjacent to one another, but do not try to influence one another’s behavior. 

Port Discovery's At Home Play Tips & Resources is generously sponsored by M&T Bank

Daily Writing Prompts

  1. What is your favorite thing about yourself?
  2. How does it feel to miss someone or something?
  3. What is the best feeling in the world?
  4. If you could be any kind of animal, what would you be? Why?
  5. Write a poem or draw a picture about something that you’re good at.
  6. What will the world be like in 50 years?
  7. Write or draw a list of all the things you have accomplished this week. How does it make you feel?

Materials Needed for Journal

  • Needle and thread
  • Wax (could just scoop from a candle)
  • Pen or Pencil
  • At least 3 pieces of paper
  • Something sharp to poke holes in the paper
  • Scissors
  • Something sturdy for the book cover (we used felt, but cardboard or thick paper could also work!)


Step 1: Get together all of your materials. You will need at least 3 pieces of paper, a scissor, a needle and thread, some wax, something pointy to poke holes, and something to use as your book cover

Step 2: Stack all three pieces of paper evenly on top of each other, then fold them in half hamburger style

Step 3: While keeping your paper stacked, unfold it and open it back up. Using your pen or pencil, draw three holes right on the center crease. Draw one hold towards the top, one in the center, and one towards the bottom. Make sure the top and bottom holes are not too close to the edge, or else your paper might rip while sewing.

Step 4: Use something pointy to poke a hole through each of the three dots that you just marked. Be very careful with this part. Grown-ups are strongly encouraged to help with this part!

Step 5: Cut your thread. The length of your thread will depend on the size of your paper, but assume that it should be around 2-3 times as long as the surface you will be sewing.

Step 6: Prep your thread. Scoop a small piece of wax from your candle. Run the thread through the wax a few times to thoroughly coat the thread. This will make the thread stronger and will help to keep it from tangling.

Step 7: Now it’s time to start sewing your book together! Place the open pages on top of your cover. Notice how the cover of the book should be slightly larger than the pages. If you are using a stiffer cover, punch holes through the cover so that they match up with the holes punch in your paper. If you are using a softer cover, you can sew right through without punching new holes. To begin sewing, bring your needle through the inside of the middle hole and out through the cover. Make sure to leave about 4 inches of thread to tie off at the end.

Step 8: Now bring your needle through the outside cover and top hole that you punched. Pull tight enough so that the string is taught, but not too tight that the pages rip.

Step 9: Now bring your needle through the inside of your book through the middle hole again. Remember pull your string as you go to make sure that it’s nice and tight.

Step 10: Now we’re going to bring our string through the outside of our cover and through the bottom hole. We’re almost done!

Step 11: At this point, you will notice that there is a line of thread connecting the top hole to the middle hole. Pull your needle and thread under that line. This will help you to tie a tighter knot. Once your thread is underneath, tie a knot using the tail of thread that was left from the beginning.

Step 12: Cut off any excess thread.

Step 13: Fold the cover of your book in half over your pages.

Step 14: You’re all done! You’re ready to begin writing in your brand new book!


Back to top