Notebooks for Kids

I just had a visit from my young niece and nephew. We were celebrating birthdays, and one of the presents I gave my niece was a diary with a little padlock, which also came with an invisible ink pen, viewable only with its built-in special light. She loved it and I caught my nephew giving it some jealous looks.
At another point in their visit, I thought they might like to write down or draw some of the things they’d seen. I remembered how much I liked small notebooks at their age, so I thought I might give them a couple of the extras from my stash. Maybe they were just distracted by other things, but they had absolutely ZERO interest in being given a notebook. I also thought about giving them each one of my Uniball MF3 multi-pens but I decided not to. While a multi-pen has a bit more of a gee-whiz factor than a notebook, I still wasn’t sure they’d appreciate it.
This got me thinking about what kinds of things kids think are cool. Things that are made for kids, like that locking diary, are usually colorful and cartoony, and have extra features like noises or lights or magical changing colors to make them interesting. Sometimes, I guess this is exactly what kids want. But other kids want things that are REAL– you know how you can give babies a toy phone, but they’ll still prefer to play with your real cell phone? It can apply to older kids too– sometimes they don’t want the imitation kid version of a thing, they want the actual adult thing it’s based on. My niece and nephew are only 6 and 5 years old, so they might not appreciate that distinction yet. But I’ve given real adult notebooks to older kids in my family who seemed to like them, so maybe there’s still hope!
Are notebook lovers born or made? Did you like notebooks as a kid? Are there any fun notebook styles that kids particularly like? Let’s hear about them in the comments!

11 thoughts on “Notebooks for Kids”

  1. I was obsessed with locking diaries as a kid. I didn’t get one till I turned 9, though, but had various other notebooks and stuff anyway because I could write Diary on the cover and it would be almost the same as a locking diary, or something. Maybe you just don’t have very literary kids to interact with. Cuz I’ve always had word diarrhea, even as a child.

  2. I have always loved office supplies. My mom was a secretary at an elementary school and I remember I loved going to work with her a few weeks before school started to check in all the inventory teachers ordered for their classrooms. Piles of paper, pens, pencils, notebooks, grade books, staplers, notecards, scissors… I always begged to be taken back-to-school shopping after that! I don’t know if I was born that way or the yearly piles of swag just made me into it, but I am a notebook and pen geek to the core.

  3. I’ve always loved school supplies, maybe because my mother is a teacher, and my family only splurged on school-related stuff, probably as a way to stressing the importance of school and education? Anyways, my niece is 5 and she loves my moleskines, fountain pens, hi-tec coleto in diff colors… so does the 6 yr old, which loves playing hang man in the moleskine. But I agree with you, I think part of the fun is that they know it’s a grown-up notebook, not their school notebook.

  4. I had never really been interested in that kind of thing until about 2 years ago when I got into writing as a serious hobby. It was then I grew a fascination for all things notebooks and pens.

    This turned into more of an obsession, and at this point I have turned all my friends and family onto moleskines and fountain pens. They may not use them, but they WILL appreciate them if it’s the last thing I do.

  5. I’ve always loved notebooks and managed to collect quite a few when I was younger. Unlike today, I did not write very much in my notebooks, and do not recall being attracted to any particular style. I think that I would have preferred a more “adult-looking” notebook as a child than one specially targeted towards children; those sorts of things never really appealed to me that much. One of my favourites was a simple spiral-bound black-covered notebook – nothing special, but I liked it because it felt mysterious and secret, sort of like the kind of thing Harriet the Spy would carry.

  6. I had my first locking diary at 10, but I always had some notebooks, because my mom was a teacher and she brought me lot of stuff from school. My grandfather has one very old, black covered notebook. He wrote there some notices about the car, there were also some road signs and pressed text – it was like moleskine only for car drivers:))) And he had this one together with vintage ball-pen in the drawer – so I went and picked it out, “reading” it for hours… actually, I didn´t understand a word, because I was 6 and knew only a few letters, and later… I didn´t understand that notices about car:)))

  7. I started using notebooks for scrap booking/journaling when I was 10, I used them for a few years then stopped till I was 17 when I became addicted to writing. My little brother who is now eleven has 4 notebooks and my old typewriter. He is writing a zine, a novel and a screenplay. Far more than I did as a kid. I don’t know if he has a style as yet but he seems to go for cheep and basic, whatever the pocket money can stretch too.

  8. For me, some of this is a function of how I grew up—just a tad on the poor side, so any gift was exciting, even small things. My brother gave me a teeny padlock when he joined the army that couldn’t be ripped from me (until I eventually lost the wee thing). I still feel that way today; colorful pencils and notebooks from O’BON are still exciting to me as small things that make me happy. If I’d grown up today in a typical middle-class family, I would probably be more distracted by games and flashing gadgets. Plus, there probably is an office supply gene.

  9. Back-to-school shopping was always one of my favorite events. I might have enjoyed it as much as Christmas every year. One of the best things about having children was getting to do that again with them. Someone gave me a locking diary when I was 12, and my love of journals, accounting record books, notebooks and stationery I trace to that gift.

    I have a nephew who is going on 11. At a wedding last year he noticed the pocket notebook I was carrying (a Moleskine Volant, though I use all kinds) and he was intrigued. I told him that one should never be without a notebook. So for Christmas I gave him an assortment of pocket notebooks as a gift. According to his mom he’s already used them up and they have had to replenish them with a trip to his local bookstore. Another notebookista is born/made!

  10. There is definitely an office supply addiction gene. My mom could never go shopping without checking out the school supply aisle and I can’t either. I have always been in love with notebooks, paper, pens, everything related to writing, scribbling and drawing. My kids like notebooks too, but they haven’t quite settled on a particular style. Right now, they like cool spirals (the ones that are clearly aimed at teen buyers), but my son never misses an opportunity to grab my Moleskine (graph paper style) and leave little cartoons for me. My daughter has a whole stack of little notebooks from the dollar aisle at Michael’s in her room which she uses for stories, poems and lists.

  11. I clearly remember my first diary, started maybe when I was 9 or 10. I’ve never been without notebooks for writing and have a metric crapton of journals and notebooks I have used in my lifetime. My niece (6) and nephew(7) love the fact that I always have cool pens and paper with me, so I suppose I’m passing the notebook addiction on to the next generation. Last fall I took them each a notebook and colored pencils and a pencil sharpener and eraser when I saw them…they immediately tore into everything and my nephew started drawing a robot mailman named Mail-y. It’s so important to encourage young ones to be creative. Some people are and some people aren’t but it starts young if it’s going to start at all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.