Why I Carry a Sketchbook (for my kids)

Do you carry a sketchbook or art journal?

I carry an art journal with me almost all the time.

I say “almost” because today I found myself without it — left behind in my art studio — and I furiously scrambled for scraps of paper to entertain my 3-year old during an impromptu meeting.

Thankfully she was happy with a book I had in my bag and found a way to keep herself busy for close to an hour. If you’re a parent, you’ll understand where I’m coming from.

That need to deliver a special magic bullet that your child will swoon over for an endless period of time. Or at least until you finish a conversation or eat a meal. Why I carry a sketchbook The other day, three-year old Rainbow and I were hanging out during her sister’s dance class, and I encouraged her to dance along on the sidelines. This child loves to dance so much that she insists on wearing ballet slippers everywhere.

No joke.

They’re the dirtiest ballet shoes you’ve ever seen. But on this day, she wasn’t interested.

Probably too much dancing in the grocery store aisles. So I brought out my sketchbook and started to draw in it. 

Have you experienced the phenomena of drawing in a sketchbook with a child looking on? It can be like bringing out a piece of candy and devouring it in front of them. They can’t resist it, and usually beg to join in.

Well, this is the case with my kids anyway, and I encourage you to try it and see what happens. In the spirit of research, please let me know how it goes. 

I made a simple line drawing of a tree and some stars. Nothing fancy. It was all for me and she must have sensed the exclusivity of it.

Rainbow looked on, chomping at the bit, and asked me for her markers (which I also try to carry with me at all times).

I happily passed her the book and she got right to work filling in my drawings and adding her own marks. How the sketchbook saves the day. I gave her some room and ten minutes after the class ended she was still at it. Why I carry a sketchbook We had to coax her her outside with a promise of dinner.

A Question for You

I’m always eager to find fun things to carry in my bag for my kids. What’s your go-to toy, tool, or piece of entertainment magic?


  1. Ours is our little art travel pack too – sketchbook, pencils, crayons, watercolours, fine-tipped markers. My littles LOVE to draw. We’ve doing the #tinkersketch and Jack will lay on the ground like your little one for over an hour drawing!

    I also pop our ribbon wands in if we are going somewhere where there is room to run and move. They are always a huge hit.

    • Hi Kate! I think it’s great that you carry so many different materials in your travel pack. We usually do the same when we travel, and I’ve also noticed that my kids horde materials in the car. I love hearing that Jack will draw for such a long period of time. You’re doing a great job teaching him stamina and how to focus. Great idea to carry ribbon wands along — I’ve never done that and I know my kids would really enjoy that.

      • ha! It’s not me. It’s all Jack. He just really loves drawing. We’ve started a Daily Draw incorporating the Tinkersketches as well as other prompts and he is just LOVING it.

  2. I love the little thing holding her markers! Where did you get it or did you make it? Thanks

  3. We almost always have some Mad Libs in my purse. And some sort of paper and writing implement. One or the other always seems to keep boredom at bay.

    • Hi Tina,
      I loved Mad Libs when I was a kid. Since my kids are younger I hadn’t thought of that, but I imagine that my 5-year old would love these. Thanks for the suggestion!

  4. I absolutely love her expression of total concentration as she draws! I usually have a small notebook in my purse that we use for notes and/or drawing. I like the idea of getting a special kid art journal, though…

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