Personal History Prompt Jar

~What could you see from your childhood bedroom window?

~What did you do, as a child, that got you in big trouble?

~Do you remember a favorite nursery rhyme?

~Have you ever gone fishing?

These are just a few of the personal history prompts that we’ve folded up mysteriously and sealed into a class jar. Someone you love–grandma, grampa, mom, dad–then, chooses one question each day to trigger a slew of childhood memories. It doesn’t matter so much if they write them down in a formal journal or a simple spiral notebook, as long as they start putting it on paper…for the rest of us to enjoy.

Probably the number one reason people hesitate to begin a journal or personal history in the first place, is because they have no idea where to start. So what better gift to give them than a box or bag or–in our case–a cleaned candle jar–of daily prompts with intriguing questions that will actually be fun to write about. If they answer only one question per day–in six months they will have quite an impressive history. And who knows? That history may just be their Christmas present to you–next year!


Click on the link below to make your own copy of the prompts. Print them on white or colored paper–or both. Cut them into strips. Fold them and store them in a bottle or box. Tie a ribbon around it–and there you have it. A family heirloom in the making. Oh, and adding a pretty pen and notebook or journal is a nice touch too.



Click the following link:

Personal History Prompts

16 Replies to “Personal History Prompt Jar”

  1. Thank you! This is perfect!! I haven’t quite known how to go about getting my parents to write more about their life for me and my children and I really think this is something they will do. Shoot I may even do it for my own kids – I’m not sure they care about knowing but maybe someday they will, and this is a great spring board to recall significant events in my life.

  2. I think we should do this for family night. That would be the perfect thing to look forward to after my oral defense this afternoon 🙂

    Oh, and I love those ornaments. So cute!

  3. This is a great idea. The perfect (& cheap) gift to give my parents. Not sure they will write anything down, but I am willing to give it a shot.

    You know why I love blogging so much? It gives us all reasons to write down the events of our life and/or our thoughts about what is going on in the world around us. And sharing with others helps us all understand each other better, our differences, our sameness & realize that maybe we are normal, or at least realize that our life might not be so bad. It’s nice to know other people have the same fears, hopes, dreams & dramas. Well not exactly the same, but close enough to know that we are not alone. It gives us a sense of belonging in the world. It connects us to one another. We are all truly brothers & sisters.

  4. Kim, that was beautiful–and so true. I’m new to this blogging world, but it has such a great power to connect people that I can’t wait to read and write every day. You were right when you said, “It’s addicting.” But it’s the people that I can’t get enough of. :]

  5. What an excellent idea! My family is big into family history and journals. I have a family history of most of my grand and great grandparents, but my own parents have not done their own histories! This would be a great way to get them started!
    Those darling ornaments remind me of some of my great grandma’s handmade ones! Super cute!

  6. This year for my 50th birthday my brothers flew out to spend it with me-all 4 of us dont get together very often. with both of my parents gone, I had most of all the old family photos- my daughter and I made all 4 of us scrapbooks. I so wish that we had something like your jar- as there are so many events we had pictures of but nothing to go along with it- I will have to start writing down everything so my children arent left wondering when I am gone!

    And I do love your blog- before I start to work every morning I have to check it out and see whats new!

  7. Wow! What a gift! How are Wayne and Norman? I remember them being so handsome. The jar would still help them remember things and get it on paper. After that, bribe them to make copies for everyone.
    You are so sweet…

  8. Found you because ScrapGirls tweeted a link to this page. It’s a great idea that would form a good foundation for storybooking your life. I like the visual of seeing the prompts in the jar. As the jar empties, I imagine it would be gratifying to see how much has been accomplished.

  9. Thank you so much! This is just what I needed for a journaling activity we’re doing for the teenage girls in our church!
    Thank you thank you!!

  10. You’re entirely welcome. Glad to be of help. My daughter used them in her Young Women’s class as well. Pretty fun activity. :}

  11. These prompts were exactly what I was looking for — thank you so much for sharing them with the world 🙂 I visit a 91-year old lady who is bored out of her gorde, and who doesn’t think she has accomplished enough, or led an interesting enough life to work on her life history. Well, she agreed that with prompts, she would get started. These are perfect! And now you are inspiring me to get my blog going so that I might be an influence for good to others — thanks again!

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