WHAT IS NATURE JOURNALING?
Nature journaling is simply recording observations of nature. It’s all about getting outside and recording in a variety of ways what you see in nature. Nature journaling with your children is a great way to connect them to the outdoors and helping them to see the natural world – the trees, animals, insects, fungus, etc.
There are no rules when it comes to nature journals. A nature journal might include sketches of animals and insects, pressed flowers, notes copied from a book, nature-inspired poetry, or photographs. You can have rubbings of bark and different textures. There might be paintings or sketches of what you see. It can be simple or very creative. It can follow one theme, or it might cover many topics.
WHY NATURE JOURNALING?
Why not take time to slow down and see what is around you – up close and in person? You get to experience more of what is in nature rather than just rushing by.
Gets you outdoors!
It doesn’t have to be a park or something grand like camping at Yellowstone National Park. Your backyard is great! Go down the street and see what you can find.
Builds observational skills
It encourages children to see the detail in the bigger picture. You use senses such as sight, sound, smell and touch, and therefore observe in more than one way.
This gives the opportunity to try something new. Draw. Paint. Try photography. Can you make a collage of what you see? Write a poem. Compose a song.
Nature journaling goes across many different subjects – English, Art, Music, Science, Social Studies. This is what is great about it.
In learning about nature you can take time to learn about conservation. Have a favorite park or creek? What would happen if pollution continued? What can you do to protect the area so you can keep coming back for observations?
Encourages physical activity
Taking a hike into a new area is fun. Climb a tree to look closely (without touching) a bird’s nest. Getting out in nature involves physical activity.
I love it when seeing something can spark an interest. Using the internet is great to follow up on questions your children might have about what they have seen. Maybe it instills a new love of bugs and they want to learn all that they can about them. Awesome.
I really like Charlotte Mason’s approach to education. You can check out my vlog/blog post about her educational philosophy. She was very big into nature journaling and it is an important part of a Charlotte Mason curriculum.
“As soon as he is able to keep it himself, a nature-diary is a source of delight to a child. Every day’s walk gives him something to enter: three squirrels in a larch tree, a jay flying across such a field, a caterpillar climbing up a nettle, a snail eating a cabbage leaf, a spider dropping suddenly to the ground, where he found ground ivy, how it was growing and what plants were growing with it, how bindweed or ivy manages to climb” (Home Education, p. 54).Charlotte Mason
NATURE POEMS FOR KIDS
Nature poems are a great way to foster creativity in children. You can google and find many poems for kids. Here is a compilation of 49 nature poems that are drawn from a variety of poets. One of the poems, or rather songs, that the girls and I enjoy is What a Wonderful World, especially the cover by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.
What a wonderful world:
I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
It is a great way to open discussions about what we see.
Haiku about nature
Haikus are one of my favorite poems to write. This is a run one about rain by David Fox.
Rain hits my window
Angels tap-dancing softly
A heavenly sound
On one of our sojourns outside, we (the girls and I) wrote a poem. They had fun with it. We talked about how poems don’t have to rhyme (though I do love rhyming poems) and let them write based on what they saw.
Sketching is not something that I am honestly good at, but it doesn’t stop me from trying, especially as I want to model giving it a go for my girls. Because you really don’t want to see my sketching, I will share with you 2 drawings by my older brother, who got the drawing genes from our mother. These are a great example of nature sketching.
JOURNALING WITH KIDS
It really is easy to nature journal with kids. You get out there, armed with a notebook, and give it a go. But if you need ideas, there are some easy printable journals or sheets you can get online. This can be a great place to start. Don’t let not knowing where to start hold you back.