Guide to Nature Journaling
by Shelly White
journaling, simply put, is drawing and writing
about the world around you in whatever way you
choose. It is a lovely way to enjoy the outdoors,
learn to be more observant of the world around
you and slow down a little. Observing and learning
about the natural world is the first step to
an interest in science and conservation.
few basic supplies are all you need. Get some
type of notebook, preferable at least partially
unlined. A good sketch pad does have the advantage
of lying flat open and providing a hard surface
to draw on. Pencils, crayons, charcoal and even
watercolor paints (with thick enough paper)
can be used. Prismacolor pencils are my personal
choice. They have soft leads, are easily blendable
and have brilliant colors. (You can click here
to visit Dick Blick, a source for Prismacolor
pencil set and great sketch pads!) Check out
of the library or bookstore for a couple of
books on nature journals or field guides to
birds, mammals or rocks.
let getting started by intimidating. Just observe:
look out a window, sit in the backyard, visit
a park or zoo, or even look at the cat sleeping!
It doesn't have to be anything grand. Open a
page and draw something. Just draw what you
see. Simple is fine. Then, write what you are
thinking about. "This is the first sunny
day we have had since November. I love the first
snow of winter. That cat just won't stay off
the couch." Whatever! Perfection is not
allowed! It is nice to date entries so that
you have a record, a journal of your observations.
journaling is a great activity to do with a
child. You are combining small motor skills,
art, handwriting, basic science, language arts
and physical activity all in one. Provide your
child with nice supplies. Make sure they have
a hard serface to write on. One caveat. Don't
use very cheap colored pencils. They can be
discouraging. And remember, crayons may melt
if it is too hot out. Supply a sketch pad, drawing
materials and maybe a water bottle in a bag
and you are ready. Start out with a walk to
burn off some energy. Allow time for exploring
and movement. When she shows interest in a flower
or squirrel, stop and encourage her to draw
for a moment. Then allow her to narrate what
she is thinking to you. A 3 to 4 year old may
only have a 5 minute attention span. When you
get home, show off the journal. Your child will
love it. Maybe grab some books related to waht
you saw and read them that night.
journaling can be a rewarding and enjoyable
way to teach observation of nature to you children
and learn a little about the world around us
along the way!
your pets at home can provide a
lesson in nature on a rainy day!
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