Mom's Guide to Nature Journaling

by Shelly White

Nature 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.

A 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.

Don't 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.
 

Nature 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.

Nature 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!

Even your pets at home can provide a
wonderful lesson in nature on a rainy day!

 
 

 
All rights reserved by the author - © March 2004
Permission to reprint is possible, please contact the author for consideration.

 

 

 

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