How to Start a Nature Journal

When the weather is nice, we like to head outdoors, to learn within the natural beauty of our world. One of our favorite ways to record what we discover is by creating a nature journal.

Nature journaling is an easy, practical way to capture the beauty you see, like a nature scrapbook or a type of journal diary. Use art, pictures, words and more to express yourself.

A journal is as unique as you are, so feel free to make it simple or complex.

How to Start a Nature Journal Education PossibleThis post contains affiliate links.

What Should I Use for a Nature Journal?

You don’t need an expensive leather-bound journal to get started. Begin with a single piece of paper or even a small sketchbook.

A favorite among homeschoolers is composition books. They are cheap, easy to find and simple to customize.

Be creative! You can even make your own books by stapling blank sheets of paper between construction paper or card stock.

If you are going to be using mixed mediums in your books (pencils, markers, watercolor pencils), I would recommend sticking to heavier paper that can withstand the wetness and won’t bleed through. Now that my girls are older, we use smaller, spiral bound sketchbooks with 80lb paper.

The most important thing is to find something you will utilize and can easily take along on your journey. Nature journaling should be fun and accessible.

What Other Supplies Will I Need?

We use a variety of materials in our journals. Our favorites are soft lead pencils, colored pencils, markers, and watercolor pencils.

How to Start a Nature Journal

Supplies that we currently utlize include – spiral bound sketchbooks, colored pencils, markers and soft lead pencils

How do I get Started?

How do you move from taking a walk to capturing your observations in a journal?

Number one is to get outside! Take a break from your indoor learning to explore the outdoors.

This book, from Shining Dawn Books, is one of our favorite resources for nature walks. In it are over 100 creative and detailed ideas for exploration!

Creative Nature Walks

Make a conscience choice to slow down. That is when you will begin to notice details about the natural world we live in. Pay attention to shapes, textures, movement and color.

Find something that catches your eye, as well as your imagination, and study it. You can start sketching or recording right then. If you didn’t bring any tools with you, take photos and samples (if appropriate) so you can remember what you discovered as you work on your journal at home.

What Else Can I Add to My Journal?

How to Start a Nature Journal add your own photos

Over the years our family has experimented by adding other elements to our journals, including:

  • Flowers

We have pressed them, sketched them, used our own photographs, and diagrammed them with the aid of a botany book.

  • Leaves

My girls love collecting leaves in every color and shade when they happen to be up North in the fall. The leaves in their books remind them of the beauty of the changing seasons.

  • Rubbings and stamping

They enjoy the chance to be “crafty” with bark and leaf rubbings, as well as stamping, using rocks and acorns.

  • Writing

We have written down our observations, poetry, and even short stories based on items we found.

I love going back and looking at the journals my girls have created over the years. It is a wonderful reminder of what interested them during a season, as well as a way to see how their writing and creativity has blossomed.

Nature journaling is a wonderful way to slow down and truly observe the world around you.

Head outdoors and see what catches your eye. I guarantee that you’ll return full of inspiration!

What excites you about nature journaling?

Megan Zechman
I love homeschooling! Learning is a way of life for our family. Most days you will find us exploring our Central Florida community, having fun while learning. I am constantly looking for new and interactive ways to engage my older children.
Megan Zechman
Megan Zechman


  1. Such a lovely idea that i’ll be doing with my kids

    Natasha @ Serenity You

  2. Nature Journaling has been on my list of to-dos with my children for years, but we’ve had trouble getting started. I appreciate your tips for getting started and the book recommended. Thank you!

    • You’re welcome Sara! It’s sometimes so hard to get started with something brand new, isn’t it? I’m glad I was able to show you how easy it can be to get going. I think your kids will really enjoy it. I know mine do! Thank you so much for stopping by!

  3. We started nature journaling as a way to pass the time in the car, driving home from hikes. The kids love it!

    • What a great idea Laura! My kids used to draw a lot in the car – I had forgotten all about that. Maybe I’ll start nudging them in that direction again. Definitely a great way to remember your hikes while passing the time.

  4. wow this is a beautiful idea, that never crossed my mind and i think i never heard about it before!! my daughter and twins love nature and are still fascinated by its elements suggesting a nature journal would be a great way to get them engaged with something they are passionate about! thanks for sharing! Marwa from

    • Thank you Marwa! I’m so excited to hear that your kids love being out in nature. My kids do too. When I started to add more purpose to our outdoor journeys, they seemed to become more reflective. They weren’t in such a hurry anymore and instead were anxious to find things to document. It’s been a great way to expand their art interests too. Thank you so much for stopping by. Let me know how your kids like keeping a nature journal.

  5. This is such a beautiful idea and post! Thanks so much for sharing at After School.

  6. A nature journal sounds like a fine way to welcome spring! We have to try it!
    Thank you for stopping by the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop this week. We hope to see you drop by our neck of the woods next week!

    • I know many people will be welcoming spring with open arms this year Jill! I hope your family enjoys keeping a nature journal as much as mine has. We love your hop and will definitely be stopping by again! Thank you for sharing.

  7. Great flower picture. Love the leaves taped into the nature journal! Thanks for linking up to the Thoughtful Spot Blog Hop. Hope to see you next week!

    • Thank you Thaleia. We took that on a trip to Colorado last year at their botanical garden. My daughters don’t remember too much about living up North and the change of seasons, so they were thrilled to be in PA one year during the fall. They collected so many leaves!! We love your hop, so I’m sure we’ll have something to contribute next week. Thank you for stopping by!

  8. Jessi B says:

    Thank you for sharing these great ideas. What do you use to carry your supplies on your nature walks?