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.
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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 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!
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?
Over the years our family has experimented by adding other elements to our journals, including:
We have pressed them, sketched them, used our own photographs, and diagrammed them with the aid of a botany book.
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.
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!