Nature Journaling is a wonderful way to document your nature study. Journaling will look different for each of your children, but can be helpful and fun regardless of their ages! We’ll start with our youngest children!
Nature Journaling with Preschoolers:
One way to journal with preschoolers is to make a little notebook. Before you go out, find pictures of things you will be encountering on your nature walk. This means you will cover a known area and make note of what can be seen before you being your nature walk. Tack the pictures that you find lightly to a clipboard with teacher’s putty or a tiny piece of tape. Let your child see
the clipboard of items and identify each for him. Tuck a glue stick in your pocket, put on your sweaters and go for a fall walk. As you walk along your child will see things that you have pictured on the board (if he doesn’t, show him the picture and the nature item). Let him take the picture and glue it in his little book! Viola! You have begun to lead your child into the habit of nature journaling. You are teaching him to see, observe and note!
Preschoolers also love to check things off a list! Take a scavenger hunt journaling page and a pencil or crayon so they can circle what they find on their walk.
Nature Journaling with Elementary Students:
As your student gets older, he can watch you sketch items on your nature walks together. Begin this way and it will accomplish several things. One, you will find (especially if journaling isn’t your forte) that it isn’t easy at first! You will have more compassion, as a teacher, for the beginners. Also, nature walks and journaling are so valuable in your child’s education, that he needs to see some modeling and great excitement on your part to catch the enthusiasm for it. This is, of course, the ideal. I would also submit that you can collect some items and he can draw them at home when he isn’t trying to enjoy the dirt and sticks and rocks and trees that “call” to small children when they’re enjoying a nature walk with their mama! However, if all you can do is get out into the fresh air with your student …it is still better than never getting out at all!
Nature Journaling with Junior and Senior High Students
Now is the time to begin to have your student deepen his observations, and couple these observations with extra research. It is also the time to encourage him to include more art, poetry, sayings, etc. along with the scientific information in his nature journals.
You can see there are many different ways to add entries to your child’s nature journal, regardless of his or her age. Each of these journaling pages shown is part of a Five in a Row Digital Nature Study, and each individual Nature Study includes season specific journaling pages for all ages that you won’t want to miss! Don’t worry if one style doesn’t work as well for your child. Your child may have a certain way of journaling that is more enjoyable to him or her than another style. I would encourage you to find a balance between encouraging your child to journal in a way that is challenging to him and allowing him to choose simpler activities in order to foster a love of nature. Remember, the most important thing in any nature journaling activity is to foster a love of God’s beautiful creation!
Purchase the Five in a Row Nature Studies here and see all the posts in this series: