Nature Journaling

Nature Journaling

Nature Journaling is the simple recording of observations of nature. It is a wonderful way to help us pay attention to our environment and to develop our awareness and appreciation of the earth. It also forces us to slow down, something most of us need to do more often. The natural curiosity of children makes them excellent candidates for nature journaling, but it is certainly a fun family activity for all ages. As a bonus, journaling builds skills in multiple curriculums to include science, art, writing, and research skills. A nature journal might include sketches of animals and insects, pressed flowers, notes copied from a book, nature-inspired poetry, or photographs. Relax, and simply enjoy your time outside. Direct your child’s attention to parts of nature they may not notice: the jagged edges of leaves, or the way ripples move in water. Remember that a journal is usually not “fine art”. There is no need for your entries to be perfect. We encourage children to use light “whisper lines” when sketching so they don’t need to worry about erasing. Keep it simple when adding color. We also encourage writing to go with your drawings. Have your child complete statements such as “I noticed… I wonder…. Or It reminds me of…” One of the joys of journaling is that everyone has a unique perspective of their surroundings. Remember that art is a tool for exploration, to express yourself and to ask questions about the world.

 

Here are a few suggestions for journal prompts:

  • Explore the many textures in nature with leaf and tree rubbings
  • Make a pressed flower collage
  • Find and record animal tracks and research what animal made them
  • Tape a seed to the page and draw what the plant will eventually look like when grown
  • Draw and label the parts of a flower
  • Do quick, small landscape sketches
  • Instead of drawing only what you see try to draw one of your other senses instead such as how does the flower petal make you feel, or how would you draw the sound of a bird
  • Trace shadows
  • If the weather keeps you from going outside, draw a scene through your window
  • Find a leaf, blade of grass, stick… and trace it repeatedly to design a pattern
  • Draw only the sky
  • Make nature made stamps
  • Draw your surroundings from a bird’s eye view
  • Draw your surroundings from a bug’s perspective
  • Draw something you normally wouldn’t like dirt
  • Draw and identify an insect
  • Take 3 different flowers and draw a new, hybrid species using different parts of each
  • Draw the weather
  • Find nature quotes or poems to write in your journal and decorate around the text
  • Use some juice from a berry to add color to your drawing