Are you looking for engaging activities that will help children explore and learn about the world around them? If so, consider a nature journal for kids.
The activities in a nature journal are designed to inspire kids to identify, create, draw and write all about nature while having fun at the same time.
Keeping a nature journal is great for any child who loves observing animals, flowers, birds, and has a natural curiosity about the world around them.
Heading out with a journal and enjoying a nature study is a fun way for your little explorers to see their own backyard or a local park in a new way while incorporating observational skills, science, art, writing, and creative ideas.
And because there is no right or wrong way to do it, this is truly a fun family activity!
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What Is A Nature Journal?
A nature journal is a collection of pages where kids can record their observations, discoveries, and thoughts about nature.
Nature journaling can be personalized with creative ideas such as drawings, pictures, writing, leaf rubbings, poems, or stamps from anything they find.
Using a journal with a nature focus is an excellent way for kids to explore nature and record what they’ve seen on nature walks, camping, or in their own backyard.
Printable Nature Journal For Kids
Explore the outdoors, learn about nature, and create lasting memories with this printable nature journal.
What Is The Purpose Of Nature Journaling?
Kids spend less and less time outside exploring nature these days, and unfortunately, too many are completely disconnected from the natural world.
Getting your children to explore and learn about the animals, trees, flowers, and nature is a great way for them to learn about the world around them, connect with other living things, and have fun at the same time.
If you want to get your little ones exploring and learning about nature, the best way to do this is by getting them started journaling.
Benefits Of Nature Journaling
There are many educational as well as health benefits to nature journaling.
Journaling has been proven to improve:
- literacy skills (it’s an excellent way to add fun to language arts)
- and spark curiosity
In addition to that, researchers have found that spending time in nature helps:
- calm the nervous system
- increase focus and attention
- lower stress
- increase happiness
As you can see, spending time in nature journaling can help kids to explore and learn about the world around them, spark curiosity, lower stress, and increase focus as well as happiness.
Supplies Needed To Start Nature Journaling
The only supplies your little one needs to start their own nature journal is a piece of paper and pencils or crayons to write or draw.
If you want to encourage children to use their art skills or have older children that want to accurately record their nature observations, here are a few craft supplies to consider:
Nature Study Tools To Search And Observe
To observe nature you don’t need any special tools or skills, but there are a few things that can be fun (and helpful) to go along with their nature journal.
Here are a few great ideas that can help when in your search for different plants, birds, flowers, and even mushrooms while enjoying your nature walk….
- resource books or wildlife guides (my kids really like this one!)
- a nature journal
- bug catcher
- magnifying glass
- bag or backpack
- bug spray
- tape measure
- swiss army knife (probably not a great idea for younger children)
Alright, you’ve got your nature journal, drawing or writing supplies, and necessary tools, now it’s time to get outside and go for that nature walk!
Go On A Nature Hunt
One of the best ways to get your children exploring and learning about nature is to go on a nature hunt.
This type of nature activity is a fun, flexible, and interactive way to explore different seasons and weather conditions, animals, birds, plants, trees, flowers, and anything else you can find!
There are many different ways you can do a nature study or hunt.
A few ideas include….
- A general nature hunt-explore and observe all living things, from insects and plants to water and rocks.
- A themed nature hunt-explore and observe one type of living thing, such as a tree or an animal.
- A nature hunt at home- your backyard, in a nearby park, or even just in the backyard. You can also include an online nature study, by exploring videos and apps.
Use Your Senses
One of the best ways to enjoy the natural world (and a fun family activity) is to use as many of your five senses as possible.
Here are ideas to try for each of the senses….
Touching something in nature can bring the outdoors to life! If your children have never touched a slug or felt a fuzzy mullein leaf this experience can bring a whole new understanding.
Just be careful not to touch wild animals or poisonous plants!
We can see nature from pictures, but when you observe a tree, animal, or plant up close and in person, it can be an eye-opening experience.
If your little one finds something that they just love, be sure to have them do a quick sketch, write in their journal, or take a picture!
Encourage your nature study participants to be very quiet and pay attention to the sounds they hear.
Whether you’re in the forest or your backyard they are sure to notice different sounds when they get quiet and still.
This is another of the senses that is fun to explore.
Be sure your smell exploration includes ideas like an old log, a beautiful flower, wet moss, an edible berry (in case they try to eat it!), or pine needles.
Tasting something in nature is an experience your nature lovers won’t soon forget!
Try berries, nuts, edible flowers, or forage for wild herbs to add to your next meal.
Just be very sure that what you pick is actually safe and edible.
Ok, so after experiencing nature through your senses, it’s time to start collecting and researching!
Collect and Research: An Activity to Help Your Child Uncover Nature
Another great way to help your little explorers learn about nature is to have them collect and investigate.
If your kids are interested in certain topics or have found a few things that they would like to learn more about, have them collect samples and then do some research.
The samples can be something simple like a leaf, a piece of bark, a rock, or whatever sparks their interest.
After the samples have been collected, it’s time to become a nature detective. For this, the kids can look up scientific names, where the item is typically found, and make notes of any other interesting facts.
After you collect all of the best pine cones, prettiest rocks, or other interesting specimens, it’s time to record observations.
Record Your Observations
As you and your kids explore and uncover new things, have them record their observations.
This is a great way to spark curiosity and encourage your child to ask questions and expand their knowledge.
When you are out exploring, ask your children to record their observations in real-time in their nature notebooks.
This information can then be used to create more detailed nature journal entries later if they would like.
Include A Nature Notebook
A helpful addition to a journal would be a nature notebook.
A notebook is a great way for kids to work on writing skills by creating a record of what they experience.
Another fun way to use a nature notebook is to include prompts.
This can be an excellent way to stretch and enhance their imagination, get reluctant writers to create stories, and encourage creative ideas.
Interested in FREE printable nature journal prompts?
Grab yours here!
FAQ About A Nature Journal For Kids
Have a few questions about getting started with nature journaling? No problem, let me see if I can help!
1. How Do You Make A Kid’s Nature Journal?
Making a nature journal can be as simple and easy as just using a piece of paper and a pencil or crayons.
If you are looking for a book or printable pages though, you find an already done for you nature journal template here.
2. What Should A Nature Journal Include?
A nature journal can include anything you or your children would like.
Popular ideas include:
- leaf rubbings
- photos or drawings
- weather conditions
- observations using the five senses
or anything else your creative nature explorers can think of!
3. What Is The Purpose Of Nature Journaling?
Keeping a nature journal is a great way to spend time outdoors, get fresh air and sunshine, and learn about an environment that may be new to many.
It’s a great way to teach concepts related to science, writing, reasoning, safety, and the world around them in a fun and engaging way.
4. What Does A Nature Notebook Include?
Sometimes the terms nature journal and nature notebook are used interchangeably, and that’s totally fine.
In this article, I have used the terms separately.
Here, a nature journal is for recording observations and has more of an art style foundation.
A nature notebook would be for writing, recording, or using prompts.
A nature journal and notebook can be used very well together, or they can be used separately, it’s really up to you.
Nature Journal For Kids Wrap Up…
Exploring and learning about nature is a great way to get your children interested in the outdoors.
By using their senses and experiencing the natural world first-hand they will connect with plants and animals in a new way, discover all that nature has to offer and will be more likely to take steps to be a good steward of natural resources.
Not to mention, being out in nature is a fun family activity that is good for everyone’s health.
So get out there, have fun, and journal!
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