Nature journaling is so rewarding, both for kids and parents. However, it can be difficult to start.
What do you need? What do you write about? If my kids and I aren’t artistic, can we still journal?
You don’t have to be good at drawing to help your kids journal about nature. All you need are a few items that you probably already have around the house, a little time to get outside, and a few prompts to follow.
For now, let’s talk about what you need.
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5 Must-Haves for Nature Journaling with Kids
You can use any notebook that you have laying around the house. Bound notebooks are going to work best since it keeps all your journal entries together and in order, but you can use a 3-ring binder as well. For my students in Nature Matters Academy, I ask parents to purchase a 9×12 inch notebook with heavy duty paper – Canson XL Series Mix Media. I give the students 8.5×11 printouts that guide them through nature journaling and STEM activities. They need a large journal that can hold 8.5×11 printouts. I like to use the notebook below.
2.Pencil, Pencil Sharpener, & Eraser.
Any pencil will a good eraser will do! We like to bring our own eraser into the field because those provided on most pencils are sub-par. You’ll also need a pencil sharpener to catch the shavings.
Let your child choose their favorite medium, whether that be colored pencils, crayons, markers, or water color. You can get started using anything! Once your child gets a feel for journaling, you may want to invest in better products, because as we all know, sometimes you get what you pay for and not all coloring media is created equal.
If your child prefers colored pencils, I’d suggest Sargent Art. Cheap colored pencils break easily with a lot of pressure, and all kids color with a lot of pressure. Your child won’t have to sharpen Sargent Art colored pencils every 5 minutes like cheaper brands (sorry, RoseArt). If you use colored pencils, be sure to bring a pencil sharpener that catches shavings! If your child prefers markers or crayons, I would suggest Crayola. They’re long lasting and affordable.
Sorry, I know this is obvious, but if you want to get serious about nature journaling with your kids, you’ll need to block out a consistent time to do it.
Starting nature journaling with a blank page can be overwhelming. What do you draw? What do you write? How do you organize it on the page? One of the easiest ways to start journaling is to follow 3 simple prompts: “I see,” “This reminds me of,” and “I wonder.”
Go outside and let your child pick one thing in nature. Then have them draw it. This is your “I see” prompt. Next, have them think about what that object reminds them of and write it down next to their drawing. Finally, have them write a question about what they are observing. It could be ANY question. The idea is to promote observation, questioning, and critical thinking skills. Click here to read more about these prompts!
See what other nature journals look like in Nature Matters Academy!
Just for fun!
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