I’ll probably talk a lot about nature journals on here. I love the idea of them and would really recommend them to anyone as a way of documenting the things you see and to encourage kids to really *look* at nature.
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So, what are the options for making a nature journal? What you decide on may depend on a lot of things like the ages of your kids and how perfectionist they are. No option is better than another so choose what is right.
Buy a blank journal
You can go as fancy or as cheap as you like. For my two I splurged and bought some lovely suede type cover journals from WHSmith. I wanted it to be a special book that was solely for nature journalling, another kind may have turned into another scribble book. It’s lasted a while and would be a good option for older kids.
Or you could get a cheaper sketch book. I got one for myself from the Works and I think it was only around £1.99 and has loads of thick pages. Doesn’t look quite so special though! One day I’ll buy myself a better one!
get a half plain, half lined workbook
You know those workbooks that you can use for story writing? They have a blank bit at the top and half is lined. Those can be picked up fairly cheaply, but on the downside can often not have lots of pages. Definitely a good starter option.
Use plain paper and file in a folder
This is a great plan for kids who may be a little perfectionist about art. A blank journal can be daunting to put marks in! The up sides of this option is the ability to mix and match the types of paper you use, perhaps thicker for watercolours and thin for pencil drawings.
Of course you could implement all these ideas – do what works for you!
So, how do you use a nature journal?
Nature journals are for documenting what you see, what’s important to you. If you send your little one into the garden asking them to draw something in nature and they come back having just drawn some grass then that’s fine! They’ve come across what stands out to them.
What we often do is go somewhere with the intent on studying and drawing something. Last year we spent a lovely warm morning by a pond observing and drawing dragonflies. You can choose anything and it doesn’t have to be wild and elusive, how about a trip to the duck pond and draw some ducks?
Other things we’ve done are weather charts and recording what time hedgehogs came into the garden. They don’t have to be just for pictures. We’ve also added poems we’ve found and loved.
The main thing about nature journals are that they are just tool to encourage and give focus to going outside. They are lovely to look back on too and see how drawing has improved!