Nature journaling for kids

Children outside enjoying nature

This planet is awesome, and it has so much to admire. One fun and memorable way to get your child excited about nature is to encourage them to keep a nature journal. It is a way to inspire appreciation excitement and stewardship toward the nature all around them.

A nature journal can be handmade and decorated to taste, or store-bought with prompts guiding the child how to use it. The ready-made nature journals are generally more focused. It may implore the child to concentrate on one thing at a time and notice the details for a fuller experience. If a tree is the focus then what does the tree's bark look like? How does it feel? What color and shape are the leaves? It is an up-close and personal observation of that tree.

Boy nature journaling

If your child leans more toward digital journaling, of course, there are options for using online nature journals. Whatever you choose, it should be a personal exploit for them. So if the journal just has stories about their experiences or notes and descriptions, that is fine, or if they decide to draw what they see, press flowers and leaves, or add photos, then that is equally fine. It's about what they get out of it.

The nature journal can encompass notes, pictures, or photos of the nature they observe around them like trees, flowers, the sky, and the stars. It can also include details about activities such as building a sandcastle at the beach, recalling the taste of the salty ocean water, capturing a lightning bug, climbing a tree, collecting pinecones, splashing in puddles, or making snow angels. These are all experiences that grow an appreciation for the great outdoors. Don't know where to start? There are various templates available online.

And don't you worry about whether your child can collect enough experiences to fill a journal. Children can add to their journals in simple ways including:

  • Taking a walk or bike ride around the neighborhood
  • On the bus ride to school
  • Looking out the window on a car or train ride
  • Taking a plane on a family trip

There is so much to take note of in all of those activities, and especially family trips. If you are enthusiastic about it; they are more likely to be enthusiastic too. When traveling to an unfamiliar environment, children get the opportunity to notice differences in geography and climate. Is the area flat, mountainous, or coastal? Is the climate tropical, polar, moderate, continental, or dry? Take notes and ask questions.

While on the trip they can also observe the weather patterns, the types of insects and animals they see, and even the difference between the trees they see at home and the trees they see in another city, state, or country. Once children comprehend that the world is a diverse place, it may just inspire further investigation to study, understand and appreciate their environment even more.