Easy Peasy Beginner Nature Journal Ideas for Kids

By freshlyplanted - 6:38 AM

InsideNature journals are a great way to explore nature as a family! Here's an easy, cheap method of setting up journals for your classroom, homeschool or summer nature hikes with low-mess, portable art supplies. 

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"Mama! Come see what we caught!

Slipping shoes on, I watch our kids dance up our front path to the hilltop and rope swing. 

Lately, the rope swing has been their main interest as they take turns ricocheting off trees and bouncing around the driveway. 

Today they lead me past the swing, to something nestled in leaves on the ground. 

"Do you see him? We've named him Box."

Living in the woods means finding all sorts of things in our yard: salamanders, bugs of all kinds, caterpillars (including this stinging one), and unsuspecting box turtles

We love to draw our finds, but it's rarely safe for the animal to be handled or carried away from from their territory. For example, our box turtle can become sick from foreign parasites if moved away from his home or relocated in another one. 

Here's what we do instead:

  1. Draw on site- Especially if it's a slow-moving snail or a squirrel that's taking a sprawled-out nap on the deck rail (true story)
  2. Take pictures- Our favorite method! A great way to carefully study an animal or object later. Also helpful for parents who desire a detailed nature study but are rushed for time or worried that their kiddos might accidentally disturb/kick/sit on it. 
  3. Use reference materials- We love Nature Anatomy and often use it to learn more about what we're drawing. Field guides are helpful, too.  

    Nature journals are a great way to explore nature as a family! Here's an easy, cheap method of setting up journals with low-mess, portable art materials which should last you through several dozen sketchbooks.

    Related: 25 Nature Books You Need to Read to Your Active Kid

    Beginner Nature Journals for Kids (And Adults!)

    • Nature Notebook: We find the A5 size (5" x 8.25") to be less intimidating than larger notebooks, with plenty of room for details. They're also handy for sticking in a pocket! Recommended: Moleskine Plain Journal- set of 3, Seawhite of Brighton- set of 3 (Do you love rounded corners, too? We use this to round corners on everything.)
    • Quality Pencils: There's nothing worse than a non-sharpening pencil or one that crumbles into a million pieces over your page. We started buying Ticonderoga pencils in bulk and they're worth every penny. A friend swears that Field Notes pencils are even better, so I'm hoping to compare soon. 
    • Watercolor Pencils: These are so handy and fun! You can draw with them first or paint water first and draw on top. Our preschooler loves them as much as our oldest! 
    • Brush: This is a great starter set! Just make sure you keep your watercolor brushes separate from your acrylic brushes (which leave residue behind). 
    • Water dish: We use clean yogurt cups filled from our water bottles. 
    • Watercolor Crayons: These crayons are nice for filling in larger areas of color or for younger family members. 
    • Watercolor Journal: I have this one, and the paper weight is great. It's large for adventures so I'll sketch & paint things from my travel journal or pictures. 

    Related: {Free Printable} Animal & Egg Nature Bingo

    With these easy supplies, you'll be ready to draw whatever crawls into your yard! 


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