Inside: A nature journal for kids encourages them to get outside. It is both a healthy and an educational STEAM activity. Get some free nature journaling pages to get your kids started when you sign up for my newsletter! There are some amazon affiliate links in this post. If you click I might make a small commission but at no cost to you.
A Nature Journal for Kids Provides Both Health and Educational Benefits
A nature journal for kids provides loads of benefits for your child. Nature journaling encourages a respect for all living things on our planet. And the health and educational benefits are also many:
- getting outside for the fresh air and exercise is important for a healthy body and mind
- hiking is great exercise and has a positive impact on mood
- exploring nature gives kids a better understanding of the world around them
- journaling of any kind, including nature journaling, promotes science creativity
- kids can draw, paint and/or doodle in the journal developing their own artistic style
Kids Practice the Scientific Method while Nature Journaling
Children get the opportunity to use all of their senses to observe all parts of nature.
- children can ask questions like, What does it look like?, How does it smell?, Is it alive?
- through these observations they are practicing using the scientific method
Nature Journaling can be a STEAM Activity
Nature journaling is a great STEAM activity for kids. Science, math, literacy and art can be incorporated into their daily journaling activities.
- observations of animal life, tracks, leaf and tree trunk prints are only a small example of the science involved
- observations they make during a hike will often lead to questions that kids may want to research further when they return home
- daily bird counts and temperature readings can be drawn in graphs practicing math skills
- using daily journal prompts to write about nature refines literacy skills including vocabulary and spelling
- drawing diagrams, doodling and painting what they see in nature combines science and art
Nature Journaling Leads Kids to Research
Kids find lots of things while hiking. Animal tracks, leaves, different bark patterns, birds and animals. They may collect feathers and plant seeds to attach to journal pages. After their hike, kids will have questions. They may want to look up the feathers they’ve found to find out what bird they came from. Learning about the plants in their community, how seeds spread, why the plants live where they do may be questions they ask and research for answers.
Their research will improve their vocabulary as they read about and find the proper names for the things they find. The simple act of copying information into their journal not only improves vocabulary but develops important spelling skills. Every day is a new adventure in nature, and kids are naturally curious. Encourage them to ask lots of questions and help them figure out where to look for the answers to those questions.
There are No Rules for Nature Journaling
Nature journaling has no rules. Younger children will likely collect more specimens. They may put them in baggies and attach them to a page in their journal. Young children will also do more picture drawing before their writing skills become better established. All kids can include how they feel hiking in a natural area. They can record weather conditions, cloud cover. Kids will sketch things they find and collect items to paste into their journal. All kids can make collages with pictures from magazine relevant to what they see in nature. They can tally how many birds or insects or animals they see while hiking.
What Do You Need to Nature Journal?
Nature journaling is a low cost activity. Paper, pencils, paints, oil pastels, small baggies, a hand lens, and binoculars are pretty essential supplies. Binoculars are important for getting a closer look at birds and animals. Hand lenses are great for viewing small insects and soil composition. A camera is also essential for nature journaling. Kids can take pictures, print them out and glue them onto their journal pages. Journaling books can be bought or created. You can also download ready made journaling sheets that you can paste into a notebook or include in a three-ring binder.
A unique nature journal can be created by your child using a combination of lined and sketch paper as well as printable journal sheets. Especially if you’re looking for a way to get your child started in this awesome activity, downloadable nature journal sheets are a great place to start. Sign up for my newsletter using the form below and you can download some free nature journal sheets found in my FREE resource library that you get access to with your sign up. There’s loads of other useful free science printables you can access in my library.
Download those sheets today and get your child started in the valuable activity of Nature Journaling.