We have recently discovered the joys of nature journaling in our home education journey. Nature journaling is all about observation, documenting what you see around you (vegetation, trees, animals etc) and your feelings, to put it quite simply. There are many forms that a nature journal can take, and many resources available online, that I will link below, to help you discover what exactly you would like to explore in your nature journal.
We currently have the blessing of living in a very green environment, near a nature reserve in Turkey. There are pine trees adorning the pathways, juniper berries glistening in the sunshine, conkers and pinecones carpeting the ground at our doorstep. It truly is a beautiful place. It only seemed natural to document the beauty we see around us, and also to explore the emotions it stirred up within our souls.
I find myself unable to name common trees or mini beasts that we find along the way, and so this is just as much a learning tool for me, as it is for my daughter.
John Muir is quoted to have said ‘In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. ‘To be outdoors, to observe what is around you, to then translate it in to a picture, drawing, sketch or painting is quite fulfilling, and a reminder of the vast and beautiful grandeur of God’s creation.
Here is some guidance on starting a basic nature journal with kids:
- Decide where you want to go (a local park, woodland, beach, your own garden etc). Take a good quality note-book and some pencils or sketching pens, and any other supplies you may need.
- Find some animals or trees and plants you would like to focus on.
- Think about the details of your focus – the colour, the size, the surrounding environments. Nature journaling means that you will observe closely, really see something, and not just look at it.
- How does what you see make you feel?
- Make a note of your observations, reflections. Take photos, for reference, if needed. Collect something to take back home with you, if possible – try not to take something from a tree or plant that isn’t already on the ground.
- Get drawing (if you are fortunate to be able to do so in the moment, go for it!) If not, get home and draw.
- Search for further information at the library, or the reference to learn about your plant/tree/animal.
Recommended links where you can learn more:
We were also lucky enough to discover a nature walk in our locality for children by an organisation called Usturlab (Astrolabe). They conducted a ‘Forest Explorers’ walk where they looked at different trees and plants at Ankara Botanical Park. The children were given a tour and information about the local vegetation and then created a collage of the different bits they found. Totally recommend this walking tour, if you find yourself in Turkey! Here are some photos from the day:
How do you connect with nature?