Nature journaling 101


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:

  1. 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.
  2. Find some animals or trees and plants you would like to focus on.
  3. 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.
  4. How does what you see make you feel? 
  5. 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.
  6. Get drawing (if you are fortunate to be able to do so in the moment, go for it!) If not, get home and draw.
  7. Search for further information at the library, or the reference to learn about your plant/tree/animal.

Recommended links where you can learn more:


Our works in progress


Handbook of Nature Study

The Nature Journal as a tool for learning

An Autumn point of discussion: why do leaves change colour? (England)

Autumn activities



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? 


Bedtime with children: 3 tips from my experience

Peace all,


I know bedtime is a big parenting struggle, and so I thought I would write a few words from my own personal experience. These are some things I discovered along the way. Some may seem pretty obvious, some may not. My intention is to put this out there in the hope that it may be of some help.

The following three things worked for us:


  1. Ensure your child is well-fed:

 It is hard determining how much sleep your child needs on a given day, especially if they are going through a growth spurt. My daughter can have a huge appetite on some days, and barely touches the food on her plate on others. There have been nights where I have exhausted myself in trying to get her to sleep, and then realised that perhaps she is hungry. Eating late at night is not ideal, especially after she has brushed her teeth and completed her bed-time routine, BUT it gets both of us out of what could be a stressful situation. And, well, who doesn’t fancy a midnight toast or some yummy dates dipped in cashew butter?!


    2. Use up all that energy!

I picture winter as a cosy time of hibernation indoors in which we all snuggle up with hot chocolate on the sofa. The heating is on, our toes are warm, and my daughter is snuggled up in bed. Except sleep does not come so easily. Again, another ‘aha’ moment is that we didn’t even set a foot outdoors today (home-schooling con’s!). As a result, I try and ensure (whatever the weather/season/country) that we get ourselves out the door, breathe in some fresh air and get playing, walking/hiking, running or anything active. On the days that we aren’t afforded the luxury of the world outdoors for whatever reason, we resort to indoor activities like yoga (here’s a link to our favourite Cosmic Kids Yoga youtube channel), or just turn up the music and get grooving (or in my case, tripping over and knocking things over). Sometimes, we chase each other and jump on beds, tickle-fight or pillow-fight. Kids need to be moving and active, and tired enough to sleep soundly.


  3. Establish a bed-time routine

I cannot stress how important routine is for my child. It is hard, I admit, between the moving and travelling, but we do my best. I found that my daughter thrives when the day is more predictable; when her body knows when to start winding down. Find what works for you. Maybe a bath, brushing teeth, pj’s and then a bedtime story. A song, a du’a (prayer) or a warm drink (chamomile tea is a good choice) that signals bedtime is here (although I can’t promise that the kid/s will be happy about it!) . Give yourself at least an hour to wind down and get the routine started, and try to begin the ritual at the same time every night if possible. Some kids need a comfort item like a blanket to help fall asleep, but our daughter never got attached to anything (well, not counting me, that is). Take turns with your partner, if needed, to give yourself some space and time too, as a mother.

As mamas and babas, no day is easy but the rewards are tremendous.

And the best part of sleeping is waking up to each other in the morning with messy hair and funky breath, and hearts and eyes full of love and gratitude.