Spring is finally here!
Hopefully, the weather will begin to improve and we will all be able to get out and about much more this spring, with COVID-19 restrictions slowly starting to lift.
One way to celebrate the new season and enjoy it with your kids is to start nature journaling. A nature journal is exactly what it sounds like – a journal filled with discoveries, descriptions, and pictures of the fantastic things that we see, smell, and feel in our natural environment. It is a great way to reconnect with the world around us and for children to get excited about nature.
Here, we look at a few tips to help you get started with nature journaling with your kids.
Look at books that feature natural environments
Children of pretty much every age, whether a toddler or pre-teen love the classic ‘We’re Going On A Bear Hunt’ and ‘The Gruffalo’. They are a fun way to think about the world around us and the things that we can see and hear and smell. Read the books together and find somewhere where you can go to ‘recreate the stories yourself.
Pick up interesting things
Twigs, leaves, grasses, flowers – all of these can be incredibly fascinating to young children. On your travels, pick some up and take them home. If you have a magnifying glass or a microscope, look at them closely. Talk about the patterns and the colours and texture. You could then stick them into the natural journals or sketch them, and then spend some time finding out about the trees that they came from. You can expand this even further – perhaps looking at How old are some of England’s trees, the biggest trees in the world, the animals that live in particular trees, and so on. One simple leaf can open up a world of possibilities for a child.
Use colour for representation
If your child (or you!) are not confident about drawing or do not enjoy it, why not look at representing nature simply through colour rather than drawings. If you are journaling about a seaside scene, rather than draw elements, use the colours that you can see. It does not have to be a literal representation – abstract scribbles and patterns and shapes can be just as effective, if not more so.
Do not stress about it
If you search online or look on Pinterest for nature journaling, you will see some beautiful examples. While these are lovely, do not strive or pressure yourself or your child to create incredible works of art. The idea of natural journaling is to reconnect with nature and enjoy it, not for it to be something that causes stress and competition. It should not be a fabulous work of art, but instead a process – a process of getting to know and enjoy the natural world around us.
If you are looking for something to do over the Easter holidays, try nature journaling. It is a great stress reliever for adults and children alike.