This guide to nature journalling will help you start your own nature journal. It includes ideas on what to include in a nature journal plus links to nature journal prompts and printable nature journal pages.
How to use a nature journal with children
Your nature journal is the special place where you are going to record all the interesting things you see, smell, hear, feel, eat and wonder about, through the year.
You are the author and illustrator of your journal and it is unique to you and the place where you live.
You can buy a notebook to use, or make your own. A ring-binder, art sketchbook, or a watercolour pad are great options for your journal. We like to make a circular book, with no beginning or end, which matches the cycle of the seasons.
Working en plein air
You can take your journal out on your nature walks. Find a place to sit in the forest or by the lake and write and sketch out in nature.
Many famous artists like to work ‘en plein air‘, which is a French term that means ‘in the open air’. Instead of working inside a studio, many artists like to head outdoors to paint and draw the natural world within the nature setting.
Working en plein air lets you really feel the natural world with your senses, and your writing and drawing can be inspired by all the things you hear, smell and feel, as well as what you can see.
John Singer Seargent, one of the most well-known English impressionist painters, painted a work called Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose over many nights at twilight. You can see in this video how he created the image, and the challenges he had painting outdoors, with just a short window of time each day to experience the twilight,
Working in your studio
You can also use your journal at home or at school. You might like to plan one morning each week when you update your journal. You can fill your journal with notes, sketches, painting, poems, photographs, pressed flowers and leaves, and the Seasons School printables to make it a glorious record of your year in nature.
How to journal like a scientist
Look closely. Draw what you see.
Look again, perhaps with a magnifying glass, and draw some more.
Label your drawing. Note the details you can see, where you found your item, and the date.
Wonder. Ask questions. Think about what you see and why things look the way they do.
Share your findings with others. Ask them if they know about your item. Research in books and online to find out more. Learn and discover!
What to put in your nature journal
Download all the Spring units and printables
Download our complete Spring lesson plans, activities and printables and your spring teaching will be so easy!
:: five complete units of ebooks and printables for Nature Study, Welcome Spring, Daffodils, Seeds and Shoots, and Eggs and Birds
:: over 50 engaging activities and lesson plans that your children will love
:: over 30 pages of printables that make teaching so easy
:: a balanced programme of math, science, literacy, arts and crafts, nature study, sensory and imaginative play
:: a practical resource that you can start using today, in class or at home
:: weeks worth of learning all planned for you, to take you right through the season
:: created with children aged 4 to 8 in mind
You're going to love this super useful resource!