It’s Nature Week here on the blog! Spring has sprung, we have about a month and a half of school, and I’m feeling the pull to spend more time outdoors. Also, I’ve noticed that the (good-natured) shrieking and bellowing that goes on around here sounds quieter outdoors (bonus: it also alerts mountain lions and bears, who — I’m assuming — run away in fear of whatever horrible creature sounds like that.)
One of our favorite supplies over the last few years has been the nature journal. It’s served several purposes — the kids don’t hike far before wanting a break anyway, so this gives them something to do. They observe things around them they might not have noticed (and often, that I didn’t notice, either. I love that part). It helps with writing, drawing, observation, and other creative skills. It keeps everyone occupied on the car ride home. And — as with most journals — we have fun looking through them years later.
I tend to keep our journals simple — I know my limits and if I had to do a lot of work getting this together, I’d give up and go read a magazine. So at the beginning of each summer, I buy four cheap notebooks, 1-2 sets of colored pencils (because they don’t melt in the car like crayons), and a small pencil sharpener. And since we have to drive to most of our hiking places, we keep our supplies in the car, ready for our adventures.
Now — what to write about? Well, anything you see, or hear, or experience. Animals. Plants. A new trail you tried out. I’m pretty sure one kid wrote about how bored he was and that his mom was making him write in his journal. I’m fine with that (besides, those entries are hilarious to read when the kids are older). You can also start with a few prompt questions, if the kids are stuck:
-where are you right now?
-what is the weather like?
-name one new thing you saw. Draw it.
-what did you eat on this hike?
-who came with you?
-what sorts of animals might live here?
For more inspiration, check out a few journal ideas from other adventurous parent-bloggers:
Happy Trails, everyone!
(This is Day One of Nature Week. Links to the rest of the series will be added below.)
Day 1: Nature Journals
Day 3: Nature Books for Kids
Day 4: It’s About the Journey