Pari and I have started keeping journals for our nature study and observations in a more organized way than we used to – earlier.
In the past, we would come back with leaves and all sorts of finds from our nature walks and keep them in cardboard boxes or we would tuck the leaves between the pages of heavy books.
But, this, I found, was not the easiest of ways for us to go back to them for observation or reference or merely to cherish those finds. Over time, they would get mis-placed or damaged.
Recently, I bought a couple of files/folders with punch holes and twine (shoe lace type), and papers with lines on one side and blank on the other. The papers are almost same size as the file and they have pre-punched holes too.
Pari has been using the file with great success to note down observations during and after our nature walks.
She even collects leaves and keeps in between the file covers and tightly shuts the file with rubber bands. This helps in pressing the leaves nicely.
There are many benefits of a journal like this for the purpose of nature study for young children:
1. This sort of journal is easy to carry for kids during nature walks. Since you are not stuck with pre-bound pages, you have the option to carry as many papers as you would need and hence you can carry it light.
2. Tying the twine in a way that there is ample space for the two folds to open wide enough helps in writing and drawing with ease – unlike a notebook or diary.
3. The ruled as well as blank pages support the objective of writing as well as drawing/sketching/crayon rubbings.
3. It offers the flexibility to add new pages, move old pages to archives. This makes the whole experience dynamic. The kids are not stuck with pages that they may not prefer to keep.
Having said all this, there can be a variety of ways to keep your own nature journal. Older kids may use diaries or notebooks.
Keeping nature journals can be a rich and rewarding experience in many ways:
- It helps kids develop a connection with nature
- It helps develop a scientific temperament aided by observation, enquiry and inference
- It nourishes the creative side as well, by means of the child learning to sketch the leaves, flowers, birds, bugs; painting them or doing leaf and bark rubbings with crayon
- It is so very therapeutic to the child or the adult. Preserving the leaves and petals and watching them dry and reveal intricate patterns overtime can be a blissful experience
- Finally, nature journal can help nurture a life-long love for nature study as it did with the famous naturalist – John James Audubon. This book about his work (The Boy Who Drew Birds) is a collector's item.
Some books and resources to get you started on nature study and nature journals
- Handbook of Nature Study (on Amazon, on Flipkart) : A gem of a book to study about every aspect of nature.
- Notebooking Pages Website: Lots of free nature journal pages to download. They have many on sale too.
- Harmony Fine Arts: Video Tutorials for Drawing, Painting, Sketching finds from Nature by Barb
- Forest Fiesta: A great repository of art projects from around the world based on nature/forests
And finally, some more pictures from our last week's nature walk.
Whatever Pari and I had read at home prior to this walk about – photosynthesis, why leaves have Chlorophyll, what is Sap, what is the role of roots, why leaves change colour in some seasons and more – was all reinforced when we went out and observed real nature.
I highly recommend that you include nature walks and nature study with your kiddos, as often as you can. This is a reminder for me as well!
Nature journaling/notebooking is a wonderful hands-on learning activity for children, as well as for us.
Choose any form of nature journal that suits your child's age, choice or temperament.