Nature Journals or notebooks are simply a way for your children to record observations from their nature walks and outdoor time, and usually involves sketching, writing descriptions, and noting the date, weather and environment for each entry. It’s best to take them with you, but can also be worked on after your time outdoors.
Some people prefer a journal with blank pages, or a combination of lines and blanks areas.
For younger children, they can simply draw what they see and you the parent can write in descriptions or type up their ideas. My daughter’s earlier nature journal has mostly sketches, some coloured, the odd poem, a couple of lapbook components for a different way of recording thing, and always a date with each entry.
For elementary children, once they are writing competently themselves, they will be able to write their own descriptions and observations along with their sketches. Printable downloads are a fun way of creating a colourful and inviting journal, and some have some great prompts and ideas for your nature walks.
For older children, you could extend their studies by using field guides and having them find out the correct names for the things they observe and record.
Nature Pages to Download
Nature Journaling for Kids: a free 28 page guide on how to create and keep a journal, with some sample pages and a couple of pages to colour
Handbook of Nature Study: lots of free pages to create your own nature journal, including insect, tree, bird, weather, garden and blank pages.
Harmony Art Mom’s Homeschool Freebies: a handful of free nature journal pages including those on the four seasons.
Nature Planning Pages from Jimmie’s Collage: Free pages for planning your nature studies.
Nature in Your Notebook: free printables to record your seasonal and weather data
Donna Young: free generic nature journal pages
Notebooking Nook: free nature journal pages for recording the weather, clouds, bird observations and others.
HomeschoolShare.com: free nature journal pages (including for 2-4 and 3-5 year olds)
Creative Nature Study – Ideas to Jump Start or Invigorate Your Nature Study: a fantastic resource of ideas, book lists, scavenger hunt pages, notebooking pages, and walks (plus much more). [for purchase]
Homeschool Helper Online: free elementary notebooking pages
Practical Pages: free classification tables and cards from one of my favourite homeschool blogs.
Wildflower Ramblings: free leaf Identification cards.
Related Resources for Nature Study
Handbook of Nature Study: home of the outdoor hour challenges and nature study for homeschoolers (lots of great tips and guidance)
Our Journey Westward: links to other guidance and resources found online
Nature Friend Magazine: A magazine for children aimed at ages 8-16. View sample online.
The Kiwi Conservation Club (for New Zealanders): an affordable magazine subscription plus other member benefits such as connecting with local KCC families to do activities and exploration in the great outdoors.
Keeping a Nature Journal (Homeschooling DownUnder) – guidance and resource links especially geared (but not exclusive to) Australian homeschoolers.
- Nature Study (my own Board on nature study in homeschooling)
- Nature – (Nadene’s Board ‘Finding the joy of nature with fun outdoor discoveries and creative, educational activities’).
- Nature Study Homeschool Co-op
- Nature Study (Jennifer’s Board ‘exploring God’s creation’)
- Nature Study (Karyn’s Board ‘exploring and learning in the great outdoors’)
There a ton of resources that I came across online, but rather than flood you with too many than you can actually use, I think from the list above you will find plenty of options to choose something that works for your family.
Enjoy your nature discoveries!