My son and I were paging through his nature notebook today, reliving our favorite nature walks from the school year. We decided to put his favorite pages up here, on the terrible outside chance his precious book might be lost in our move.
Do forgive the poor lighting in these pictures. I'm a bit off my game. Because I'm packing.
The thing to keep in mind here is that these pages were not requirements. Not another thing to cross off on my or his to-do list. To me, nothing could be worse than coercing a child to draw or narrate about nature study. Inspiration is the only way to motivate a child in this area.
I started my own nature journal which has a handful of entries. No more. But Isaiah and Rosie see me enjoying the natural world, and they learn from my attitude and habits much more than I realize.
We also took many walks through the woods and prairie without recording anything. Looking and wondering together. Next year we decided we wanted to get some more field guides and learn the names of many plants, trees, and grasses.
But life happens. Now we will be learning a whole new set of flora and fauna. Goodbye Kansas grasslands; hello Sangre de Cristo mountains. A change I'm really getting excited to make.
I keep it very informal. No fancy paper. No watercolors- for goodness' sake no watercolors! Talk about a good way to frustrate a kid! It takes much technical proficiency to use watercolors al fresco out on the trail. And it requires lugging a lot of equipment. Plain paper on a clipboard and some markers and pencils is a much better, low pressure solution.
My 4 year old sometimes makes a picture. She has 3 in her notebook for the year. My 7 year old will pick his subject, draw, and then at home he narrates to me and I write it down for him. Nothing complicated.
So many resources actually seem to complicate nature study and nature journaling. It's a shame. It's so easy and such a delightful way to accomplish natural science for the little ones.
As you can see, some days he gets more into it and other days less.
Here's to a lifetime of happy nature walking, friends!
"There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more."
~George Gordon, Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage