This is the first part of a two-part series about nature journaling. In this article, we’ll cover the benefits of fostering a nature journaling habit in kids. In part two I’ll overview how to get started and foster a nature journaling habit with your children.
Let me share a little secret with you. Nature journaling can be easy and incredibly beneficial for both you and your children.
What is nature journaling?
The art of nature journaling is really not about the art at all. It is a science-based process. Journaling is a huge part of the science community. It is how data is tracked, how observations are recorded, how information is compared, and how hypotheses and ideas are remembered. I cannot stress this enough. It is not about the beautiful pictures! Though if you are artistically gifted please enjoy making your journals beautiful too.
Nature journals are literally a place to record your nature observations. Think about it as a place for you and your kids to record the things you see, smell, touch, feel, and maybe even taste while on your nature adventures.
Benefits of nature journaling with kids
There are so many benefits that come from spending time nature journaling. Here are a few:
- Spending time outside is good for us and nature journaling literally gets us outside and connects us to nature in ways we may otherwise miss.
- Nature journaling forces us to slow down and fosters the ability to focus on things. This is where the Sherlock Holmes quote is particularly spot on. The practice of sitting in nature and recording your observations, literally trains you to better notice what you’ve always seen. Since we are forced to slow down, it enables us to be more present in the moment. Thus, nature journaling also enables us to learn mindfulness practices that can be fostered and used throughout life.
- Through simple observation, nature journaling can deepen our observation and learning skills. Drawing requires looking at an object many times, which helps boost your memory, and writing helps us learn to better organize our thoughts. And using numbers can reveal patterns and so much more.
- Nature journaling also engages us with real scientific practices. It makes actual scientific methods accessible to anyone. When children (and lets face it, most of us) can see science happening all around, it makes science focused learning activities more fun.
There is a plethora of research on this topic and if you really want to dig deeper, I encourage you to read How to Teach Nature Journaling by John Muir Laws and Emilie Lygren. You can download a free PDF of the 282 page book or purchase a printed copy from their website or Amazon. A lot of the above information was pulled from this book. Although it is geared toward teaching school-aged kids, it provides a foundation to create and foster a nature journaling habit with kids of any age.
- Can You Take a “Hike” in the City?
- Introduction to Nature Journaling – John Muir Laws
- Nature Rich Resources for Distance Learning and Homeschooling
- Words, Pictures, and Numbers – John Muir Laws