Is the weather lovely in your area? It’s really beautiful here – warm enough to go on a walk, but not humid enough to hamper the fun. It is a great time to introduce easy nature journals for kids with awesome free printables and resources.
Why use a nature journal with kids?
Being from New York, I definitely feel like being in nature isn’t my favorite thing. Well, the Lord thought that was funny because he took my life in the middle of an island surrounded by nature.
Nature is growing on me. However, for my children…nature-loving has come a LOT easier. It is almost like they were born with the propensity to enjoy the outdoors and nature. They are just like their dad.
Of course in homeschools, when you hive kids that LOVE being outside then nature studies are a win.
More reasons why a nature journal will benefit your kids:
1.) Whether your kids enjoy being outdoors or not, nature journals get your kids outdoors and breathing the fresh air outside. Therefore, head outdoors for some outdoor adventures.
2.) Nature journals improve your child’s observation skills. When exploring nature with your homeschool, there is a time to play. However, there is a time to be intentional about learning. Nature journals can help kids practice how to observe their surroundings. So, grab a magnifying glass and get out there.
3.) Kids can naturally increase their vocabulary with nature walks. When kids are on nature walks for their nature journaling, kids will ask questions during their observations. You can prompt them to look up words they don’t know and log the words they have learned from observations and discussions.
4.) Nature journaling helps kids learn an appreciation of Creation. Kids run around playing and getting dirty and many times don’t realize just how much of a blessing surround them. Nature journaling helps kids stop to look and appreciate nature and learn about Creation.
5.) Kids have an alternative way of practicing writing, drawing, and fine motor skills with nature journal prompts. Many times we can get caught up on worksheets and giving writing assignments. Yet, nature journaling can get kids writing or drawing about what they have seen, observed, and even touched.
What should be in a nature journal for kids?
Who is like me and had no idea where to start? Thankfully, you are not alone. We have all been there and you are not alone.
Basically, anything goes, and here are a few things my kids have put in their nature journals. Some of the interesting things they have done on their own, but most of the items in their journals were assignments.
- Sketches of observations
- leaf and tree rubbings with crayons
- nature poetry
- nature quotes
- statistics about nature (trees, insects we have seen, etc.)
- pressed flowers
- watercolor paintings
- seed samples that we have “tried” to plant and grow
- photographs they have taken
- pictures of animal tracks and drawings of the animals who made the tracks
How to Start a Nature Journal with Kids
The key to making nature journaling work in your homeschool is the same thing I do with every new evolution of my homeschool.
We have learned, from experience, to not start anything FULL ON. Take it easy, do small fun tasks for your nature journals.
If you have younger kids begin with wandering (don’t get lost), collecting, and looking for a spot to just sit and draw. It can be as simple as that for a first nature journal entry or nature journal pages.
Our Favorite Nature Notebook Journals
Follow along with the topics in the Julia Rothman Collection using written narration, drawing, labeling, and more with our companion notebooking journals.
There is no prep-work involved – you simply grab your copy of the book and your notebooking journal and work at your own pace. Many families use the Julia Rothman Notebook Companions as a science spine.
Learn more about getting the most out of your study of nature with our popular notebook companions in our detailed post: How to use the Julia Rothman Books for Science.
Don’t make things complicated or too difficult. Start with easy nature journals for kids to use. There is no need for a full curriculum or complicated tasks. The nature journal can be simple and take your time, you have all year. The resources below can help:
Easy Nature Journals for Kids (and Free Printables)
Printable Garden Nature Journal for Kids – Kids can do a simple sewing stitch on the book. Just print to cardstock and let your kids put it together. It’s simple and fun to fill in with all the good stuff they will learn from what they gather from their natural environment and observations.
Homemade DIY Nature Journal – Although your kids can totally just use some blank sketchbooks for nature journals, it would be fun to make their very own nature journal and journal entries. This is a simple design any elementary kid can make.
Nature Journal for Beginners – Check out these simple ideas on how your younger children can start their very first nature journal. Grab this Nature in Your Notebook free printable template for record keeping of their nature walks.
Simple Handmade DIY Nature Journal – Your kids can follow these step-by-step instructions to make a super cool and simple nature journal. No sewing, or anything complicated necessary. It’s just a cover with blank pages to fill up with ways kids can experience nature.
Kids Explorer Free Printable Journal – This is a perfect and simple booklet for kids to begin their nature study adventures. Kids can take notes and sketch their observations. This printable nature journal is a great fun family activity. Kids can color on the first page of your journal.
Activities and Resources to Add to a Nature Journal
Make Sticky Nature Cards – These super cool sticky nature cards to your student’s nature journal. This will add a splash of color and texture to their nature journal from the natural world around them.
Nature Study Notebook Printables – Incorporate nature journaling in the easiest way possible with these nature study notebook printables to add to your child’s nature journal. They make great highlights for nature journals.
Over 50 Free Nature Walk Printables – These nature walk printables are perfect for nature journals. They include scavenger hunts, nature journals, and more.
Nature-Themed Copywork – This nature-inspired copywork resource includes nature poems about hidden natural delights for our kids to explore. The copywork is available in print to either trace or copy as a perfect way to make the most of their nature journals.
Download Nature Journal Inserts – This resource explores writing and observations of nature. Kids can explore nature with scavenger hunts, animal tracking guides, seasonal information, bark or leaf rubbing, pressed flowers, and more.
Easy Bird Nature Journal Printables
Bird Nature Studies and Printables – Do your kids enjoy birds and bird watching from your own backyard? Birds are truly majestic and make great additions to your nature journals. Grab these bird nature studies and resources here.
Bird Terms Vocabulary Copywork – Use these bird terms vocabulary copywork in order to increase your students’ vocabulary about nature and birds. Introduce the world of birds and help them with handwriting practice.
Printables and Resources About John James Audubon – Artist and naturalist John James Audubon is best known for his bird drawings and paintings depicting North American birds and mammals. Learn more about him with these free resources.
Birdfeeders Nature Crafts for Kids – I love the idea of birdfeeders in our yards. Our island birds are savages though. Our feeders are barely up for a day before the birds have eaten them up. Check out some DIY birdfeeder nature crafts your kids can make and take a photo of for nature journals.
Bird Nature Study Resources – This is a perfect start for a bird unit study in your homeschool. You can grab bird printables, bird crafts, bird activities, and even more.
Birds Around the World Guided Drawing – These Birds Around the World Guided Drawing is a great way to combine art, science, and nature study. Kids will be introduced to ten different birds around the world with guided drawing activities and a set of 10 comprehension questions.
Audubon Birds Notebooking Journal – Add this Audubon birds notebooking journal to your John James Audubon unit study. With the notebooking journal, your kids will be introduced to the many birds Audubon painted during his lifetime as an artist and naturalist.
Butterfly Unit Study (NOT a bird, but it flies at least) – I couldn’t think of a better insect to study than a butterfly. This free butterfly unit study can help kids learn about their anatomy, different bird types, where they live, and so much more.
Plants and Flowers Nature Journal Resources
Nature Study with Trees and Leaves – Draw, label, color, and more with these trees and leaves nature study. This 30-page unit is for upper elementary and middle school students and teaches about seeds, flowers, leaves, and more.
Plant Terminology Copywork Notebook – It is inevitable to see different types of plants. This free plant terminology copywork nature notebook has 20-plant related terms and practice handwriting skills.
Leaf Terminology Copywork Notebook – There is much more kids to learn about leaves. Leaves have different kinds of pigments have different parts and shapes. This resource has 28 terms bordered on a geometrically shaped border.
Ways Plants Move Guided Drawing – This guided drawing unit includes twelve terms and short paragraphs explaining what the words mean. This super cool plant movement-guided drawing activity is super cool. It has an answer key included as well.
Flowers Around the World Guided Drawing – A friend I had years ago introduced me to the beauty of flowers. Their beauty is undeniable when you really stop to think about it. Check out this guided drawing activity unit for ten common flowers from countries and continents across the globe.
Don’t be scared to start nature journaling for the first time with your kids. It is an excellent way to experience nature with your families. It forces even the parent who isn’t a nature fan to get out of their comfort zone and enjoying what God has created in the land around them. Happy nature journaling!
Nature Study Fact Cards
You can cut out our free nature study fact cards and glue them into your nature journal or just use them for review or add to a nature wall display.
Also, check out some nature study resources found in our online store.
Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!