When I put together my list of 12 resolutions for getting outside you can keep earlier this month, one of the items on that list was “start (or keep) a nature journal.”
We’re not new to nature journaling. In the past, we’ve created a backyard field guide, a bird book – even a summer adventure journal. While each of these featured nature observations and wildlife sightings, none of them captured the spirit of fun and adventure I’d hoped we’d record.
Thus the idea behind our family adventure journal. Basically, it’s a scrapbook of our outings in nature. It’s where we’ll record not just what we did or saw, but how it made us feel. Our best memories from our nature experiences in 2012.
In deciding just want we wanted our family adventure journal to be, we considered a few things:
Why should we keep a journal? It’s a place to record our experiences in nature. At the end of the year, I’m hoping we’ll have a scrapbook of outdoor adventures to look back on and inspire us to keep it up in the years ahead.
What kind of nature journal should we keep? There’s no right or wrong way to keep a nature journal. It can include sketches, notes, bits of nature, pictures and more – whatever feels right to you.
The format doesn’t really matter, either. Choose a pre-formatted journal with fill-in-the-blank pages, a sketchbook with blank ones or a spiral bound notebook with lined pages. Again, pick what feels right to you.
With one child who’s 7 and another 3.5, I wanted to keep it simple. In fact, all we needed to get started was a medium-sized spiral bound notebook and a pen.
What should we record? The sky is the limit! To keep it simple, we decided to focus on just a few pieces of information:
- Location visited
- Date visited
- Who went
- New discoveries
- Photo, sketch or other memento
Who will do the recording and where? Is your journal for one person to use or for the entire family? Will you take it with you and seek inspiration from nature or maybe record your findings after the fact when you’ve had a chance for your experiences to sink in?
It’s not very practical for us to make our recordings during our outings, but so far we’ve been able to do so later that same day. And we always work on our journal entries together. That’s the fun part!
The Explorers choose a photo and together we fill in all the information. Sometimes I do the writing; sometimes The Big Explorer does. All that matters is that everyone shares at least one thing they want to remember about our adventure. Even a 3.5-year-old can do that!
Ready to create your own? Here are a few more resources to help you get started:
- Create your own nature journal from the National Wildlife Federation
- FREE, downloadable Kid’s Adventure Journal from REI
- Intro to nature journaling with kids from Frog Mom