Nature Journals not Happening

by Kerry
(Australia)

We are going camping and other than knowing what to take and what to do my next problem is how do you do nature journaling when you know absolutely nothing about nature?

We can take some drawing books and attempt to draw but that will last 5 minutes. The boys find it really hard to draw and get disheartened very quickly because they don't like what they have drawn.

So what do you do? I know nothing about kingdoms or what ever else it is you do.

What do you ladies do when you do nature?

What sort of things do you discuss and where do you find the answers?

Comments for Nature Journals not Happening

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Nature Journal for the Reluctant
by: Belinda, Lifestyle Homeschool

I wrote just such an article last week! Nature not your thing! where you will see there is more to nature study than journaling.

But ... If you want the journal there are some things that we have done that has encouraged our kids who have been reluctant.

Begin Nature Journaling for the reluctant
* Practice practice practice. My kids copy draw at home not just when we are doing nature journals. I have seen not only their abilities develop but their attitudes change.

* Use mini field guides - I have found small guides are the best because they are transportable but more importantly, more kid-friendly. Also find ones that are applicable to your area.

* Get the kids to copy draw from a picture of an animal they have seen not necessarily while they are looking at it, this may help some to focus, eventually as they are happier to draw, they will be able to draw what they see as they see.

* Take photos instead - use these to practice drawing once you get home

* Focus on observing, and then describing rather than drawing

* Do it yourself

* Teach the idea of sketching rather than drawing a picture; fill the page with little bits of sketches, start again on the same page, draw something else, draw a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Drawing like this removes the idea that it has to be perfect

* Once everyone is settled, set a timer for say, 10min, and everyone needs to stay put whether they are drawing or not. This encourages them to draw as they have no other option but they know it has an end to it. Be happy with whatever they put on paper (even if not much). The idea is to get them to learn to focus and observe. Drawings will come later.


Take the opportunity to teach - or not?
My caution would be not to turn every nature excursion, nature journaling experience into a lesson. Focus on their observations, descriptions and questions. I encourage them to sketch and describe it, write these descriptions on their page, what is it (common name), where did you see it, when, what it was doing and any other observations/feelings they come up with. This gives you source material to follow up either at camp-base or at home with either a field guide or nature encyclopedia. Or leave it as it is.

Be Ready for Nature Activity
by: Belinda, Lifestyle Homeschool

We have a sturdy bag that sits in our cupboard, ready for any venture out in nature.

Our Nature bag:
* Field guides

* binoculars, magnifying glass, loupe

* small containers for collections or zip lock bags

* art supplies; colouring pencils, charcoal pencils, watercolour paints

* nature journals / sketch pads (including one for Mum and Dad)

* whistles (safety idea for when they go for a walk by themselves)

* mozzie spray

* net on stick (this is on our “to buy†list)

* camera (this doesn’t actually live in the Nature bag - we grab it on the way out the door)

Scavenger hunt helps Nature Studies
by: Dawn

Hi. Last year, I led a small HS nature group. We only met once a week. On one occasion I knew that we would be taking a trip to a state park located at the beach. I went online to the park's website and learned all about the local animals and fauna there (grasses, shrubs, mollusks, birds, insects, lizards, starfish, horseshoe crabs, shells, etc). Then I looked up beach info for the state we live in. I cut copied and pasted many small pictures of those plants, animals and insects onto one page and labeled each pic with the common name below it's picture. Then I made several copies of that. At the park I had the kids do a scavenger hunt while working in teams. The kids had so much fun and saw the beach in a totally different perspective. It came alive for them. we also went to the parks touch museum and learned more. This can be done for museums, nature parks, zoos, historical places, etc.

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