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I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my daily digest via email or RSS feed. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

50+ Items to add to a Nature Notebook

 After leafing through the lovely pages of The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady several years ago, my children and I were inspired to begin nature journaling. The beautiful water color renderings invited us to venture out...to explore...to wander through the woods. But, once we got there, we were a little overwhelmed. What were we suppose to see? What were we suppose to draw? There was so much nature. Here's a list of 50 items to look for in nature and to document in a notebook.

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After leafing through the lovely pages of The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady several years ago, my children and I were inspired to begin nature journaling. The beautiful water color renderings invited us to venture out...to explore...to wander through the woods. But, once we got there, we were a little overwhelmed. What were we suppose to see? What were we suppose to draw? There was so much nature.


We had our blank notebooks, our clip board cases to hold our favorite colored pencils, and even a magnifying glass (just in case). We had everything...except direction. We just weren't sure exactly what to draw. 

That was then.



Now, several years later, nature journaling feels like second nature to all of us. (No pun intended...OK, maybe just a wee itty-bitty pun intended.) 

Don't get me wrong, we still walk out into the woods and feel vastly overwhelmed. But, who wouldn't? God's creation is nothing if not vastly overwhelming. But, now we know how to make our view slightly smaller...to still enjoy the vastness without getting overwhelmed.

We've learned that nature journaling works best when we start with a fixed point...a goal...even before venturing outside. We begin all of our walks with ONE particular focus or item to look for. By zeroing in on ONE item, we open our eyes wide. We don't just see, we observe closely. It's like a treasure hunt. We're enjoying ALL of creation while searching for one particular piece of it.

Along the way, we often find other more interesting items to sketch or draw than the ONE we first set out to find. But, that's only because we aren't just wandering aimlessly through nature. We are hunting. We are focused. And so, we can clearly see the UNIQUE among the MUNDANE (As if any part of nature could ever really be mundane??!)

Here's a list of 50 items to look for in nature and to document in a notebook. 

50+ Items to add to a Nature Notebook

Things to draw & label

an ant hill
animal tracks
the food chain
the life cycle of a plant
the life cycle of a butterfly
the life cycle of a frog
cloud formations
a map of the night sky
the constellations
different coniferous tree needles
different kinds of deciduous leaves
shells
the parts of an insect
the parts of a spider
the wing/beak/and foot shapes of different types of birds
the creatures you find under a large rock
different nuts
different seeds and seed pods
the shoreline after the tide
the contents of a tide pool
different kinds of rocks
a large rock formation
a pictorial timeline of a vegetable garden's growth
the root system of a plant
a spider's web
a bird's nest
different types of cactus
a bee's hive
different types of fungus
different types mushrooms
new buds/growth on a tree

50+ Items to add to a Nature Notebook

Things to mount or imprint/rub 

leaves
flowers
seeds or seed pods
parts of a flower
types of tree bark
beetles
spiders
moths
butterflies
different types of grasses
bird feathers
snake's skin

50+ Items to add to a Nature Notebook

Things to track or list

the phases of the moon
the weather for a month
the changes of a tree through an entire year
birds you've seen
insects you've seen
dog breeds you've seen
cat breeds you've seen
mammals you've seen

50+ Items to add to a Nature Notebook

Nature Notebooking resources

Still not sure where to start with your nature notebook? Be sure to read Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling. It's a wonderfully inspiring nature notebooking HOW TO with beautiful illustrations and tips for the artistically challenged. Or check out one of these other helpful resources.




More on Nature Study


5 comments:

  1. Excellent! A nature journal on the surface seems so simple, and when I have tried to make this work I have had mixed results. I now get it. Going out into our farm I just thought my kids would have endless choices in the natural environment. Well they did, and sometimes too many options and no focus doesn't create the result one wants. This post outlines the how to, and narrows the focus. I'll try again using theses wonderful ideas. Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words, Adrienne. I'm glad to know my kids aren't the only ones who need a little direction.

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  2. I think you've read my mind lately :o) First the timely post on unit studies, and now one on nature studies, the two things I've been trying to research on how to start for my kiddos next year. Thanks so much for the help! Also, we live in a new development, and while there is lots of nature within a fairly short drive of us, our neighborhood is newer and so trees are pretty much sticks, and there isn't a whole lot of 'extra' nature (or maybe there is and I just don't know it! :o) ). I was kind of hoping we wouldn't have to get in the car to go on our nature walks, but is that what you would suggest? Driving somewhere (perhaps even a consistent spot to compare during the different seasons) to make it worthwhile? Or is it possible to still complete a decent nature study in our neighborhood?

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    Replies
    1. I think your neighborhood would work just fine. But, it might be fun to throw in some special adventures somewhere else every now and again.

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  3. When I read your list of things we might concentrate on and add to our nature notebooks, it made my heart sing! What a beautiful list. Thank you.

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