A nature journal is a great way to encourage your child to explore nature, practice writing and drawing, as well as develop growing imaginations. We make nature study journals to go along with various unit studies we are working on or simply for fun. They are simple, inexpensive and I think they look much cuter than a spiral bound notebook for recording finds, and keeping track of all kinds of information.
Nature journals can be made in any size, but I find that 6×6 to no larger than 8×6 works best for a child’s size, for portability, as well as being a good size for the rubber band to hold. This simple project is great for children – cutting, decorating, putting their books together and finally using it to record butterfly sightings or tadpoles caught.
How to Make a Nature Journal
- Patterned paper/cardstock
- plain white copy paper
- optional * stickers or stamps for embellishing
- office rubber bands
- small sturdy sticks
- scissors or a paper slicer
- 3 hole punch
Choose a paper that compliments what you plan on using the book for, there are a multitude of patterned papers available at craft and hobby stores that will suit any them you choose. They can usually be picked up on sale for 4 for $1, if you are making 6×6 books you can get two books from each sheet-making this a very frugal craft.
Cut two pieces of patterned paper in your desired size for front and back cover.
Break or cut a sturdy stick the height of your book size.
Cut plain white copy paper to the same size. I use about 5-7 sheets cut in half, this seems to be a good sized book, giving you 10-14 sheets front and back-it is easy to go back and add more later. Place front and back covers over white copy paper. Using a 3 hole punch- punch two holes along the side through all papers- depending on your punch you may have to halve your book and do it twice-place carefully in hole punch so that holes will match up.
Take your rubber band and push it part way through top hole ( I usually use a thick office rubber band, here I used rubber bands from a fresh asparagus bundle- upcycling!) , poke stick through the rubber band loop pull rubber band across back of book to other hole, poke it through and secure around the other end of your stick. You now have a secure book binding.
Decorate your book with stickers, drawings, or stamps to reflect your interests. We made this one for an upcoming trip to the beach where we will list and draw the creatures and shells we find. As an alternative to binding with a stick you can staple your book, and cover the staples with pretty washi tape .
Add a child’s writing pencil or a fresh box of colored pencils for drawing. These simple little nature journals are perfect for tossing into a back pack for your next hike, trip to the park, or even a visit to your own backyard.
Here are some idea’s for ways to use your nature journals:
Bark or leaf rubbings
Sketching or drawing butterfly, bug, plant species, or bird sightings.
Journaling about nature findings.
Tallying – fish caught, butterflies released, or any kind of record or information you want to record.
Use as a daily journal for thematic units.
More Nature Fun for Kids
- Backyard Bird Watching
- How to Make Butterfly Nectar
- How to Make a Butterfly Puddler
- Nature Walk Ideas for Kids
- How to Make Watercolor Paints from Flower Petals