This easy tutorial on how to make a nature journal is perfect for a nature unit study or a gift for a nature-loving child.
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 nature finds.
Nature journals can be made in any size, but I find that 6″ x 6″ to 8″ x 6″ works best for portability, as well as being a good size for the rubber band to hold. This simple project is great for children. They get to put their nature journals together, decorate them, and then start using them to record butterfly sightings or tadpoles caught. Here is a quick tutorial on how to make a nature journal.
How to Make a Nature Journal
- Patterned paper/cardstock
- Plain white copy paper
- Stickers or stamps for embellishing (optional)
- 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 nature journal for. There is a multitude of patterned paper patterns available at craft and hobby stores that will suit any theme you choose. They can usually be picked up on sale for 4 for $1. If you are making 6″ x 6″ books you can get two books from each sheet. This a very frugal craft.
Cut two pieces of patterned paper in your desired size for the 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 hole punch you may have to halve your book and do it twice. Place the papers carefully in the hole punch so that the holes will match up.
Take your rubber band and push it part way through the top hole, poke a stick through the rubber band loop pull rubber band across back of the nature journal to the other hole, poke it through and secure around the other end of your stick. You now have a secure bookbinding.
Decorate your nature journal 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 backpack for your next hike or trip to the park, or even a visit to your own backyard.
Here are ways to use your nature journal:
- Make mark or leaf rubbings
- Sketch butterflies, bugs, plant species, or bird sightings.
- Journal about nature findings.
- Record observations.
- Tally fish caught, butterflies released, or any kind of information you want to record.
- Use as a daily journal for thematic units.