If you're raising earth-aware, nature loving kids, then the Mulberry Nature Journal is your next must-have resource! Perfect for kids homeschooling, unschooling, in schools, on summer vacation or stuck at home in lockdown. The workbook ensures that your kids get outside and learn from the world around them. In this article, I'm sharing 5 things I've been doing to help get the most from the nature journal.
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Our 6-year-old is a real nature lover at heart. He loves the beach, loves riding bikes on trails and loves climbing. He's also a potterer. A tinkerer. A kid who can focus on one thing for an hour (sometimes).
In another article we wrote list of 101 Nature Study Ideas (with a free downloadable PDF). This book expands on that list and turns it into a dedicated, printed resource for your homeschool.
The book is designed to give prompts for activities you can do in - or with - nature so you can bring the natural world into your classroom by bringing your classroom into the natural world.
1. Make things easy for your kids. Put your Mulberry Nature Journal in their space.
Kids often don't know what they want to play with, and we as parents don't want to be so structured that it takes the joy and discovery out of it.
I've started being really intentional about what we leave out in the morning, and 9 times out of 10 my son will grab the thing I left out. It has worked with lego scenes or challenges, puzzles and mazes, books, magnatiles, and now this. I simply leave it out on the table at night, and find him perusing the pages the next morning over breakfast.
It only takes about 5 minutes extra effort at night to grab some pencils, markers, or a magnifying glass. But it can be the difference between a morning spent in imagination wonderland and a morning spent either complaining, asking for screen time (really? It's 8am...?) or using our house as a bouldering course. The nature journal is a great little prompt to try something different today.
2. Make things easy for yourself or your parents
The nature journal covers mostly science-based activities given you're going out in nature. But it covers so many other disciplines too. Maths, language, science, art, music, engineering are all easily justifiable for your homeschooling reporting. Keeping all of these nature-based lessons makes it easy to transfer into your annual planner for records of home learning.
And because it's all kept in one workbook, you've got easy access to see the progress your child has been making in their learning. It's also a great little momento to look back on and a snapshot of what your child was like at this point in their life.
Grandparents also love the nature journal because it gives a range of activities they can participate in with their grandchildren. It gives an opportunity to bond over a shared activity and may give the chance for a grandparent to reminisce and/or share their wisdom.
3. Go at your child's pace
The lovely thing about your child having a book they can love and cherish and call their own is that they can pick and choose the activities they want to do. They might choose an activity from down the back of the book, then do some blank page activities. There is no set criteria for what to do.
My son went gung-ho on day one, but then put his nature journal down for a week and I thought maybe he wasn't interested. But then suddenly after dinner one night he said "We need to draw our shelter in the book!". So let them go at their pace. Even if they put it down.
Having the nature journal as a quick prompt for new ideas means you can pick it up and put it down any time.
4. Create a plan for your next time you're going out
I've found that when we've been skipping on bookwork for a few days, the nature journal helps get us back into the routine of book work.
It's a great grab-and-go resource, so I often give it a quick flick through for ideas and either pick an activity, or use it as a jumping off point.
I've found that just having the nature journal around prompts me to see experiences we have as learning opportunities. We were recently out on a hike, and started collecting nature finds to draw in the nature journal when we got home. Just having the intentional space in the provided blank pages was enough to turn a hike into ant art lesson.
Get the free '101 Nature Study Ideas' PDF in our other article
5. Use mixed media
The fantastic thing about a fairly open-ended resource like the nature journal is that there is space for your kids to expand on their ideas. Each page has an activity across the top and then a nice open space for them to share their ideas and complete the activity.
But just because the book says to draw, doesn't mean you must do that. You might choose to paint, do origami, make a model, or use a polaroid and stick it into your nature journal.
So there you go. This is what we're finding to be the best ways to get the most from the nature journal.
If you're interested in picking up a copy for yourself, the nature journal is available on Amazon (links to the Amazon listings here).
If you've purchased the nature journal, be sure to leave a review on the Amazon listing. We'd love to hear what you think of it. 🙂