Summer Nature Journal

Summer vacation is nearly here. If you’re like most of us, you want to be sure your kids keep their writing skills sharp. A nature journal is just the thing to ensure they do without feeling like you’re giving them homework during summer break. All you need is a nature project and a journal and you’re good to go.

Step one is to get or make a nature journal. Any notebook or pad will do. Have your child decorate it so it feels like a “real” nature journal to him/her. You can get a small magnifying glass for closer examination of buds and leaves if you’d like. Maybe a special pencil and eraser that’s just for the journal, too. Make it feel special and they’ll view it that way, too.Set aside the first few pages for use as a table of contents. Number the rest of the pages and use one block for lab notes, one block for drawings, one block for journal entries. Keep it organized so your child can find the necessary information when it’s needed.

Why have pages for lab notes and drawings? Because it’s good to be able to see the progress of their nature study in one place. If that isn’t the way your child likes to work, have them include the lab notes and drawings in their daily entries, then write a recap entry at the end of each week to show how much has changed.

Stumped for an idea? Janice VanCleave has a book with 201 science experiments. It’s filled with ideas. Use one of them or use her suggestions as the basis for some brainstorming of your own. It’s hard to go wrong with a nature project!