A great way to encourage children and ourselves to slow down and observe what is around us in nature is to bring along a journal with us on our trips to the woods or the seashore and sketch, map or write about all that we notice. An even better way to encourage this is to have made our very own nature journal to carry with us.
Keeping a journal helps us to note the change of the seasons, and also to refer back to previous years to see if the seasons themselves are changing- is spring arriving a little earlier each year, or are the winters getting longer? It helps us to familiarise ourselves with sites, especially if we visit the same site recurrently, by mapping the area, marking any landmarks or waymarks, to help us identify the different parts of the site, or to share our site with others who may not be familiar with it. It also makes a lovely keepsake of time spent in nature, wondering and wandering in the wild.
To create your own nature journal all you need are:
Firstly, cut 5 or so A4 pages in half, horizontally. Use any cardboard that you may already have or pick up a used box from your local supermarket or fruit and veg shop. Cut this to size to match the paper, this will be the back of your journal and provide a hard back on which to write or draw. If you have any curtain liner or other old material (a sheet, duvet or pillow case), preferably not patterned to allow you create your own design, cut this also to match the size of your cardboard. This will become the cover of your journal. Using the hole punch, punch holes in the card, the material and the white sheets of paper which will make up the inside of your journal. Using wool, twine or string bind the card, paper and material together, placing a stick or twig on top of the material to add to the design and to make the binding sturdier. You want to be able to open the string again so as to add more pages as you fill your journal, however, if the knot is too tight, you can always cut the string and start with a new piece after adding the additional pages.
Using charcoal, water colour crayons or paint design the cover of your journal as you wish, and then turn the page to start noting all that you observe on your next trip out into the wilds of nature.