Nature Notebooks are a fun activity to do with your kids! They can be as involved or as laid back as you want them to be. Learn and connect together as you collect things in nature (what kid doesn’t love collecting things from outside?).
In theory, I have long been a fan of spending time in nature with my children. In reality, just getting out the door involves more work than it has been worth. But then I came across the idea of keeping a Nature Notebook. We (really, really) simplified the idea to fit us and both my children (ages 9 and 4) are loving it. Here’s how we do it:
A notebook for each person -We each chose a spiral notebook with a design we liked. Yes, even Mom gets one! My daughter’s notebook has a kitten, my son’s notebook is covered in superheroes (of, course).
Writing supplies – pencils, crayons, markers…whatever you have on hand
Tape (if you’ll be collecting leaves, berries or flowers to bring home)
What you do:
Go outside. Observe something. Record it in your notebook when you are finished. That’s it! We schedule this in for Monday mornings, because it’s a fun way to start our week. Sometimes, that means we take a trip to a nearby walking trail, stream or park. Other times, we might walk around our neighborhood or even just go in the backyard. It sounds incredibly simple, and it is, but I’ve really seen some great benefits for my family:
1. We get outside. I’m always amazed at how spending a little time outdoors changes a grumpy day into a good one.
2. My children are practicing slowing down and just paying attention. We talked about how this would be different from just playing (although we do that, too). We use all our senses to observe. I ask “What do you see? How does that feel? How does that smell?” kinds of questions. Now my children are doing the same. We’re noticing things that we (especially Mom) would normally rush right past.
3. My children and I are spending slow, focused time together. This is one activity where you can’t rush and no one can do it wrong. It’s us talking and walking together in whatever way works best that day.
What do you think of Nature Notebooks? What other ideas to you have for spending time together?