Tuesday, May 30, 2006
I want to share with you our nature notebooks and hopefully inspire you to start your own. No matter what age you are, whether you live in the country or city, or your drawing ability you can have alot of fun recording your favorite things from nature.
Here are some basic supplies:
-Drawing or Watercolor paper. If you just plan on using a pencil, drawing paper will be fine. If you plan on using watercolor pencils get a pad of watercolor paper. A pad is around $5.00 but lasts a long time. After you draw your picture, wet a paint brush slightly and go over your drawing. This is especially popular with children and they seem to work harder on their picture if they know at the end you will give them a paintbrush!
-Brushes (small, thin brushes work best)
Notebook. You can get one with built in pages (like a spiral notebook) but it can be frustrating to children if they make a mistake or just don’t like their picture. This can happen to adults too!! For my children I got plastic sheet protectors that I place in a 3 ring binder. Once they are happy with their picture they can slip it in to the protectors.
For my journal I use one meant for scrapbooking. Sometimes I will cut my completed picture out and glue it on a “base” piece of paper and slip it in the page protector. That way I can have several little pictures all on one page without them slipping all over the place.
Optional, but handy supplies:
-Brown paper bags
-Camera (sometimes if you are out exploring you can’t stop and draw right at that moment. Take a camera along and draw from the pictures you take, later at home.
Many times, starring at a white piece of paper will cause your mind to go blank. To get started, in an upper corner, record the following:
Time - “early afternoon”, “late morning” or exact time
Wind direction - draw a simple compass
Clouds - what they look like
What you hear
What should I draw?
-Take a walk and collect leaves. Press or draw them in your nature notebook. Jot down date, name and where you found them.
-Sketch a tree in your yard and label the parts.
-Hunt for poetry, scriptures and hymns about trees. Copy it into your notebook.
-Record the date when the first leaves start to fall. Also, when you see the first buds.
-Each week take a walk to see what is blooming in your neighborhood. Be sure to check out your own yard too!
-Sketch and label flower parts.
-Hunt for flower poetry, scriptures and hymns about trees. Copy it into your notebook.
-Go to any area that birds gather and observe them.
-Don’t forget to feed any birds that stay around your home.
-Look for bird feathers. Be sure to note where you found it, what kind of bird and the date.
-Hunt for bird poetry, scriptures or hymns. Copy it into your notebook.
-Hunt for insect homes. Look under rocks, fallen logs, bark of trees, under leaves, corners of your home!
-Go to a pond to collect water insects.
-Look for different butterflies and bees.
-Plan a special trip to the zoo.
-Do you have a special pet you could draw?
-Find out what wild animals live in your area. Can you hear (or smell!) them at night. Look up pictures and copy them into your notebook.
-Experiment with seeds....planting, germination, growth rate and so on.
-Collect wildflower seeds
-Keep a chart of the moon phases for a month. Record what you see in your notebook.
-Take an evening to spend stargazing.
-Watch a sunset and then draw it.
-Keep a weather chart. Write down date, temperature, weather, etc.
-If you collect anything nature related draw them in your notebook. Rocks, shells, feathers, etc.
In Sarah Ban Breahnach’s book, “Mrs. Sharp’s Traditions” she suggests enjoying the Victorian custom of bringing the four seasons indoors. A small, permanant table in a room that reflects, through the objects we choose to display on it, from our adventures outdoors. Your children can display treasures they discover, such as pretty stones, a bird’s feather, pinecones, twigs, acorns. So many possibilities!
Here are a few pages from my nature notebook:
“Wild Days - Creatiing Discovery Journals” by Karen Skidmore Rackliffe
“Hands-on-Nature” by Jenepher Lingelbach
“Keeping a Nature Journal” by Clare Leslie and Charles Roth
“Handbook of Nature Study” by Anna Botsford Comstock
“Pocketful of Pinecones” by Karen Andreola
If we give our children regular opportunities to get in touch with God's creation, a habit is formed which will be a source of delight throughout their lives.