In organic, natural, and permaculture farming and gardening, to be able to mimic nature is the key. Observation is an important skill to hone to be able to learn from the earth and follow nature's way. We can start getting our kids into the habit of going outdoors to play and connect with nature with different nature play activities.
Keeping a nature journal is a great way to get closer to every little detail in all the biodiverse plants and creatures that might exist in your garden or any outdoor play area.
Here are three prompts to get your kids started with nature journaling:
Collect samples or draw ten different leaves. Encourage your kids to learn to identify the names of the trees, plants, or grass their chosen leaves come from and even jot down their own thoughts and observations about the leaves. They can even record more notes over time as they observe how the leaves change through the seasons.
Similar to the 10 leaves prompt, please draw or take a photo of the bugs, insects, worms, caterpillars, and other little critters and leave the actual living creatures out in nature to do their jobs as pollinators, decomposers, etc…
Show your kids that not all soil is the same. The soil you have been taking care of in your organic garden will be richer and have more life in it than soil that is being stepped on and compacted constantly at the park. The soil in a forest will also be different from soil on a prairie or desert. Visit as many areas as possible when you go on nature walks to record their thoughts and observations about different kinds of soil.
Additional Nature Journaling Tips:
Encourage your children to use all their senses when they note their observations in their journals. Everything they see, smell, feel, hear, and even taste when they are out and interacting with nature helps to foster a deeper and stronger connection to the earth.
And don't stop the journaling to just your children's observations. Let their own experience with nature be the starting off point for them to ask more questions to learn more: Go to a library, visit other organic gardeners and family-run organic farms, ask other kids what they think -- just keep asking questions and recording what they learn in their nature journals.
Written by Jan Dizon
About the Author
Jan is a travelling yoga teacher and writer who advocates spiritual growth while leading a conscious, earth-centered lifestyle, as close to nature as possible. She currently lives on an island in the Philippines surrounded by tropical jungles and white sand beaches. She and her partner conduct sound meditations and journeys while advocating sustainable and organic gardening practices.