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  • Writer's picturejenniferlaceybaker

Activities as a Family: How The Shared Experience of Nature Journaling Can Build Strong Bonds


Family on a nature walk

Hey there, nature lovers! Are you looking for things to do with kids? Need some ideas for outdoor activities as a family? You’re in luck because today, I'm shedding light on the captivating realm of nature journaling. Consider this blog post your essential guide to turning ordinary nature walks into unforgettable experiences for the entire family.


Venturing into outdoor activities as a family extends beyond the simple act of stepping outside; it's about forging enduring memories and cultivating a profound appreciation for the wonders of the great outdoors. And what could be more fitting than embracing nature journaling, a practice that enables you to encapsulate the very essence of your outdoor explorations within a personalized scrapbook?


So, slip into your walking shoes, gather your little explorers, and let's transform those family nature journaling sessions into the highlight of your week!



 

Some Advice When Starting to Plan Outdoor Activities as a Family:


Making nature walks a regular part of your family’s routine can be a transformative experience. Whether it's a weekend hike, a visit to a local park, a camping trip, or a reflective visit to your favourite sit spot, planning and participating in outdoor activities as a family strengthens bonds and creates shared experiences. 


But initially, there might be some pushback as you transition to spending more time outdoors and away from screens. My daughter grumbles at the mention of going for a walk, but she is all smiles once we hit the trails. So, push on because your efforts to move your family outdoors will quickly bear fruit. 


Mother and daughter on a nature walk


Explore Unique Nature Spots with Your Child:


Discover new outdoor places together, each with its unique charm. While a familiar sit spot can bring comfort, it's essential to recognize that some kids may crave new experiences. Right now, my children enjoy mixing it up, and I often choose trails that loop to avoid backtracking. However, returning along the same trail provides an excellent opportunity for a different perspective. In my experience, I have found that many details often get overlooked on the first pass.


Nature Walk: Kids eating lunch while looking out over a wetland.

Encourage your child to embrace the familiar for its comforting aspects and venture into the new for the excitement of discovery. Discuss how each experience, whether revisiting a favorite spot or exploring a new trail, contributes to their understanding of nature's diversity. This balance allows for a holistic appreciation of the outdoors, offering moments of tranquility and the thrill of the unknown.


Choose the Right Journal for Nature Adventures - A Walk In Nature Journal: Recordings of a Wild Child:


Kickstart your child's nature exploration with the perfect companion - "A Walk In Nature Journal: Recordings of a Wild Child." This specially crafted journal is designed for young explorers, offering dedicated space for documenting your child's wild adventures. Its vibrant cover, inviting pages, and additional learning opportunities provided through multiple-choice questions and writing prompts make it a unique and adventurous tool.


Cover of A Walk In Nature Journal: Recordings of a Wild Child

Right now, Wild Child Literacy is offering free shipping with coupon code FREESHIPPING.


Create a Nature Journaling Kit for Your Child:


When assembling your child's nature journaling kit, less is more. Opt for simplicity and portability to ensure the kit enhances rather than hinders the outdoor

experience. Include essentials like colored pencils, markers, a magnifying glass, and small containers for collecting treasures. A compact and thoughtfully curated kit encourages spontaneity and creativity during your child's outdoor activities. 


Nature Journal Kit Featuring A Walk In Nature Journal with Writing Prompts

Remember that your nature journaling kit is a dynamic companion. Continuously edit and refine it based on your child's evolving interests and discoveries. Adding or subtracting elements allows the kit to adapt, adding a new dynamic to nature journaling with each outing. This flexible approach ensures that the kit remains engaging and inspiring as your child explores the wonders of the natural world.


Start with Simple Journal Writing Prompts for Your Child:


Introduce your child to nature journaling with meaningful writing prompts that draw connections between important life lessons and their outdoor observations. For instance, recently, during Valentine's Day, I discussed with my children the concept that "love is patient." To weave this idea into our nature journaling, I asked them to reflect on how nature also embodies patience. We observed water dripping off an icicle as it thawed in the sun, which led to a conversation about the incredible patience exhibited by nature.


Much like the seeds waiting in the ground for warmer temperatures to sprout, the icicle's slow transformation underscored the resilience and quiet determination that characterizes the natural world. Encourage your child to capture these observations in their journal, creating a visual and written record of the patience witnessed in the beauty of nature.


Combine Art and Exploration for Your Child:


Nature journaling is not just about drawing; it's about hands-on exploration. Feel free to share stories of personal triumphs that inspire your child to partake in risky play. Take a deep breath and let go of uncertainty. Risky play gives your child opportunities to gain the confidence and resilience that help them grow as an individual. 


On a recent family nature walk, my oldest, not a big risk-taker, surprised us when she stated she wanted to climb a large boulder. She struggled and appeared on the verge of throwing in the towel. But, from a distance, I told her I was 100% confident she could do it. She paused, found a new handhold, and fought her way to the top. We cheered with over-the-top enthusiasm, proud of her accomplishment. At that moment, I sensed that this opportunity to explore was a huge victory for her. It taught her perseverance and let her know that she could do hard things. 


Girl climbing tree

Encourage your child to capture these moments of triumph in their nature journal. Whether it's a sketch of the boulder, a written reflection on the challenge, or a collection of pressed flowers from the top, these entries become a tangible record of personal growth and the conquering of challenges in the great outdoors. Combining art and exploration transforms your child's nature journal into a powerful narrative of their journey and accomplishments.


Activities as a Family - Celebrate the Seasons with Your Child:


Unsure how to keep nature journaling exciting? Try documenting the changing seasons and discover the wonders of returning to the same sit spot multiple times throughout the year. Capture the vibrant colors of summer, the falling leaves of autumn, the quiet beauty of winter, and the first signs of spring. Returning to the same sit spot becomes a great way to see how an area changes throughout the seasons. This ongoing documentation highlights the beauty of nature's cycles and provides a unique perspective on the ever-changing outdoor landscape.


Children nature journaling in winter


Share Nature Discoveries with Your Child:


Create a space to share and reflect on your family's nature journaling experiences. Discuss the discoveries made, the emotions evoked, and the new things learned during each outdoor outing. Debriefing at the end of the walk becomes a valuable time for social-emotional learning, fostering communication and understanding among family members. This intentional reflection enhances the sense of connection and togetherness while providing a platform for your child to express their thoughts and feelings about the natural world. These opportunities can also provide a calm space to reflect on difficult emotions, offering a soothing and supportive environment for emotional expression and growth.


 

Nature walks paired with nature journaling are great activities to do as a family. From exploring unique spots to capturing the patience of nature and celebrating personal triumphs, nature walks create opportunities to blend creativity, exploration, and quality family time. So, gather your child's nature journaling kit, step outside, and let the family adventures begin!


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