Cooler temperatures and leaves changing colors are signs that autumn is on the way. This is the perfect time to get outdoors with your family to explore and observe. Adding new entries to a nature journal is a creative way for kids to document their discoveries.
There are several easy ways for students to start a nature journal. Anything from a simple sketch pad to a fancy leather bound book can serve as a nature journal. What will make the journal special are the unique entries your student includes throughout the years.
Here are five fun ideas for nature journal entries to capture the beauty of the autumn season:
1. Word Finds. On a page in the journal write words related to the season. Then, take a nature walk and look for items to write down for each letter in the word. For example:
F__________ A__________ L__________ L__________
Fern _______ Acorn_______ Liriope______ Lizard______
More words suggestions are: apple, autumn, chilly, deciduous, foliage, leaves, pine cone, season, squirrel, etc.
2. Falling Leaves. Gather a variety of leaves that have fallen to the ground. Trace the leaves onto a page in your nature journal. When you get home, do research to learn more about the leaf and make notes of interesting characteristics of the tree the leave came from.
3. Seasonal Landscapes. Find a comfortable spot to sit and rest. Draw what you see around you such as flowers, trees, water, grass, birds, etc. and label it “Autumn.” On the next three pages of your journal draw what you think the same landscape will look like in the other seasons, labeling the drawings for “Winter,” “Spring,” and “Summer.”
4. Animal Tales. Look for birds, insects, squirrels, and other creatures on your nature walks. Observe their actions and characteristics. In your journal write a poem or fictional story about an unusual animal you see. I still remember writing about “Sneaky Snake,” the crime-fighting garden snake I found when I was in middle school!
5. Weather Watcher. Create a weather log in your nature journal by tracking daily temperatures, winds, and precipitation. To make this project more fun you can even make your own weather station instruments like a wind vane and rain gauge.
We hope your family enjoys exploring nature this season. Encourage your children to get creative as they observe and document the world around them using their nature journals.
What are some of your favorite ways to learn outdoors in the fall?