Nature Notebook Nagging?

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  • Anonymous

    I have to insist that my kids write in thier nature notebooks. They rarely use them, if ever, on thier own initiative. What can I do to inspire them in this area? Any ideas?


    Well, I think your post may have given it away :). Are they required to WRITE in their notebooks? Or draw?

    For my kids – the boys especially – the drawing of what they see is what is fun about it. Later, we look at the drawings and glean a few facts to talk about and write.

    The other thing they LOVE is that I set them loose in a secure natural environment to do their nature notebooks. They each kind of find something on their own that interests them, or a spot that they love…and they see what they can find. It is the discovery portion of the Nature Study that gets them really excited about it. It feels like an adventure to go off with their little backpack and see what God will show them that day. And since we have a fairly large family, I think we all like a little quiet time in Nature to just discover the world around us. I keep an eye on them, of course!

    My oldest son is very into being an outdoorsman, so for him it is using his field guides to find edible plants…or tracking wildlife. Mapping and getting the lay of land and discovering the food chain in a particular area is important to him. So Nature study is a bit of a ‘hunt’ for him.

    Now, my daughter – who is older and much more ‘artsy’ – is now into photographing things that she sees so that she can draw them and write about them later. Or sometimes, the photograph IS the Nature Study (the light, the shapes of the tree limbs, etc…). She also loves using the watercolor pencils to capture what she sees.

    My little ones collected goose feathers by a lake this morning. They take little treasures like these home to draw and study. We might talk about the different kinds of feathers and their purposes, or draw a goose from memory or a photograph. They get excited about just about any new creature or creation – even acorns!

    I think my advice would be to find out what does get your kids excited about Nature, and then use that to make their Nature notebooks less about an ‘assignment’ and more about ‘discovery’. It is a rare child who doesn’t get excited about being outside in a natural setting…I am betting your kids just don’t like doing an ‘assignment’ about it :).

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