Spring has finally arrived after a very long winter, and it’s time to enjoy what nature has to offer. We know from experience that in spring, trees are budding, flowers are bursting from the ground with color, birds are chirping, and insects are buzzing around. But do we really stop and fully experience this most beautiful season?
A fun art and writing activity to help encourage students to slow down and really observe their outdoor surroundings, is to have them keep a field or nature journal.
Using a simple handmade book of folded paper, a composition book, or a blank sketch journal, ask your students to record in pictures and words, what they see, smell and hear outside. Children can sketch individual leaves, flowers, grass, bugs, birds, rocks, bark, or anything else that interests them using simple art supplies such as colored pencils, crayons, markers and/or a set of children's watercolors. Observations can be recorded in their own backyard, the school playground, a local park, or even on a city street. Next to each sketch, ask students to write some important sensory information about the object(s) or place they have chosen to draw. A field journal could also work well as a year long project, asking students record what they see in each of the four seasons on a weekly or monthly basis.
Two books that can help introduce teachers and students to field or nature journals and corresponding activities are: