Nature Journaling with a Four Year Old

Mr 4 and I have been keeping a Nature Journal together. The aim is to help develop observation and curiosity. I want him to look deeply at creation and see its Creator.

I could spout off all the different birds, animals and plants that he can identify, but that would detract from my purpose in keeping the journal. It is not to accumulate facts, but to wonder. Often we focus on one particular plant or animal for quite some time as we realise just how beautiful or prolific it is in our area.

When we drive or walk through the country, we play eye spy or spot-o with all the trees and plants that we have learnt together. We comment on differences between the same family of plants. Wattle, for example, which is in flower at the moment, comes in all different shades of yellow, in all different sizes and with different leaves. Sometimes we collect samples to take home and draw. My car is full of Casuarina needles and my house is full of Wattle.

We are slowly making this a habit. We have used our journal on and off all year and are now starting to make filling it in a deliberate part of our routine. We often talk about what we see as we are out and about. Every second Wednesday is dedicated to a nature Adventure. Now, on Thursdays during Morning Time, we take some time to write an entry.

Many of our entries are merely observations. Some are pictures. At the moment, he tells me what he sees and I write and draw it for him. He helps colour it in. He is still learning how to write and draw and struggles a lot with perfectionism. The journal is not about his drawing skills but about teaching him to be intentionally curious (thanks John Muir Laws for the phrase).

Here are a few pictures of our journal. Hopefully you can see them okay, because they’re quite light. They’re nothing special. Merely a tool that we are using to help develop Wisdom and Wonder.

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