Nature journaling with a toddler? Is it possible?
It is possible and it can be a lot of fun too! It's nice to make a few observations while out in nature especially if we visit the same spot regularly. We can make observations about the big things like the wind or the raging waves, or about the small things like a tiny crab claw found in the rockpool. Here are three ways we enjoy nature journaling with our two year old.
We take a journal or notepad and some pencils for mark making and free drawing. I don't make any observations or point anything out, I just allow my toddler to draw. Today we used a small clipboard and some paper. The clipboard provides a hard surface for drawing on and the child can also easily walk around while drawing. As it's only a couple sheets of paper it's fine if it gets wet. My toddler doesn't want to draw every time we are out in nature but it's worth packing for when the interest strikes!
I love to take a polariod (we used a Instax) for my toddler to use as it's perfect for easy nature journalling, you can just tape the picture in the journal. However, my toddler is very snap happy (uses lots of film) and I also don't want our camera near the water today. Today we took photos with my camera phone and I've printed them at home and put them into the journal.
This is a great way to revisit some of the things we've seen during the day, to further explore what is going on in the picture and to add some language.
As in the very top image, sometimes I will add written words to the journal too. As a general rule, I don't offer markers to my toddler but for journaling, a black marker is really effective.
This can also be a good time to ask the toddler what is happening in the picture, or ask what he can see and make my own notes underneath the photograph. For the purpose of nature journaling, I try to do this as soon as we get home so the child's memory is still fresh.
Collage is another fun way to involve a toddler in nature journaling. Here we've used double-sided tape in the journal. I leave to top layer on and peel it off once we are ready to use it. The shells won't stay here as they are too heavy but the seaweed and small plants will stay. Flowers, small sticks, leaves all stick nicely to the tape. Using contact or a sticky tape bracelet are good options for a toddler too.
It may be helpful for future reference to write the date on each journal page.
We try to involve our toddler in the practical everyday things we are doing and not exclude him based on age or skill, rather we try to find a way that he can participate in a meaningful way. ❤️