As Jack Frost puts away his icy touch for another year, spring is starting to emerge from its slumber, bringing new life into the world. Three years ago the Spring gave me my own little life to look after, in the form of my little boy and we have kept a nature journal ever since.
I admit at under the age of one there wasn't a lot it in the journal; drawings of the first lamb he saw, the first leaf he picked up, the first flower he held which we pressed between the pages. As the years go on from Spring through to Summer, it's a joy to go through his journals with him and learn words, textures, colours and see his understanding and passion for the world around him grow.
It doesn't have to be an expensive thing either! Pieces of paper tied together with twine with some card as a cover can do just as well as costly natural paper notebooks from Bali, but the memories are priceless, not to mention the fact it keeps them entertained on long walks and days in the garden.
So here are a few ideas for things to include in yours:
Bark and Leaf Rubbings
We love doing rubbings — each unique.
A book about trees is invaluable as a way for your little one to search for the trees which the leaves have come from so that you can write the name in the nature journal. All that is required is some paper and a crayon and there you go!
Teaching your child to love gardening teaches them to care, nurture, appreciate nature and get some much needed time outdoors together.
After all the hard work planting seeds, bulbs and looking after them, getting to take one of the flowers and press it so that they can keep it forever is a beautiful thing to behold.
Simply press the flower between two sheets of greaseproof paper or kitchen towel and place in a large book. And wait for them to dry out completely. The patience is well worth it - I even use them in some of my paintings!
Who doesn't love a treasure hunt? Making your own is very easy and is a fun way to make any outing more interesting. If you don't have time, my website has a free PDF which you can print out and take with you, or try it in your back garden.
As children get older, try making it into a trading card game that they can play with their friends; every time they find something they get another card to place in their journal! It is also a brilliant way of seeing what nature is in your local area which you can give to nearby wildlife conservation charities.
We can't forget about our incredible abundance of native birds. By taking prints of the feathers found (after washing of course) and working out which bird they are from via a book or two, a lovely collection can grow!
Drawings, photographs, collages, natural dying samples can also be collected in a nature box! Keep shells, twigs, feathers, leaves, and pieces of bark in to tell stories and share memories.