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Nurture the Love of Nature

 

No matter where a child grows up, their environment provides the opportunity of exposure to unique experiences in nature. Maintaining a journal of the experiences they encounter introduces children to a variety of skills they can utilize in the future.  Starting at a young age, children can develop their artistic abilities, writing skills, critical thinking, research, and even begin to develop a scientific understanding of the world.

Bound books, of any kind, are the only standard item for keeping a nature journal..  Encourage the child's personal interest in their journal, because they may want to review it in the future.  Parents can offer up a variety of supplies from glue sticks, to age appropriate scissors, markers, and pens.  Pay attention for nature themed stamps and hole cutters, which can spark creativity for children.  Although limitless ideas on how to fill a nature journal exist, there will be a sample provided here.

Weather provides an excellent example of something available for daily examination and recording.  Let the child examine and record the temperature.  Will the temperature match the season?  Can the child make an accurate prediction for rain or snow?  Older children may desire to check the average temperature for this time year on the internet, which engages their research skills.

Plant identification can become a hobby for the interested child.  Start recording plant identifies by having the child draw what they encounter while spending time outdoors or have them collect samples to glue into their nature journal.  A glue stick continues the most efficient and mess free method to accomplish this.  Encourage them to fill out their pages with information that they read pertaining to the specific plant that's being identified.

Wild animals supply an exciting way for children to connect with nature and utilize their journal.  They can search for a specific animal or find animals while they explore.  If the child knows how to write, encourage them to research the animal and journal the information they find.  Younger children may find gluing printed pictures and information an effective way to create records of their favorite animals.

Creating opportunities for children to explore nature can be a simple and effective way to encourage them to fill out their nature journals.  Allow them to channel their own interests and creativity by bringing their journals on nature walks.  Pay attention to local parks or wildlife refuges which may host events specifically geared toward teaching young children about the natural world around them.

“Teaching children about the natural world should be treated as one of the most important events in their lives.” – Thomas Berry