I have been reading a lot about nature journaling recently. It is a lovey way to study nature using art and observation. By sketching or painting, it allows you to slow down and analyse something in great detail and you may spot things which you otherwise might miss. Look at the colours, the shapes, the textures in detail and experiment with techniques in your artwork. Nature journaling is a great way to learn skills, document your observations and gain knowledge about the natural world around us.
Charlotte Mason, a British educator who wrote many books and articles about education and home educating at the turn of the twentieth century, was an advocate of nature journaling. She believed, 'If we give our children regular opportunities to get in touch with God's creation, a habit is formed which will be a source of delight throughout their lives.' Not only did she believe in the benefits of nature journaling, she also believed in the importance of outdoor play in general. She suggested children should be outside for 4-6 hours a day if possible. While this amount of time can be difficult, we know that children should be spending more time outdoors than they currently do. Studies have found that children are spending half as much time outdoors than their parents did. Why not start nature journaling as a fun way of spending more time outdoors and getting in touch with the natural world?
We started our nature journaling adventures on a recent trip to Bowood Woodland Gardens in Wiltshire. It was somewhere I had never been before and it is only open for such a short time each year (mid April to mid June) so you still have time if you would like to visit. It is an outstandingly beautiful woodland full of Rhododendrons. The colours of the flowers were amazing and perfect inspiration for nature journaling.
We sat at the top of a small hill near a pond and set out our things. We bought paper, pencils and watercolour paints with us.
D found a vibrant pink flower on the floor (there were lots of fallen flowers beneath the bushes) and began to paint. She did not sketch first with pencil. First, she painted the outline of the flower and then she filled it in. She seemed quite engrossed with this activity and produced a wonderful painting.
The boys were too excited to sit still and had lots of fun running around with their friends, enjoying the freedom of the outdoor environment.
A carpet of bluebells covered parts of the woodland floor, a sign of the month of May.
Can you spot K amongst the flowers?
I have now purchased some wonderful artist pads in A5 size which I am hoping will become our nature journals and I am also hoping to make nature journaling a weekly activity. Have you tried nature journaling yet?