Ideas for Drawing In Your Nature Journal

I decided to share some links to pages that I use to help us draw in our nature journal. Several are links to coloring pages but I like their black line drawings that simplify an object so we can learn to draw them on our own in our journals. Make sure to check out all the links even if they are from a state or habitat other than one where you currently live. Many times there are animals, plants, and birds that you will have in your location too. I don’t necessarily print the coloring book pages out and color them. We will use them as a guide to draw our own sketches of things we see in our Green Hour or for our nature journal.

Wildflowers:
Celebrating Wildflowers from the US Forest Service
These coloring pages are in PDF format so once you bring up the page, you can print out just the page you want and there is no need to print every page out on your printer.

Birds:
Feeder Birds Coloring Book from Cornell
These are not only coloring pages but could actually be used as notebooking pages for your nature journal. I print out the table of contents to keep in my notebook as a reference. This way I know what birds are included in the coloring book.

Trees:
Guide to Tree Sketching
I’ve shared this one before but it is worth listing again.

Flowers:
How to Draw Flowers and Plants
Step by step to various garden flowers

Ducks:
How to Draw a Duck on YouTube

Draw a Butterfly-Scientific Illustration

This is a fantastic page that teaches about how a scientist draws a specimen.

Various animals, birds, and reptiles:
Wildlife of New Mexico
This coloring book is worth a look. I think it is especially well done and many of the animals are found in other states as well. PDF format.

Wildlife of New Jersey
This is another really well done coloring book.

Wetlands Coloring Book
Lots of great ideas for drawing animals and scenes in this book.


Nevada State Wildlife ABC Coloring Book

Texas Wildlife Coloring Book

Hope there is something here that will help you with your endeavors to draw in your nature journal.

Pacific Treefrog

Pacific treefrog, Hyla regilla, found at the American River, California.

Bright sunny day.

He and a friend treated us to a show of their voices. They are very loud and make their song by expanding their balloon like throats. It is a fascinating thing to see.

Here’s a video that I shared on my other blog that has the frogs croaking at 25 seconds and 50 seconds into the video.
Pacific treefrog Video

The video is terrible but the audio is fantastic. They really were as loud as they sound in the video.

Handbook of Nature Study, page 186
“The frog may be studied in its native situation by the pupils or it may be brought to the school and placed in an aquarium; however, to make a frog aquarium there needs to be a stick or stone projecting about the water, for the frog likes to spend part of the time entirely out of water or only partially submerged.”

On pages 178 and 179 of the Handbook, Anna Comstock talks a little about a different variety of tree frog and shows a few photos.
“It is by means of these sticky, disclike toes that the animals hold themselves upon the tree trunks or other upright objects.”

Here is a nature journal entry my son did last summer of another Pacific treefrog that we observed.
Pacific Tree Frog-nature journal
We are going to be able to identify this little creature now when we hear his call and we feel privileged to have had this experience.

Outdoor Hour Challenge #6 Starting a Collection

“It’s a good thing to learn more about nature in order to share this knowledge with children; it’s even better if the adult and child learn about nature together. And it’s a lot more fun.” Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv

rocks in a bowl
Easy collection of rocks in a bowl.

Now may be a great time to start a collection of items for nature study. This can be an organized collection or various items collected to display on a seasonal table.

If your nature study is going along well and you are enjoying the rhythm of your time together, don’t add anything new. The collections are something that can happen at any point in your study of nature. I would rather see you spending more time outdoors if the collections take away from your energy to keep that outdoor time up. On the other hand, if your children are already bringing items home and they want a way to display them, give the collection a try. 



1. Nature study is something that builds from week to week and this week’s assignment includes elements of the first five assignments . In your focus area, pick another item from your list to read about with your child from the Handbook of Nature Study. After reading about the item to the child, take a few minutes to read the observation suggestions to yourself. Keep these ideas in mind as you head out for your 10-15 minutes of nature time outdoors.

“Out-of-door life takes a child afield and keeps him in the open air, which not only helps him physically and occupies his mind with sane subjects, but keeps him out of mischief. It is not only during childhood that this is true, for love of nature counts much for sanity in later life.” Handbook of Nature Study, page 2

2. After your outdoor time, take time to discuss the outing with your child, helping them to find words to describe their experience. Add anything new to your list of items observed in your focus area that you are keeping in your nature journal. Make note of any additional research that needs to be done for things your child is interested in.

“ In nature study any teacher can with honor say, “I do not know”; for perhaps the question asked is as yet unanswered by the great scientists.” page 3

3. Give an opportunity for a nature journal entry. Remember this can be a simple drawing, a label, and a date. Challenges 2 and 3 have ideas for alternatives to drawing in the nature journal.

4. Think about starting a collection to supplement your nature journal in your focus area.

Some ideas for collections: leaf rubbings, tree bark rubbings, pressed flowers, rocks, feathers, shells, seeds, insects, or photographs or drawings of subjects that are too large to collect like trees and clouds.

Some ideas for storage:

  • Egg cartons work well for things like rocks or seeds.
  • Sheet protectors work well for holding items like feathers, leaves, or photographs.
  • Specialty boxes you purchase for insects, rocks, shells, or butterflies.
  • Wicker paper plate holder to keep each season’s items on your science shelf. (See photo in blog entry.) It works well for things like small cones, leaves, twigs, moss, or seed pods.
  • Shoe boxes work well if you make little compartments with cardboard or cardstock to section off the items.
  • Tic-tac boxes for sand, small rocks, or transporting insects.

This challenge is found in the Getting Started ebook which is included in every level of membership. The ebook provides the challenge as shown above as well as custom notebook pages for your follow up nature journal if desired.