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Homeschool Hacking Tips: Make your own Nature Journal!

Here’s a very cool, but also quite easy project that I learned about in my twins’ homeschool science class at the local nature preserve last year. I was cleaning off a much neglected bookshelf this weekend when I came across the materials we used to make several of these journals. That reminded me that I’ve been meaning to blog about these and post the instructions:

Materials needed

You’ll need the materials I’ve pictured above: 1 stick, 1 rubber band, and a small stack of paper for each journal. You should plan to use a sheet of stiff paper or card stock for the cover, to add durability. Feel free to use colored paper for any or all of the pages.

Fold stack in half and cut out notches

Begin by stacking your paper up, with the cover sheet on top. Fold the paper in half, to form a booklet. Then, use scissors to cut 2 small notches in the spine of the booklet. These notches will allow you to attach the stick to the spine with a rubber band.

Attaching the rubber band, step one

Hook the rubber band over one end of the stick, and then push the free end of the rubber band through the notch in the spine.

Attaching the rubber band, step two

Stretch that end of the rubber band down across the middle of the inside of the booklet, and push it back through the lower notch. You can then hook it around the bottom end of the stick, like so:

Ta-Da!

That’s all there is to it! You now have very naturey nature journals that your children can decorate and use any way that they want.

Ready for action

Bonus: Ideas for using these nature journals in Winter

Now that you are all set, here are a few suggestions for using these (or any other) nature journals in wintertime.

  • If the weather permits, bundle up and get some fresh air. Try to figure out where animals might be living, or how they are finding food and water in winter. Make notes in your journal.
  • Use one or more pages in your journal to make bark rubbings. Hold the page over the bark of a tree, and rub with the side of an unwrapped crayon. (You can do this before assembly, if it will be easier.)
  • Observe what birds are still hanging around this time of year. Draw or write some in your journal. Remember, the Great Backyard Bird Count is coming up February 15-18, and you can use your journal to help keep notes.
  • If weather is too extreme to get outside, you can use binoculars to observe birds at a feeder or birdbath in your backyard.
  • You children can also use the journals to make their own books about nature or science concepts that you are studying. Not only is this a great way to document what you are learning, but they are useful for review as well, especially when the kids show the finished projects to friends and relatives.

Enjoy! And let me know of any other uses you come up with!

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14 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Great hack! My daughter was looking over my shoulder as I was reading this post and asked if we could make one. Right now. So I better get off the computer!

  2. april

    LOL! Have fun! (My girls are tickled that another little girl likes this idea as much as they do.)

  3. We are doing the same thing with our kids. As outside can be a bit of a trick here in Canada in the winter at times we are using Christian Liberty Press’ Nature Readers as “inspiration” we read a page or two and then sketch/journal what we learned. And we have bound our books the same way. Lots of fun. Thanks for adding the pictures.

  4. Thanks for sharing this great idea!

  5. Jennifer Bailey

    Very clever.

  6. What a great idea! Enjoy your nature walks.

  7. april

    @ Barbara: Great idea to use the nature readers as inspiration for the journals when the weather is not conducive to outdoor adventures! Awesome.

    @ Renae, Jennifer, and Patricia: Your kind words are much appreciated!

  8. this is super cute. I am going to try this with the girls I nanny. They both love to journaly.

  9. Tonya M

    A friend of mine sent this link to us and I am so glad she did. It is perfect! A double bonus is that the rubber bands can also hold onto the pencils, something we are always misplacing around here.

    Can’t wait to make our own!

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