Life Lab

Life Lab cultivates children's love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden-based education.

Garden Journal

Nature Journaling

Kids create their own garden journals and use them to record observations of nature in the garden, through drawing, writing, and painting. Journaling brings literacy, art, and creativity into the outdoors and can be used as a one time activity or as an ongoing routine; it can be guided and scientific, or open-ended, or anywhere in between. 30 min, Ages 5+

Materials:

  • 8 ½” x 11” white cardstock or mixed media paper, two sheets per student (or one sheet if it’s larger paper)
  • 8 ½” x 11” mixed media or copy paper, 5 sheets per student
  • Heavy duty stapler and staples, or hole punch and yarn/string/rubber bands & sticks
  • Watercolor paints for all students, brushes, and water bowls/cups
  • Pencils, colored pencils, or markers

Part 1, Making the journals: For younger students, you may want to put together the journals ahead of time. For each journal, place a sheet of thicker paper on top and bottom with 5 pieces of copy paper inside to make a book. Staple through the front of the book near the long edge.  Kids can personalize the covers by painting with watercolors so plan a separate time, once journals are dry, for the first use of the journals. Kids can also title their journals with something like, “Kiara’s Garden Journal.”

Part 2, Using the journals: The first time students use their journals, introduce the idea of the journal as a record of happenings in the garden or your outdoor space. Before reaching the garden, set the tone for creeping into the garden quietly (in order to be able to see the most animal life); spreading out in the garden; and finding a spot to sit down to work in their journals. Let them know how much time they will have, and that you will come around with a silent “two minute” signal (holding up two fingers) when it’s time to finish up their journaling. Ask them to draw or write about three living things they can see from their spot. Ask students, What are examples of living things in the garden? (trees, other plants, insects, spiders, birds, lichen…) Set boundaries if needed, and establish an auditory signal that you will use when it’s time to gather back up. When everyone knows the plan, venture out to the garden and guide students in following through with approaching quietly, spreading out, and working in their journals. 

Next time- Ideas for future garden journaling: 

  • Draw or sketch plants, animals, flowers, insects, feathers, rocks, or other things students 
  • notice in the garden
  • Record observations, such as the temperature in different locations or at different times, or the height of your pea plants each week as they grow, or the evidence of pests munching your plants 
  • Record garden events such as what the class planted, or when the first pea appeared
  • Chronicle a plant’s life from seed to plant to seed again; or simply choose a plant that is already growing, and draw it as it changes.
  • Write an acrostic poem about the garden
  • Write a story
  • Use these prompts: I notice… I wonder… It reminds me of… 

More Journal Ideas:

Kidsgardening.org Pollinator Journal Download

John Muir Law’s Nature Journaling Guide and Nature Journaling Clubs

Make a Simple Garden Journal Video from Soil Born Farms

Garden Journaling with Kids by Life Lab Educator Jennifer

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1 week ago

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Great opportunity for young beekeepers! 🐝🐝 Check out Bee Grant from Whole Kids Foundation in partnership with The Bee Cause Project.Both WKF and BCP have been wonderful partners in promoting bee education and food literacy. See• WFK "World of Honey Bees," wonderful resource including Bee Activity Box featuring The Thing About Bees: A Love Letter. bit.ly/3h5SEb4• BCP Q&A with BEE author/illustrator Shabazz Larkin on #creativity #mindfulness & how we can take steps to care for the earth. bit.ly/3AoptJmGreat sharing for September #FoodLiteracyMonth and October National #FarmToSchoolMonth! ..#Bees #Pollinators #BeeEducation #BeeGarden #SaveTheBees #GiveBeesAChance #SchoolGarden #GardenEducation #OutdoorEducation #EnvironmentalEducation #ClimateEducation #FarmToSchool #AITC #AgClassroom #AgLiteracy #ScienceEducation #STEM #STEAM #FoodLiteracy #FoodEducation National Farm to School NetworkNational Agriculture in the ClassroomAmerican Farm Bureau Foundation for AgricultureJunior Master Gardener ProgramThe American Horticultural Society FoodCorps Common Threads Farm Center for Ecoliteracy Life LabThe Edible Schoolyard Project Edible Schoolyard NYCBzzt! Bee grant applications are now open! If you are interested in receiving an educational beehive or support for bee programming at your school or organization, apply for our bee grant in partnership with The Bee Cause Project. Learn more and register for our 9/15 webinar at: bit.ly/3DDfkL3

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🌱 We only have 2 spots left in our School Garden Educator Certification Program! 🌱 Sign-up today for the entire series of courses on our website. Our first course, Building Connections in the Garden, starts with asynchronous work on September 1st and our first synchronous session will be on Wednesday, September 8th from 3:30 – 5:00 PST. You may continue to sign up through August 31st or until all spots are filled. Upon completion of the 4 courses, participants will receive a certificate and the distinction of being a Life Lab-Certified Garden Educator. Each course will last approximately 4 weeks long and include 4 synchronous meetings, at-home work, and a unique coaching model tailored to each individual’s needs.lifelab.org/educator-certification-program/💚 We look forward to working with you!💚

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1 month ago

Nikki Patterson

Beautiful way to end this spontaneous day. Thank you Don💐 Thank you Life Lab Thank you UCSC CASFS Farm and Thank you Matthew Raiford#grateful #Interconnections #bressnnyam #blackfarmers #heritagefarm #yeschef #badass #organicgardening @bookshopsc ❤️

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¡Estamos emocionados de anunciar la versión en Español del curso GRATIS aclamado, Enseñando en el Aula de la Naturaleza! Conéctese con otros educadores y desarrolle nuevas estrategias y maneras de ver el aula al aire libre. Es una gran oportunidad tanto para educadores nuevos a la enseñanza al aire libre y educación basada en el jardín como para los más experimentados en esta práctica. Lea más y registrese aquí: wischoolgardens.org/EAN-curso/Wisconsin School Garden Network _________________________________We are excited to announce a Spanish language version of the acclaimed FREE course, Teaching in Nature’s Classroom! Connect with educators and develop new strategies and ways of seeing the outdoor classroom. A great opportunity for educators new to outdoor and garden-based learning, as well as educators who are experienced in the field. Learn more and register here wischoolgardens.org/EAN-curso/Wisconsin School Garden Network

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