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

Life Lab

Join us for tomorrow’s Family Gardening Winter Webinar at 3pm! Register at LifeLab.org/events 🌱Linktree in our bio as well🌱#naturejournal #compost #soil #wintergardening #family #gardening #lifelab #schoolgardens

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2 weeks ago

Life Lab

Join Life Lab educators for a fun, family Winter gardening webinar on February 16th at 3pm. We will focus on the various ways to plan, create, and support a healthy garden. Topics include choosing a garden space, creative container options, what to plant now, and preparing for Spring. 🌱#gardeneducation #LifeLab #schoolgardens #familygardening #wintergarden 🌻Registration link in our bio

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1 month ago

Life Lab

🌱 Become a Life Lab Certified Educator!🌱 We only have 3 spots left in our new School Garden Educator Certification Program! Sign-up today for the entire series of courses or for individual courses by visiting website, link below. Our first course, Building Connections in the Garden, starts with asynchronous work on January 21st and our first synchronous session will be on January 28th from 3:30 – 5:00 PST. You may continue to sign up through January 27th or until all spots are filled. If needed, we highly encourage you to join the waitlist to get priority registration for our next cohort in the fall of 2021 or should there become spots available. 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 8 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/

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2 months ago

Life Lab

Looking to 2021 with a magnified view of our impact on nature and our connections with each other. A healthy garden is a diverse and sustainable ecosystem full of wonder and beauty in all seasons. #LifeLab #2021 #gardeneducation #science #bettertogether

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2 months ago

Life Lab

At the beginning of the year, Life Lab launched our Healthy Futures campaign in response to the financial impact of COVID on our programs. We are grateful for our continued partnerships and our resilient staff who had to reimagine our work and how to best serve our local and national communities. The innovative outcome of this process includes new resources such as Next Generation Science in the Garden Curriculum, Life Lab Educator Garden Certification Program, Life Lab Webinar Series, Back Pocket Learning, and more!2021 is full of potential and positivity, however……🌱 WE STILL NEED YOUR HELP! 🌱Our 2020 annual operating budget is $1,300,000 and we’re almost there!!! We are only $12,223 away meeting that goal! Click here ow.ly/FP0950CSIlg to help us reach our before the end of the year. Remember, every little bit goes a long way! 💚For more information about our Healthy Futures campaign please visit here ow.ly/jwKh50CSIlf.

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2 months ago

Life Lab

The Life Lab Garden Educators just finished building and installing brand new veggie boxes at one of our partner schools, in Watsonville!!! Can’t wait to see these flourish! 🌱🥕🐝🌻#gardensofgratitude

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2 months ago

Life Lab

The Life Lab Garden Educators just finished building and installing brand new veggie boxes at one of our partner schools, in Watsonville!!! Can’t wait to see these flourish! 🌱🥕🐝🌻#gardensofgratitude

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3 months ago

Life Lab

🌱 Become a Life Lab Certified Educator! 🌱Life Lab is excited to announce our new School Garden Educator Certification Program! We’ve put together a series of 4 on-line courses that will guide and support educators in becoming a Life Lab-Certified School Garden Educator. 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 8 weeks long and include 4 synchronous meetings, at-home work, and a unique coaching model. It is also possible to sign-up for individual courses separately to learn specific content or brush up on one topic that meets the needs of your program.Registration for the full certification series opens today, December 7th. Click the link belowow.ly/ifka50CFczl

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3 months ago

Life Lab

Join us today at 1pm with nutritionist, @jocelyndubin MS, RD for a healthy conversation about nutrition especially during the holidays and the benefits of eating a rainbow. Register at LifeLab.org/events Link is also in our bio #foodismedicine #teachthekids #eatarainbow #LifeLab #schoolgardens

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3 months ago

Life Lab

Life Lab is thrilled to announce the launch of 3 new Next Generation Science in the Garden curriculum units for grades K-2🐝 These units are aligned to #NGSS and written by Life Lab staff supported by experienced classroom teachers and piloted with over 8,000 students across 12 schools. For more info go to LifeLab.org/ngsscurriculum

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