[Courtesy of the Youth Garden Project]

Today, let’s be naturalists and observe what springtime looks like in our neighborhood! Parents will like this since it’s a great way to develop kids’ observational skills while getting some much needed fresh air!

A naturalist is a scientist who specializes in studying nature. Naturalists know a lot about the world around us and usually spend a lot of time in the outdoors. Naturalists often carry field journals with them as a way to record data, write notes, and draw pictures of what they observe! A field journal is like a notebook or diary that you can take with you “into the field,” like on a nature walk or any other expedition outside.

For this activity, you will be creating your own field journal out of scrap paper and construction paper, but feel free to use a spare notebook or a regular piece of paper.

Step one: Make your journal!

It’s easy to make your own homemade journal! Just take a few sheets of plain or scrap paper and fold in half horizontally and staple together! You can even make a cover using construction paper and decorate it with coloring supplies.

Step two: Look around you!

Step outside with your journal and a pen or pencil. You can go on a walk, sit in a favorite spot in nature, or even look around your own yard or garden! What do you notice? Pay close attention to your surroundings and see if you can make any new discoveries.

Think of using all five senses (touch, sight, smell, hearing, taste) as you make your observations. Get closer. What kinds of plants do you see? Do you notice any insects? Any wildlife?

Step three: Write or draw what you want to remember!

Just like a scientist would, write down some notes in your field journal and draw a couple of pictures. If you are able, find a few leaf or twig samples to tape into your notebook. What do these things look like now, in spring? How do you think they will change as Summer approaches?

Go back to the same spot as the weeks go by and observe how nature is changing over time!

For more lessons and fun activities from Moab’s Youth Garden Project, go to www.youthgardenproject.org/

YGP offers a lesson in looking