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Nature Journaling- The Ultimate Outdoor STEAM Activity


Whether you live in the heart of a big city, the rural countryside, or any place in between, our backyards and neighborhoods are full of incredible nature for us to explore. Nature journaling is a STEAM activity that allows us to mindfully appreciate all of the diverse life around us. Not only is nature journaling a great way to get outside and have fun, it also can teach us and our learners important science process and creativity skills. And the best part? All you need is a notebook, something to write with, and a bit of curiosity!

Where do I start?


While there really is no wrong way to journal, if you are looking for somewhere to learn the basics or get some tips on how to best capture your subjects in your journal, look no further than John Muir Laws Nature Journal Connection. Developed in partnership with the Children’s Creativity Museum, this video series is a comprehensive guide for how to build your creative and scientific nature journaling skills. With these videos you will practice making observations, inferring, predicting, and more while also honing artistic skills as you mindfully notice the nature around you. Start from the beginning, or pick and choose whichever videos sound the most interesting to you and your learner.


Explore the whole video series: The Nature Journal Connection Video Series– Children's Creativity Museum

Going Further- Nature Journaling + Howtosmile At-Home Activities
Looking for some hands-on STEM activities to compliment your nature journaling? Check out the Nature Journaling Activity Bundles developed by the Children’s Creativity Museum which pairs related howtosmile activities specifically meant to be able to be done at-home with content from select John Muir Laws videos.

Nature Journaling Activity Bundle #1

Video: The Nature Journal Connection, Episode 2: I notice, I wonder, It reminds me of

In this video, John Muir Laws shows us how to use observation and question asking skills to notice beautiful things in nature that we may not have otherwise. Let’s explore other ways to mindfully observe nature, categorize toys, and say ”this reminds me of” with the fun hands-on activities below!

Related Hands-on At-Home Howtosmile Activities:
Animal Guess Who | Museum of Science, Boston
Biomimicry Mash-Up | The Tech Interactive
Outdoor Explorers | Museum of Science, Boston

Nature Journaling Activity Bundle #2

Video: The Nature Journal Connection, Episode 21, Birdsong in your Nature Journal

In this video, John Muir Laws shows us how to mindfully listen to bird calls and create a drawing of their song. Let’s continue to explore sound and vibrations by making your own rain stick, creating your own speakers, and exploring how sound travels in the fun hands-on activities below!

Related Hands-on At-Home Howtosmile Activities:
Make Your Own Rainstick | Exploratorium
Tune Booster | Science Museum Group
Metal Noise Maker | Amazeum

For all 5 Nature Journaling Activity Bundles, download the summary PDF from the Children's Creativity Museum.

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