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Junior Naturalist

Help me welcome another guest poster today- Ann from Doodles and Jots. Her site is wonderful if you haven’t been there yet. I always feel like I’m taking a creative nature walk with her when I’m there, which is why I’m loving this post she crafted for us.


Mini Nature Journal Printable

Hi, I’m Ann from Doodles and Jots where I blog about nature inspired creativity for kids plus some practical mom stuff too.  My lifelong passion for art and twenty years experience as a product designer has provided me with the process and skills I draw on for my content creation.  I live on Cape Cod with my musical husband and inquisitive kids.  I love being a mom and exploring, learning, and creating together!

I discovered Jeanette’s funny blog through Blogher’s NaBloPoMo (a themed daily blogging challenge).  It was one of the first blogs I started following.  She is a very entertaining writer, finder of cool things, and here, a thinker-upper of awesome kid’s art projects.  We even have something in common.  We were classmates at RISD although we didn’t know each other back then.  This is why I am so excited and honored to be guest posting for her today!


Mini Nature Journal Printable •


I first realized the teaching power of drawing in high school biology class.  We had assignments to draw and annotate what we saw through the microscope.  I loved biology and art so this was really fun for me.  I took pride in rendering those amoebas and carefully adding the pink shading.  In addition to being fun it was also highly educational.  I still have a very strong visual memory of how plants have cell walls and animal cells don’t.  When you draw what you see you have to get a sense of the whole, study all the details, send it up to your brain, back down into your hand, and out through your pencil.  Drawing what you see makes you notice and retain things you wouldn’t otherwise.


junior naturalists • mini nature journal printable •


There are so many wonderful things to discover and learn from in nature.  Why not grab my printable PDF mini nature journal and become a junior naturalist!  It includes prompts to get you started (like find something big, something small, etc.) and fun frames for your sketches.


nature journal preview


Although this activity was better suited to my 7 year old, my 5 year old was also able to finish most of his drawings on our hour long nature walk.  I scribed his observations later at home.  We saw LOTS of cool things including butterflies, mushrooms, interesting leaves, and beautiful flowers!


For folding instructions see this post.


Since it’s summer, don’t forget sun hats, sun screen, and insect repellent (we found a nice all natural one from Luffa Tree).  You might also want to pack water bottles and snacks.  For drawing supplies I like number 2 pencils and colored pencils, and to make drawing outdoors a little easier you can make a mini clipboard from a piece of cardboard and a binder clip.


Like Doodles and Jots on Facebook and share photos of your nature journals too!

What do you think?

Written by Joanne Gonzales

Joanne Gonzales has a passion for getting creative. Whether she is making personalized DIY gifts or taking part in larger arts and crafts projects, she puts her all into making new and beautiful things.

She lives with a group of close friends and believes in the natural way of life. Joanne has built an outdoor arts and crafts gallery that overlooks the countryside in her hometown, which is where all of her creations come to life.

Art started off as a hobby, but over time Joanne has mastered her skills and sold some of her favorite pieces. She works full time as a florist and has done for many years. It helps keep her creative juices flowing and she hopes to one day open her own florist shop with a twist.


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  1. I can’t wait to print this and head into the woods with Bodhi (8), to look for mushrooms and bunnies and leaves!
    Thanks Ann, informative as ever!

    • Mushrooms, bunnies and leaves sound like a pretty good trio of items to find. We’re going to wait and do this expedition in a few weeks when the weather is a little cooler; I’m so excited!

  2. Excellent…excellent…excellent! Coolness all around here. I didn’t know you guys went to RISD. I was at Brown just a few blocks down. There is so much coolness at RISD.

    Ann, you know how much I love you. I was thrilled to see that you guest posted here. This site is Awesome! This is my go to site for anything art related! Specially for non-messy art related (Plug for Artchoo’s non-messy pinterest board!).

    I just love all of your ideas, Ann – and this one is no exception. I’m going to print this out and use it for a homeschool project this fall. Love it!

    Thanks so much for the idea. I always get such great inspiration from you and Jeannette.


      • I do it. These days I don’t even bother printing it out first. I just sit next to my computer screen. It is not always practical to draw from life in the elements. Although sometimes the elements and time constraints of being outside can help you be more direct. Another thing you can do is bring smaller objects home to draw.

        My kids haven’t thought to try it themselves and I haven’t suggested it yet. They are 5 and 7. Now I am curious to try it though. Thanks Faigie!

  3. I would love to use these as party favors! The link for instructions on how to fold doesn’t seem to work though, can you let me know how?

  4. Do you now where I can get this nature journal or if anyone has a clean copy? I would like to use them for my American Heritage Girls for a Nature and Wildlife badge requirement. The original link doesn’t work.

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