You don’t really need much to enjoy nature, but sometimes it’s fun to invest in a few supplies that can make the experience more memorable and enjoyable. Here is a list of our family’s favorite nature study tools. I’ll add to it as we find new things (because we are always finding new things!). There are so many benefits for getting out in nature. You can read about them here, here, here, and here!
Our Favorite Nature Journaling Art Supplies
Moleskine Art Plus Sketchbook, Large, Plain, Black, Hard Cover (5 x 8.25) – My favorite nature sketchbook. It is compact, holds watercolor paint without bleeding through and has a handy elastic to hold everything together. We bought the kids a mini version of this and that works well too.
Prismacolor Erasable Blue Colored Pencil – Really any blue colored pencil will do. I learned about this idea when reading John Muir Laws’ book mentioned below. Can I just say it has been a game changer? I start out drawing with this and then once I have established my lines, come in with a black pen and watercolors. The blue just seems to disappear. Really one of my favorite tools.
Sharpie No Bleed Medium Tip Pen – I love these pens for nature study. I have some microns too but these are just no fuss and work great for our needs.
Winsor and Newton Traveling Watercolor Set – Perfect size, perfect pigment. Even comes with an awesome mini brush.
Nature Study Tools
Easy-Macro Lens Band – This is such a fun tool! It magnifies and allows you to take photos or video of what you are seeing! It’s like a rubber band with a lens attached so it fits any phone.
Kid Binoculars with Compass – These have held up well and are perfect for kids.
Tasco Binoculars – Pocket-sized and great for bird or bug watching.
Carson BugView Quick-Release Bug Catching Tool and Magnifier – Such a fun tool and easy-to-use tool.
Carson MagniLoupe – A great little tool for when you want to use both hands but still need a magnifying glass.
Tweezers – Just handy to have if you find a small or delicate specimen that you’d like to study.
Small Rug – We actually purchased ours at Walmart but I couldn’t find them online. I think I like the idea of this one better because it would be easier to roll up. Anyway, we use a rug to sit on. This helps the kids stay put and also provides a nice dirt/sticker free area on which I can plant my patootie. 🙂
Favorite Nature Books
Law’s Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling by John Muir Laws – If you are going to buy just one book on nature study, this is the one to get. This is where I learned the blue pencile trick. Seriously LOVE this book! So many helpful tips and a really down-to-earth approach.
Sharing Nature by Joseph Cornell – I originally purchased the Kindle version of this book but finally caved in and bought the paperback. This book has been a great resource in helping get my kids excited about nature. Lots of fun games and activities!
Natural Science Through the Seasons – This charming reprint of an early 20th-century classic is an amazing resource for teaching others about nature. It includes 100 teaching units about every aspect of nature. A gem!
National Audubon Society – Field Guide Books. There are several. I look for the Western region. They are nice to have on hand.
How Nature Works: 100 Ways Parents and Kids Can Share the Secrets of Nature – I was lucky enough to pick this up at my local thrift shop. This is a great book full of awesome pictures and fun experiments.
Whatever the Weather: Science Experiments and Art Activities That Explore the Wonders of Weather – This one is a great resource during the long winter months. Lots of fun ideas of things to do with ice and snow.
James Herriot’s Treasury for Children – Oh this book! I will forever have happy memories of reading this one to the kids. If you haven’t discovered James Herriot yet, you are missing out! This helped give my kids an appreciation for animals (they didn’t need much help) and their different needs and personalities.
How To Raise A Wild Child – The Art and Science of Falling in Love With Nature – by Dr. Scott from Dinosaur Train! 🙂 I’ve quoted this book in some of my posts. It is full of ideas on how to study nature and how to get the kids involved. This is where I learned about the concept of “sit-spots”. If you want to feel good about your choice to do Nature Study, this is a great book to read.
The Nature Principle – Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age – I have just started reading this one. I have a list of books by Richard Louv that I want to read. So far, so good. Lot’s of great principles that keep me motivated to get out with my kids.
Keeping A Nature Journal – This is one of the first books I purchased when I decided to get into nature study. I like it because it has lots of examples but also because it encourages nature study in the city. It’s more of a show and tell kind of approach which was pretty inspiring for me.
Artist’s Journal Workshop – This is a book about art journaling in general. It shows excerpts from 27 different artists’ journals. It is very comprehensive and inspiring. Cathy Johnson is very thorough in covering materials, page layouts etc. There is a whole section on nature journaling.
Bird Bingo – Confession: I bought this and the one below just because I couldn’t get over the illustrations. I was happily surprised that the kids actually love both games and have learned in the process. They are very high quality and like I said before, absolutely beautiful!
Bug Bingo – See above. Absolutely love both games.
Super Sunprint Kit – Everything you need to make solar pictures. We have had so much fun with this kit. I need to do a post about it. The kids love to find things in nature and then arrange them and make beautiful prints.
That’s what I have so far. I’d love to hear from you. Any suggestions?