Five tips for taking preschool journals outside

Journaling outdoors is a great way to connect children with nature!

This was our very first time since spring has sprung to sit outside and write in our journals. Don’t get me wrong, we go outdoors for lots of different types of activities every day but for some reason, taking our journals outdoors to write in them hadn’t been a part of the plan. I learned a few things along the way and thought I would share these five tips for taking the journals outside…

Tip #1: Check the grass

I hadn’t thought much about where the children would sit when they went outside to write in their journals. In my mind, they would wander off into our big grassy yard and find a cozy spot to sit back and write.  However, the grass was super wet so most of our students were not so thrilled about sitting in the grass. My kids asked if they could go back in and get a chair but Mrs. Courtney keenly directed them to our rocks and encouraged them to go take a seat on “nature’s chair.”

It took a few minutes for some of my students to settle into one of nature’s chairs. The children kept going from spot to spot trying to decide where to sit but after trying out several spots, the children finally found that cozy spot to write in their journals…

Tip #2: Check for bugs

My next thought was now that the children are all settled into their cozy writing spots, they would look all around them, find inspiration from nature, and get to drawing and writing.

Well, the children did find inspiration but it kind of turned out to be an inspired distraction. Now that spring has sprung, we have bugs everywhere. Everything from ants to roly-pollies crawling around our nature chairs and although they were an inspiration, they were also a big distraction from actually writing in our journals…

#3 Check your time

I really thought that this would just be a quick activity that we could throw into the middle of our day then move on to the rest of our planned activities but, it turns out that bug hunting must come first and simply cannot be rushed or ignored…

#4 Check your hands

If you aren’t a big fan of holding bugs in your hand, then bring a small bucket or box because there is a good chance you will be asked to hold out your hand so the children can share some of their amazing nature finds with you (including the bugs)…

#5 Check your expectations

After the rush to explore bugs and find a dry seat, our students finally settled down to write in their journals. Oh good, I thought, now we can gaze out into the beautiful landscape, connect with nature, and be inspired to create some beautiful journal entries…

However, the journal entries were not our most profound work. The children’s stories were the shortest I have been told all year long and the drawings were quick and to the point but no worries, the outdoor writing experience was all worthwhile. I think what we need is to take our journals outdoors more often…

So, while Mrs. Courtney and I tried to hurry up and jot down what the children told us to write in their journals, the children left us there to go off and do more bug hunting of course!

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

Let’s Get Writing Outside by I’m a Teacher, Get Me Outside

10 Tips for Keeping a Journal in Preschool by Teach Preschool

Deborah J Stewart

Deborah J Stewart

Every time I think I know everything I need to know about teaching young children, God says, "Hold on a minute!" and gives me a new challenge.

Let me tell ya...

With each new challenge that you overcome, you will find yourself better equipped and more passionate about teaching young children.

God didn't call wimps to lead, teach, or care for His children. Nope, he has high expectations, so get ready. You will have to give your very best but after teaching for over 30 years, I can tell you that it is a wonderful and rewarding journey.

Whenever your calling feels hard, just remember, 'He who began a good work in you (and in the children you serve) will be faithful to complete it.'

Subscribe to My Newsletter

Latest Blog Posts

P is for Pizza!

While learning about the letter “P” we decided to explore with pizza! Pizza is an all-time favorite food for many preschoolers, and activities involving pizza

Read More »