Outdoor Caddy : Nature Journaling Edition by Kendra Swett

Outdoor Caddy : Nature Journaling Edition by Kendra Swett

My goal heading into September, as the seasons begin to change, the cooler temps arrive, and as we head out to explore nature, I want to encourage the act of nature journaling with my children, even if it’s only in our backyard! We already explore and notice lots of things, nuts, leaves, moss, and mushrooms, but to actually begin to document something about it is the main goal I’d like to achieve with this version of our caddy. 

I love sketching and painting myself; I miss it!  I have two very young kids; sometimes, it’s hard to carve out time for such hobbies. I used to think that I needed to be alone to accomplish some of my hobbies like I used to be pre-kiddos. Then…well, I grew to understand the importance of modeling. If I wanted them to love books, they needed to see their parents enjoy reading too. The same can be said for anything you want your children to try or enjoy. Regardless, I want them to see me sit, sketch, paint, and tape a cool leaf into my sketchbook, etc even if it’s only done for a short while.

For me, it isn’t about what the actual end product is. It’s about the conversation that then turns into some sort of mark-making or scribbles on a page. The attempt to draw the leaf we found or insect and write its name down. It really is about the process, truly. It sounds so cliche, but in this instance, where my oldest is in his kinder year, that’s all I really want from this experience! And if you have a toddler in tow, you can appreciate that toddler wanting to do whatever their older sibling is doing. So there’s a sketchbook in there for him too! Even if it’s the most exaggerated scribbled line or amazing page of all brown. It’s the process and simply being given the opportunity to try.

So what did I put in our outdoor caddy this time? Some things remain the same; you can catch the summer play-inspired one here!  Summer Outdoor Play Caddy



Here’s the rundown of our new journaling caddy:

1- Of course, a sketchbook or journal. I personally prefer watercolor color paper sketchbooks for this. They often are the thickest to withstand most children’s excitement over using all the paint they can possibly withstand. I find a smaller one is the easiest to actually make it into the caddy or bag that’s headed to a park or anywhere. 


2- Something to sketch, color, and paint with. I actually fell in love with the Eco Paints when I first started playing with them myself! I love the watercolor-like look to them. The best thing about them is that you can easily adjust the pigment intensity by adjusting the powder to water ratio that you mix together. The brushes that come with them are also great! Perfect size to take on the go with you. I had some extra glass paint jars that I placed mine into. Then put those within a basket so they could be easily lifted out when needed and add a touch of protection too. The Eco Leaf Crayons colors beautifully over the dried paint to add some dimension. I’m not sure what it is, but my oldest son is just so drawn to the leaf shape of them. So that’s a win!  Oh, and of course, pack your favorite pencil or drawing tool.


3- Some tools to dig, explore, place your findings in, and observe to do all the journaling. I’ve kept tools like the olive wood shovels for simple digging or scooping, a bug net, and the eco pie mold to hold that worm, leaves, or whatever has been found. A magnifying glass and handheld microscope for closer observation too. Whatever helps spark further curiosity.


4- I’ve also packed some of our favorite nature guide books and flashcards to reference what we’ve found and to also serve as inspiration. You know, for that bird, for instance, we saw but couldn’t sit still for us and be the perfect model while we try our best to sketch what we see. Wouldn’t that be amazing! We can find the picture, reference it, and try to replicate it the best we can. 


5- Oh! And don’t forget a flower press in there. As we head into the fall season, pressing leaves is always a fun activity for kids. A pressed leaf is also ten times easier to tape into a journal as it doesn’t bulk up your book too much. They, of course, are great for leaf rubbings too! Which seems to be a hit over here during the fall season.  



So there you have it! Now a simple journaling caddy to take on our adventures to the park, our backyard, and beyond! 


I’m so excited to implement this with my kiddos and to see what actually becomes of making time for this process. Have you ever tried nature journaling with your children? Tell me in the comments below! 


Until next time friends, happy journaling! 


Kendra @littlemyro




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