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Nature Journaling with Backyard Bugs

Exploring Backyard Bugs and Nature Journaling with Kids

By: Knowledge Crates

As spring blooms, there's no better time to get outside and explore the wonders of nature with your kiddos. One really easy and fun way you can enjoy the backyard together is through nature journaling. With just a few simple supplies and a backyard teeming with life, you and your kids can set out on a "bug hunt" as you observe and document the insects that call your outdoor space home.


As a homeschooling momma, time outside and connection with nature is a high priority for me, so when the temperatures finally warmed up this week where we live in Pennsylvania, I grabbed a few supplies from our Explore Backyard Science unit box and out the back door we went!


Let's dive into the adventure of discovering backyard bugs and documenting their beauty through sketches and observations—I'll show you how we enjoyed this activity, and how you can, too!

Bugs and Nature Journaling with Kids in Backyard

Supplies Needed:

Before setting out on your nature journaling expedition, gather the following supplies. If you have the Explore Backyard Science unit like we do, these are all included right in the box!

A field guide to bugs: This will help you and your child identify the different insects you encounter.

A bug catcher: A gentle way to catch bugs for closer observation.

Notebook or paper: Something to jot down your observations and sketches.

Colored pencils, markers, watercolors, etc: Get creative and bring your sketches to life with vibrant colors.

Bugs and Nature Journaling with Kids in Backyard

Exploring the Backyard

Start your nature journaling adventure by taking your time exploring your backyard with your kids. Encourage them to turn over logs, look under leaves, and carefully lift rocks to discover the hidden world of insects beneath. You might be surprised at how many fascinating creatures you find just steps from your back door! Soak up that childlike delight as they discover bugs in different places. ☺️


As you explore, take your time to observe each insect you encounter. Notice its colors, patterns, and unique features. Encourage your child to ask questions and express curiosity about the bugs they discover. This is a great opportunity to nurture their natural sense of wonder and foster a deeper connection with the natural world.


Catching Bugs for a Closer Look

When you and your kids come across an insect that catches your eye, gently capture it using your bug catcher. Model how to be very gentle with your new friend, taking special care with little legs, wings, and antennae. Take a moment to marvel at the intricate details of the insect up close, noticing its movements and behaviors.


Using your field guide, see if you and your child can identify the insect you've caught. Flip through the pages together, comparing the bug's features to the illustrations and descriptions in the guide. This hands-on approach to identification helps develop valuable observation skills and introduces children to the concept of scientific classification.

Kids Examining Insects in Bug Catchers

Documenting Your Discoveries

Now comes the creative part—documenting your bug discoveries in your nature journal! Find a comfy spot to sit and encourage your child to sketch the insect they've captured, paying attention to its shape, coloration, and distinguishing features. Don't worry about making this an art lesson—we're simply encouraging kids to pay attention to the world around them. Even if their drawing is just a step or two above a stick figure, that's okay!


While your child is busy sketching, you might like to take the opportunity to record additional observations in your own journal. I didn't do that today, but other times I have, and I found it to be such a soothing activity! You can note the insect's habitat, behavior, and any interesting facts you've learned during your exploration. This collaborative journaling experience allows you and your child to document your shared adventure and create lasting memories together.

Nature Journaling with Kids in Backyard

Time to Get Nature Journaling with Kids!

Nature journaling with kids is such a wonderful way to engage children in outdoor exploration and foster a deeper appreciation for the natural world. By taking the time to observe, identify, and document the insects in your backyard, you and your kids can embark on a rewarding journey of discovery that sparks curiosity and inspires creativity. So grab your bug catcher and field guide, head outside, and let the adventure begin!

Nature Journaling with Kids Bug Drawing of the Day

Looking for More Backyard Nature Activities?

This season at Knowledge Crates is all about backyard science! The core item in our Explore Backyard Science unit study crate is the world's tiniest gardening kit packed with big science adventures! This 34-piece set includes a miniature desktop greenhouse, tiny gardening tools, and an array of items to explore scientific concepts like capillary action, photosynthesis, and more. Also included is a 48-page illustrated activity book that guides young botanists through 20 fun growing activities, answering questions about seed growth, pH levels, and plant responses to color. This season we’ll also learn about nature notebooking and create works of art inspired by our discoveries!


What's Inside?


  • 3D Ant Puzzle
  • Activity Guide
  • Black Glue Ladybug
  • Backyard Insect Hunt
  • Foil Art Creations
  • Bugs 'N Slugs Board Game
  • How to Draw Amazing Birds: From Songbirds to Birds of Prey
  • Sensory Play Materials & Accessories: Rainbow Water Beads & Play Dough
  • Nature Notebooking: Sketch Book, Colored Pencils, Felt Tip Pen
  • SmartLab Toys Tiny Gardening with 20 Enormously Fun Growing Activities

Included Unit Study Books:


  • Bugs & Slugs Pocket Guide: James Kavanagh
  • Bugs, Bugs, Bugs! DK Readers
  • Spring According to Humphrey: Betty G. Birney
  • How to Draw Birds: Paul Calver & Toby Reynolds
  • The Magic School Bus: Plant Seeds, A book about how living things grow: Patricia Relf & Joanna Cole

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