October 14, 2018

Nature Journaling Supplies We Love on Amazon

Shopping for craft supplies. You either love it or hate it. Personally, I hate it when it takes place in a craft store.

It is hard to find the time to go to these stores without children in tow, and for whatever reason, these stores totally overwhelm my kids and send them touching and bumping into everything.

So when starting new handcrafts or beginning our nature journals, I scour the web to see what others are using and read a ton of Amazon reviews before finding the supplies that work best for us.

Below is my simple, affordable, and minimalist list of all the nature journaling supplies that make our daily nature journal practice possible and enjoyable.

This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure to learn more.

Nature Journal Supplies available on Amazon

NOTEBOOK: Leuchtturm1917 Classic Hardcover Plain Medium Notebook

I looked at a lot of notebooks before choosing the Leuchtturm1917. It is a better value than a moleskin with more pages at a lower cost, but more importantly, the pages are heavier so they are better for watercolor painting.

With all the colors available, everyone in the family can choose their own beautiful color. We give this as a 6th birthday present, along with other nature journaling supplies.

I purchase the PLAIN notebooks, which also come in dot grid or lined versions, because all that blank space makes the perfect canvas for nature drawings or paintings. The notebooks come with a heavy sheet of lined paper that you place behind a page to give you lines you can see to keep your writing neat.

WATERCOLORS: White Night Artists Watercolour set 12 whole pans

After reading many reviews, I splurged on this watercolor set for my oldest son. When it was time to buy paint for his younger brother, I bought a less expensive set with some other positive features thinking (correctly) that he would be excited to have something a little different. But we did not like the other set at all!

Eventually, I bought 2 more White Night Watercolor sets for myself and my younger son. Each one comes with lots of paint to last for years of weekly painting and has all the colors needed to paint from nature (and the imagination). They mix well and do not get sticky. They are easy for kids and grownups to use.

I know many people choose to use colored pencils for nature journaling, instead of watercolors,  but I strongly recommend skipping the pencils and going straight to the paint. Paint is more forgiving than the sharp lines of pencils. And there is no way to truly blend pencils like paint to match the colors we see in nature. Even when a child cannot accurately draw the object they have observed, they get a lot of satisfaction from making its color!

BRUSHES: Pentel Arts Aquash Water Brush Assorted Tips, Pack of 3

We tried these highly recommended water brushes as well as a cheaper version. These win hands down. The brushes keep their shape better and feel sturdier. In a pinch, you could use these cheaper ones to save yourself $10, but I recommend saving up for the better ones.

I find that my kids have a much easier time using water brushes than regular brushes. Plus, when we are all painting together there are fewer glasses of water to get tipped over! I use watercolor brushes that I bought on Amazon, but I don't really recommend them. Any cheap round brushes of various sizes would be good enough to experiment with. I've got my eyes on these to try next.

BAG: Augbunny 100% Cotton 16oz Heavy Duty Multi-purpose Canvas Zipper Tool Bag

These bags are perfect for holding all these supplies in one place. The colors are natural looking and I love having 4 separate colors so we can all find our own watercolor supplies. With 4 of them, you can put them to various uses or give one with every watercolor set in your family. On the other hand, any small zippered pouch would be fine.

WRITING SUPPLIES: Pencils and Pens - use what you already have and like!

The kids use colored pens to make their daily nature journal entries to spice it up, but those were just ones we happen to have around the house. Black pens work fine. And we love Ticonderoga Pencils, but really any will do.

And that is all! 

If you add everything on this list together, it will be a bit less than $75. And except for the set of 4 zippered bags, this cost is per student, so it isn't exactly cheap. However, these supplies should last at least 3 years, if not longer. Eventually, you will need another notebook and you may need to replace some of the watercolor pans, but that will keep you going for another 3 years!

My children have gotten so much enjoyment out of their (required!) nature journaling. Over the year, they slowly and surely fill their notebooks with observations, questions, and the nature knowledge they have been learning from direct observation, nature lore books, and other people.

I don't recommend spending $75 on something that will sit on the shelf and be rarely used. But if you are committed to weaving nature journaling into the fabric of your day-to-day life, then save your pennies for the absolutely best supplies you can. They also make great Christmas or birthday presents. You won't regret it!

What the table looks like after a typical nature drawing session. 

October 2, 2018

What We're Reading: September 2018

Rain. Rain. Soccer. Soccer. Severe poison ivy reaction. Lots of reading. A piano "strike."

The month has flown by in a flurry of simple meals, loads of laundry that were not hung on the line, and some expected and unexpected doctor appointments for me, baby, and my 6-year-old who had a terrible bout of poison ivy rash that required steroids.

The month is ending with my husband being away for the weekend at a conference and I'm missing him as usual. I'm also really missing his heroic devotion to nighttime parenting every non-baby of the house as my son is needing to take medication every 6 hours round the clock!

Every month it feels like we didn't do a crazy amount of reading but when I tally up the list I reflect back on the life-giving words and special memories hiding behind the titles.

This month, I witnessed my 4-year-old daughter begin to be captivated by a chapter book for the first time (Charlotte's Web) and I got to explore some really big, interesting ideas about chemistry with my sons who are both excited about this topic.

Along with the reading for our formal homeschooling lessons, we've nourished ourselves on beautiful ideas, art, and language. More and more I am convinced that a feast of arts, singing, handicrafts, history, and nature study, is worth the cost of squeezing out longer math sessions or more writing practice!

This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure to learn more.


This term we are focusing on the work of Emily Dickinson. We read the following every day for one week at morning time:

Hope by Emily Dickinson
Morning by Emily Dickinson
A Day by Emily Dickinson
The Saddest Noise, The Sweetest Noise by Emily Dickinson

If you want to see more poems that we enjoy, check out Poetry to Read Aloud.

Morning Time

Morning time has been slowly getting longer again, but I was surprised to discover that we only finished two books this month! We are reading several longer books just a little bit at a time and will be finishing a few of those soon. Also, we've been doing MadLibs many mornings after breakfast. Eventually, my 6-six-year-old will stop asking me what a noun is every single day, right?

We finished the following books at morning time this month:

Gilgamesh by Bernarda Bryson
Handel at the Court of Kings by Opal Wheeler

We've also been reading at morning time, and will continue to read slowly for some time:
The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Story of Painting for Young People: From Cave Painting to Modern Times by H.W. Janson and Dora Jane Janson
The Wonders of Chemistry by Archie Frederick Collins (free online)
Bayou Backwaters by Allan W. Eckert

To see even more books we've enjoyed at morning time, check the Morning Time page.

Lunch-time Read Alouds

The Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark (finished)
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham
A Little Maid of New England by Alice Turner Curtis

Night Book

My husband has been reading to the kids:

Free Reading

Last month, Peter (8) read a lot of twaddle and some heavier nonfiction. This month, he has only completed 5 books, but they are all solid choices. He loved The Middle Moffat so much that he is asking me to read it! It is so cute that he really wants me to start reading this book ASAP that I will have to oblige him. 

With the younger children

A few of the books we've been reading this month include:

The Mysterious Tadpole by Steven Kellogg
The Magic School Bus Inside a Hurricane by Joanna Cole
If Dinosaurs Were Cats and Dogs by Alice Low and Colin McNaughton
The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
Owen by Kevin Henkes

I've been reading

I'm in the middle of several books right now, both fiction and nonfiction, but I did manage to finish two books that were super quick reads for me. Both gave me some things to think about.

Mere Motherhood by Cindy Rollins
Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown

I'm also slowly re-reading Home Education by Charlotte Mason with an in-person reading group.

These are most of the books we've been reading outside of our formal lessons. You can see the ones we use during school time at 1st-grade plans and 3rd-grade plans.

Past Months:

Read any good books lately?

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