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.|