Young Explorers Nature Journal

Observing Activities for Exploring Nature Outdoors

Children - Grade K-3rd
64 Pages
Reviewed on 05/23/2022
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Author Biography

Stephen Nett is a Naturalist, photographer, nature journalist and father of four, with a life-long love of finding and sharing nature's hidden layers and secrets. This Young Explorers handbook was inspired by 92 happy second graders he guided on a 6 mile hike up a mountain forest trail, which was just as exciting as it sounds. He and his wife live by a bird-filled turn in a river two miles from Pacific surf.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Bruce Arrington for Readers' Favorite

Young Explorers Nature Journal: Observing Activities for Exploring Nature Outdoors by Stephen Nett is an outdoor guide for young children from grades K through 3. It contains a message and tips for teachers and parents, helping them to guide young learners through what is sure to be a fantastic adventure. It then communicates directly with children, encouraging them to use their five senses, as well as their emotions, memory, and imaginations. It continues by taking the reader step by step on how to use the journal to the fullest by providing numerous tips and guidelines in looking at all things found in nature. Before allowing the child to go to work, it provides a safety framework.

I certainly wish I'd had a journal like this when I was a kid. It is the most comprehensive and practical guide I have ever read on exploring the natural world in which we live. Of course, I could go on about the eye-catching illustrations, the ample room provided in which to write down discoveries, and much more, but I won’t. You just need to buy this book. Remember to get one for yourself and the other for the young reader because you need to take the lead, and by going on this journey with a young child, both of you will discover or rediscover the wonders all around. Children will copy what adults do, and both of you will find it fun and engaging to the very last page. Young Explorers Nature Journal by Stephen Nett is highly recommended.

Jamie Michele

Young Explorers Nature Journal: Observing Activities for Exploring Nature Outdoors by Stephen Nett is a non-fiction interactive children's guide for those looking to expand their connection to the natural landscape. Nett explains early on that the purpose of this book is to encourage the use of sensory abilities through exploration, and the focus here is specifically on observation. These are streamlined into four proactive steps to observing and journaling. Step one, Explore, is a call to go outside and discover places in nature. Step two, Find, is to prompt a search for something new in the place we've discovered. Step three, Observe, is for the conscientious, meaningful observation of nature. These include things like really studying a flower, taking in its color, texture, and maybe how it smells. Step four, Journal, is for the structured Explorer's Journal that has children writing, coloring, drawing, and making memories of their natural discovery. The pages are in full vibrant color with appealing font changes and photography to pull the activity and the book's visuals together.

What I like the most about Young Explorer's Nature Journal is the way author and naturalist Stephen Nett uses consistent, streamlined journal sections to make sure we do not stop observing and journaling everything once the “newness” of the book wears off a bit. In a perfect world, children would be enthralled by every moment, but parents will understand that even the most awe-inspired child can have the attention span of a ferret. The activity prompts are simple and engaging and the sectioned journal is absolutely perfect. Looking for water in a space was the least expected as it was not something in nature I ever noticed. Now I find myself staring into puddles for any sign of life. Drawing what we heard, taping leaves to a page and, my child's favorite, looking for nuts, berries, or seeds, are now an established hobby. This is a wonderful book and I have no doubt others who pick it up will feel the same way.