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Create Your Own Nature Journal for Kids {with free printable outdoor activities!}

Create a DIY Nature Journal with free printable activities!

Lately, I’ve discovered some really amazing nature printables and worksheets this year for our nature journal activities! 

Really super awesome stuff! 

But you know how it is — you take a piece of paper outside for a scavenger hunt or garden activity and before you know it, it’s blowing around the yard with the kids chasing after it. 

Or the pencil you have goes missing. 

Or you don’t have enough time to finish the activity and then can’t find the darn sheet the next day.

Or you DO finish the activity but aren’t sure where to store them all so the kids can see what they’ve accomplished.

But I’ve found a fix! 

Today’s project will solve all those issues — an easy DIY for your own Nature Journal!


DIY Nature Journal for Kids

This is a wonderful upcycled project that you can either do with the kids or make as a fun surprise for them to use as they explore the outdoors this Spring & Summer!

And it’s perfect for those long summer days or any at-home camps you might be thinking about this year.  In addition to including links to all the free nature journal printables & worksheets (more than 70!), I’m also including affiliate links for the items we used to make our notebook.


An easy DIY Nature Journal with more than 70 free printables outdoor activities!

I love that all you need for this project is a paper bag, some OUTSTANDING printables and fun tape if you want to jazz up your nature journal a little (kids always want to jazz things up :). 


Making the Nature Journal:

First, cut the bottom off the paper bag.  Then cut up one side so you’ll have one long open piece of brown paper.


Tutorial for an easy DIY Nature Journal with more than 70 free printables outdoor activities!

Lay the open bag out on your table. 

(If your bag includes a logo, make sure you have it logo-side up so the printables will cover it.

You can see that the open paper bag is long enough to allow for three areas of 8.5″ x 11″ printables.  This is perfect and I’ll show you how to include a fourth area once we fold the bag. 

Tri-fold your bag so you have three distinct and equal areas (this just takes a little estimation and you’ll be able to see why in the following photos).


An easy DIY Nature Journal with more than 70 free printables outdoor activities!

Ok, here’s the fun part — choose some great printables to include in your notebook!

And guess what — they are all FREE!

You want activities about gardening & plants?  There here!

Looking for scavenger hunts the kids will love?

Got those too!

Hoping to find some hands-on science exploration?

Oh yea – totally got you covered!


Here’s a list of the printables & links to the awesome blogs & organizations!  I keep adding to the list so now there are more than 70+ ideas:

Spring Scavenger Hunt — Edventures with Kids

Nature Scavenger Hunt –Babyccino Kids

Plant Life Cycle & Vocabulary —  123 Homeschool 4 Me

20 Summer Scavenger Hunts — Edventures with Kids

Spring Nature Hunt — Sunny Day Today Mama

Spring Senses Nature Walk —  Go Explore Nature

Extraordinary Journal Page —  Handbook of Nature Study

Bug Hunt Activity — Edventures with Kids

Rock Observation Chart —  Handbook of Nature Study

Animal Tracks —  New Hampshire Wildlife

I Spy Animal Clues — Sisbro Studios

How Fast Does Your Plant Grow? — Edventures with Kids

Botany Scavenger Hunt —  Ellen McHenry’s Basement Shop

What’s that Bug? What’s that Bird?  —  Crafty Classroom

Animal Observation Journal — Edventures with Kids

10 Outdoor Printables (weather, moon, animals) — National Wildlife Federation

50 Outdoor Printables (animals & insects) — Nature Detectives at Woodland Trust


Once you have all your printables, arrange them into three groups for your custom nature journal. Choose topics that interest the kids — gardening, bugs, plants, animals, etc.

For example, I grouped all the tree & plant activities together so we could build on them. 

Our second group included fun things like scavenger hunts & animal activities and the third group has learning worksheets (activities with a math or science focus).

Place each group in one of your tri-folded sections and staple them at the top. 


An easy DIY Nature Journal with more than 70 free printables outdoor activities!

Now we’ll make things look a little nicer and cover those staples. 

You’re going to fold the top and both sides of the bag over about 1/2 inch and tape them on the inside of the notebook.  I put also put tape on the outside of the right & left sections of the bag.

You can cut a small piece from the second bag to make a pencil loop for your nature journal — just fold the piece around the pencil and staple into place.  I put ours on the bottom of the left side. 

Once your pencil is secure, you can fold over the bottom of the bag and tape it too.

Then cut the handles off second paper bag and you will secure those with decorative craft tape — put one handle on the left side of the bag and then tape the second handle AFTER you fold the right side of the bag over. 

Basically, the second handle is taped to the inside of the bag after you fold in that right section (you can see below).


An easy DIY Nature Journal with more than 70 free printables outdoor activities!

This is what the notebook looks like when the right side is folded in — now the section on the right facing you includes your second handle and I also stapled some tracing paper/blank pages here so the kids could do nature rubbings.  This is optional — you could also leave it open for them to draw pictures.



We also love to take along a kid-sized set of Binoculars and a few of our favorite field guides with our journal!  We highly recommend these for kids:

Fun With Nature: Take Along Guide

More Fun With Nature

Great tutorial for an easy DIY Nature Journal that includes 70 free printable outdoor activities!

If you’d like a cover, here’s a free printable journal cover that you can include on the front of your nature journal.  Or the kids can decorate it on their own too!


There you go — all set to head outside to learn, explore and track nature!


And if you’re heading out on a road trip soon, check out our DIY Road Trip ideas too!


free printable journal activities for kids

More Free Printable Activities for Kids

40 Free Printable Road Trip Activities

Travel Journal Ideas for Kids {with free printables!}



More Recycled Crafts & Activities for Kids

Today is also our Discover & Explore linky — this week we are sharing Recycled Crafts & Activities! 

Please read the following guidelines for sharing:

  • Share family-friendly posts related to the weekly topic — kids activities, crafts, recipes, nature outings, printables, etc.
  • By linking up, you are giving me permission to share your post including one photo in our weekly feature post and on social media channels.
  • Visit 2-3 other posts that have linked up, find some new ideas & meet new friends!
  • If you’d like, grab a button for your post — we love to share and want to find lots of great activities to highlight for you!
  • Each of the host blogs will feature some of the outstanding posts the week following the linky!