When Ana was about four, I let her use my digital camera on a walk around the neighborhood with me and with her sister in the carrier. I loved seeing Ana’s perspective on the world through photography, and it was fun strolling together and talking about things like the trees, the houses, and our neighbor’s pets. This fall, I decided to do the same activity with Nadja, also age 4, and also make a journal to go along.
We moseyed around the block while she paused and took photos of things she saw on the ground, on the sides of trees, in gardens, and the neighbor’s driveways.
Another morning, she brought along a container and collected all kinds of objects along the way to school, including tree bark and ginkgo leaves.
She drew some of the trees we saw after we identified them in a tree guide. She’ll paste those in her journal. We have a lot of sycamore trees in the neighborhood, so she was able to collect a seed pod and find the tree in the guide.
Making the Journal
The journal is basically two covers made from thin cardboard (we used the back page of a store-bought notebook). Nadja decorated front and back covers with paint, collage materials, and the like.
We used loose paper as the pages. For Nadja’s neighborhood walk journal, we chose blank paper so Nadja could write in it and paste images, drawings, and pictures inside like this mosaic from her recent photo outing.
We took it to Kinkos and I cut the paper to the size of the covers and then had them bind the book with a coil binding ($5). Once bound, the journal is nice and sturdy.
When we got home, Nadja wrote a title on the inside page.
As the leaves fall in the coming weeks, she’ll do crayon rubbings that she can add to her journal, take more pictures, and make another flower pounding artwork using colorful leaves and plants. Maybe we’ll also make some blank journals to give to her teachers.