I gathered a list of winter journal writing prompts to spark ideas for nature journaling. These prompts are gleaned from my past nature journals.
Here in Philadelphia, winter can be very mild. Maybe in January or February, it becomes very cold. Or a late season snow storm leaves a foot of snow. But, basically, there is little snow.
But it is a good time to take long walks and photographs. I like to pick up an object or two to draw when I return home.
My favorite field guide to winter is The Stokes Nature Guide: A Guide to Nature in Winter by Donald and Lillian Stokes. It is a great book for older children, young adults, and adults.
I good book to use with younger children is Discover Nature in Winter by Elizabeth P. Lawlor.
And for the youngest children, there are a whole host of picture books at your local library and in bookstores.
These winter writing prompts can be used to spark ideas for nature journaling, nature writing, drawing, sketching or nature photography.
Journal Writing Prompts
I went through my nature journal and wrote down some activities I have done in the past. I hope these winter journal prompts are helpful in getting the creative juices flowing.
- Identify tree twigs and branches.
- Scout out the different colors of winter.
- Learn the circumpolar stars. These are the stars that are always in the sky since they circle the North or South Pole.
- Look for signs of insects – galls, leaf miners and leaf rollers.
- Look for winter galls on oak trees.
- Begin to feed winter birds.
- Birds nests are clearly seen now. Sketch or photograph those you see.
- Which birds are still around? Make a list of the common winter birds in your area. What are they eating?
- Identify winter grasses and plants.
- Look for winter seed heads and berries – Which are eaten first or last by birds and other animals?
- Look for signs of winter mammals – tunnels, trails, and tracks.
- Learn the difference between evergreen plants and trees. Which plants stay green in winter?
- Record the activity in the night sky. Record the moon phases.
- Photograph frost in the early morning.
- Look to water sources to see wintering ducks and geese.
- Sketch tree silhouettes. In winter, it is easier to see the growth habits of tree species.
- Seek out winter mushrooms.
- Sketch different types of pine cones and needles.
- Collect nuts, seeds, and acorns to draw.
- Study flower heads that are still standing.
- Identify winter weeds.
- Study paper wasp nests without angering a whole band of insects.
The Best Books on Keeping a Nature Journal – links to Amazon.com
Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You by Clare Walker and Charles E. Roth
The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling by John Muir Laws
The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families, and Classrooms by Clare Walker Leslie