(Inspired by GOAL Activity: Experiencing the Outdoors Through Art 2.1 – 2.2)

Summary/ intro: This activity is great for children who are in Grades PreK – Grade 2 and can be modified for children in higher grades. We will spend time outside and create the first entry for a summer journal that will invite your child to express ideas and feelings generated by their time spent outdoors. We hope this will help fuel your child’s desire for an active summer outside, and also become a fun keepsake of summer memories. 

Materials needed:

  • gear needed for the outdoor adventure of your choice
  • journal page templates (download here) – or a journal/ notebook
  • drawing materials of choice
  • pencil
  • transition words card (download here)

*Save the downloads below and print more journal pages if your child would like to continue journaling throughout summer!

Step 1: Get outside!

Go for a hike, a walk along a nature trail, go kayaking, spend time at the beach… We recommend spending at least a half-hour outside for this activity. Remember to take it easy- go at your child’s speed, and always bring healthy snacks, water, and sunscreen!

Talk about what it is like to be outside during summer. And how this location is different in the winter.

Ask your child to pause every now and then to use one of their senses…

Get outside for a hike
Using their senses

Step 2: Get Your Journal Ready

Back at home, help your child start their journal.


*If you’d like to use your own notebook, be sure to designate two sections in each entry: one spot for their illustration and one spot for writing.

Step 2 Get Your Journal Ready

Step 3: Write!

(If your child is not writing yet, ask them to dictate their story to you while you write in the journal for them.) Ask your child to think about what happened at the beginning, middle, and end of your outing. Talk with them about using transition words in their journal entry (download Transition Word printout here).  Invite your child to write/ narrate about their experience outside. Encourage them to include what they did, how they felt, what they saw, what they heard, etc…

Some helpful sentence starters to get their wheels turning: 

  • ”I could feel the…”
  • ”I could hear…”
  • ”I felt (emotion or sense of touch)…”
Step 3 Write

Step 4: Draw!

Invite your child to draw about their outdoor adventure. Encourage your child to consider what they heard, what they saw, how they felt, etc… and to tell the story of their adventure through their drawing.

Step 4 draw

Suggested accommodations for children with special needs: Supply large grip crayons and pencils for students with fine motor issues. 

Get outside, get into nature, and make your own discoveries.

– Dr. Scott Sampson (Paleontologist and author of How To Raise A Wild Child)

This activity was inspired by our winter GOAL Activity: Experiencing the Outdoors Through Art 2.1 – 2.2)

Maine Learning Results Alignment: 

Visual and Performing Arts 

A. Disciplinary Literacy – Visual Arts: 

  1. Artists Purpose: Students recognize a variety of purposes for making art, including telling a story, communicating emotion, or beautifying functional objects. 

B. Creation, Performance, and Expression – Visual Arts: 

  1. Making meaning: Students create artworks that communicate ideas and feelings and demonstrate skill in the use of media, tools, and techniques.

Common Core Alignment: 

English Language Arts

English Language Arts Writing – Text Types and Purposes 

Kindergarten: W.K.3. Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to narrate a single event or several loosely linked events, tell about the events in the order in which they occurred, and provide a reaction to what happened. 

Grade Two: W.3.3. Write narratives in which they recount a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event, order, and provide a sense of closure.

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