If your children enjoy bug hunting around the garden then they may find this garden chalkboard useful. It's a great way to encourage them to independently record their nature findings, & the board can be left outdoors to be used again & again.
There's something special about an impromptu bug hunt around the garden, often when we head out we find a variety of bugs but don't always have a pen & paper handy to record our finds. Since having this chalkboard hanging in the garden we've been able to record our finds immediately & keep a tally of similar insects we've discovered.
To make the chalkboard we used off cuts from a local timber merchant. You can search for your nearest timber merchant or hardware store on line & they normally have scrap wood you can pick up free of charge, alternatively you can buy timber offcuts from eBay.
As we wanted to hang our chalkboard up in the garden I drilled 2 small holes at the top of the board so we could thread through some garden twine, & then Minnie painted the board with chalkboard paint. We used this Ronseal paint as it was suitable for our rough untreated wood & only required one coat. To finish this board I used chalk pens to add our "Today I found" header.
As the chalk board isn't fixed outdoors it can be easily lifted off the wall & moved around the garden to wherever it's needed.
We usually have a basket of different coloured chalks to hand as these can be easily carried around & any relevant books, or accessories can also be added to the basket too.
We try to leave one or two nature/bug identification books by our back door so if we spot anything interesting in the garden we can easily look it up & decipher what it is. Minnie loves researching the insects & discovering more about them & their habitat. (If you're looking for some bug spotter books you may be interested in three of our favourites here.) Along with the books we have a magnifying glass so we can take a closer peek at the insects & study them in more detail.
You could record your bug sightings in a number of ways on the board but currently we're enjoying using the tally system & it's proved to be an easy & speedy way to record finds. It's also been an useful way to observe which insects prefer certain areas of the garden, & which plants attract the largest variety of insects.
We have a honeysuckle plant that trails along the wall where we've hung our garden chalkboard & it gives just enough coverage over the board to protect it when it rains, so unless we have a really heavy downpour our bug finds usually remain on the board. Sometimes we clean the board ready to use afresh another day, but most of the time we keep our findings on there so we can compare them with what we find in the garden next time.
This garden chalkboard has proved popular with various ages & each child has been able to record their nature finds in a developmentally appropriate way.
If you're looking for more bug/insect activities you might like to see our
Bug Spotter Sticks - perfect for tracking bugs
DIY Mirror Discovery Box - ideal for outdoor nature study
How to make a Butterfly Garden - to attract bees & butterflies to your neighbourhood
Create a Mini Wild Meadow in your garden - a space for wildlife & wonder
Make a Wormery - discover just how super worms really are!