A Calendar Of Firsts: Lists

cal of firsts

How are you getting on with your Calendar of Firsts?

I have begun mine and I am finding it to be a quick, and non-threatening form of nature journaling!

Inspired by Charlotte Mason, who mentions list keeping,  I thought I would share with you some of the list-type entries I plan to keep this year.

“The study of natural history and botany with bird lists and plant lists continues throughout school life, while other branches of science are taken term by term.”

Vol 6 Home Education

Daily Temperature

I will be using the calendar section of my diary to record the daily temperature. As a fun twist, I am going to colour each date according to the temperature. You can see my colour key at the bottom of the calendar:


If you miss a day, here is a good site to check the temperature of your locality for the last two weeks.

Colours Of The Year

This idea comes from Clare Walker Leslie. It is in one of her books, but unfortunately I cannot remember which one. Please do post in the comments if you know. I have done this previously, and it really does help me to think about the colours in nature through the months of the year. Simple sketch out a circle and divide into twelve, each twelfth representing a month of the year. You then simply paint the current ‘month’ with the colours you see around you in the natural world. Fun!


Bird List

Simply a list of birds I have seen. I include the following information:

  • Common name
  • Latin Name
  • Location
  • Date


Flower List

As with the birds, a list of wildflowers I have seen. I include the same information as for the bird list.


That is all for now; I shall let you know if I decide to add further lists.

17 thoughts on “A Calendar Of Firsts: Lists

  1. Hi Lynn

    Love the ideas, my diary is a little different to yours so I can’t record in quite the same way, but much the same info will go in. I like the colour wheel but will have to do mine on paper and stick it in over some of the pages of useless info.

    We haven’t managed to follow you quite as well as we had hoped but now we are back on track with Christmas and birthday now over, been out and about today and have seen and heard birds singing, not just robins who are known to sing early but great tits as well. We have seen daisies out for some time. We are so much more observant now.

    A quick question are you recording every time you see a species on your list or just the first time you see it this year?

    Best wishes


    1. Hello Jenny

      I should have been more clear, the colour wheel I drew onto watercolour paper & then glued it into my diary over a useless page. The Moleskine would really not hold up well enough for that much watercolour!

      I think you are doing so well as a family. Don’t worry about sticking to the book exactly, just as you say the fact that you are much more observant is such a great success.

      I think I shall just record each species the first time I see it this year.

      Kind regards

      1. Thanks Lynn,
        I was slightly worried I would run out of room if I included every time I saw a bird! It will make a interesting list by December.

        Best wishes


  2. Hi Lynn,

    I have started my calendar of firsts, and copied most of what you have done 😉 added your bits in from today;) I will do the colour wheel later and stick over the personal data page I think. I have also started your wonderful curriculum with the children today and we are studying the weather and making our recordings. I have my own yearly diary where I am making more in-depth nature study, writing poems, describing the weather in more detail. I do this one a few times a week so that will compliment nicely with this one, which i can hopefully do most days! Warm Wishes Sue x

    1. My calendar is for me, Suzanne. My 10 yo is keeping a calendar of firsts on an actual calendar & big girl is sticking to her nature journal. How lovely your children are joining in with you 🙂

  3. You are so inspiring! What are you going to do with the color wheel? I am intrigued. Also, is there a place where you describe how you get the dots of watercolor on your page? I haven’t used watercolor much. BTW, finding a moleskin was difficult! (here in the U.S.) I finally found one at Barnes and Noble for half-price, but it is an 18 month one that started last June. I guess I will take those out with an sharp paper knife.

    1. Golly, thank you!
      The colour wheel is a place to record the colours of each month.
      If you have a look at this post:


      You will see a small swatch of colour along the page at the top; this is just a quick representation of the colours I saw this week (it has been extremely rainy here!) I will be filling in the colour wheel the same way, with a representation of the colours for each month.

      The dots of watercolour are created just by tapping the end of my brush over the page. I have done a watercolour tutorial here:


      I am glad you were able to find a journal to use. I would try to find a use for those pages before cutting them out; you could glue a couple together, which would make a sturdier page. This could be painted on with wee vignettes of the natural world, or you could mount pressed flowers or leaves, etc.

      1. Thank you so much! I had not thought of a use for those pages and I am so glad I posted about it. It did seem a waste to cut them out. The color wheel is a splendid idea! I have Claire Leslie Walker’s Keeping a Nature Journal and she has a lovely 2-page spread called ” Subjects to Observe, Draw, Record throughout the Seasons.” Many fantastic ideas for the seasons! That is why I keep coming back here, you are an inspiration, thank you!

  4. Hello Lynn

    You mention Keeping A Nature Journal above, do you think you might be able to do either a short list of nature books you find particularly useful, other than field guides, or perhaps an occasional review, please?

    The lists in Exploring Nature with children are brilliant, and we do already own a few on the lists, I just wondered which more general texts do you find invaluable. I was lucky enough to be given some money for Christmas and told I was to spend it on myself not the children which is what usually happens.

    We actually saw some wild parsnip in flower on our walk yesterday, though it might be more accurate to call it a mud slide! The children had fun though 🙂 .

    I am enjoying my time with my calendar of firsts, I can’t stop picking it up and leafing through imagining what might be in those pages by the end of the year.

    Many thanks for all the ideas, help and advice and for sharing with us what you do. It’ s great to know I am not the only one doing this.

    Best wishes


    1. Hello Jennifer

      Yes, what a good idea. I shall put together a list of my favourite nature study books.

      Wild parsnip! It is a funny old lot of weather we are having, isn’t it!

      It is wonderful to hear you are enjoying your Calendar of Firsts so much; I always look forward to your comments 🙂

      Lynn x

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