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.

A New Year, A New Diary. Beginning A Calendar Of Firsts


A happy New Year to you!

My goal this year is to keep a Charlotte Mason inspired Calendar of Firsts; to record recurring seasonal events, such as the first snowdrops, the first apple on our tree in the garden, and when our apple tree loses it’s leaves.

I am really pleased to have some of my readers planning to join me in this diary-keeping, which, scientifically speaking, is known as phenology.

Here are some past posts you may find useful:

A Calendar Of Firsts

Setting Up Your Calendar Of Firsts

My Diary Is Ready!

If you plan to add little watercolour sketches to your calendar of firsts, you may find this tutorial helpful:

Creating A Watercolour Nature Journal Page ~ A Tutorial

Sometimes, a brand-new diary or sketchbook can be dreadfully intimidating in its pristine perfection. If you are following along with Exploring Nature With Children, you may find the ideas in there to be helpful. The current focus is the twelve days of Christmas; here is a short prompt to help you along:

New Year’s Day

Take a walk to your special nature spot. Be thankful for this place and look forward to the year ahead. Remember to replenish the food for the birds there.

You could choose to observe what is happening in your special nature spot and record that, or perhaps make a list of things you are thankful for today, (both in nature and as a family). Instead you may decide to focus on observing the birds. Record them feeding, keeping warm, even looking for a mate!

The first January week in Exploring Nature With Children is all about the Winter Sky, so you will find lots of ideas there if you would like a resource to ‘hold your hand’, so to speak, as you begin your calendar-keeping.

Please let me know how you are getting on in the comments below, or on the Exploring Nature With Children FaceBook group. I am so very excited to be sharing this journey with you!


My Diary Is Ready!


Do you remember my Calendar of Firsts post? I talked about keeping a Charlotte Mason-inspired diary of the firsts in nature for a whole year.

I did a follow-up post about Setting up Your Calendar of Firsts. Well, as you can see from the above picture, mine is now all ready for January!

When Rose and I got home from church on Sunday evening, we all settled down for the Strictly results show, and I worked on adding washi tape to the edges of the pages.



Extra-special glittery pages for Christmas week 2016


Have you found a suitable diary for your calendar of firsts?

Setting Up Your Calendar Of Firsts

A few days ago I shared my idea with you for keeping a Calendar of Firsts.


I have been so encouraged by how many of you shared, both here and on FaceBook, that you would like to join me in keeping a Calendar of Firsts for 2016.

I promised information on setting up your own calendar of firsts, so here goes.

I used the Moleskine Large Weekly Diary (soft cover) last year & will do so again this year. Please feel free to use any diary you like; you do not need a Moleskine to join in with me. Just beware of any diaries with a glossy finish to the page. They will not take colour well.

CF 1

The paper is not great; a little thin for nice, splashy watercolour, but the layout is perfect for my needs. You can see in the photo below you have a left side with a week to view & space for each day.

This is perfect for recording the ‘firsts’ that you see in nature, and making wee sketches.


You can also see in the picture above that I also printed out tiny photographs on my printer; these made lovely additions to my sketches.

The right had side page is lined, so I added full-sized photographs to some of these pages.


To others I added a full-sized sketch


Because the Moleskine paper was so thin, I worked these full sized sketches on watercolour, or cartridge paper. This also helped with the mini sketches for the following week, as although I was working on the Moleskine paper, it had some weight to it from the paper glued in the previous week.

Here you can see my lovely 2016 Moleskine. It is a lot thinner than the book that has been well loved this year (see the top picture)


Not essential, but a nice touch, is to add washi tape to each & every page edge in your diary. This makes the pages more substantial, and the edges prettier 🙂

I have several roles of tape; here are a few. Don’t worry about this step, it is not essential.


Here you can see I have added a strip of wash tape to the first page; simply apply half the width of the tape, then fold it over, so it covers the free edge of the reverse page. (I hope this makes sense!)


Here I just need to trim the top & bottom of the tape.


You will also need a waterproof pen; I love this one. The micron pens are great too. Basic sketching supplies of your choice, be that watercolours, coloured pencils, or even pens. You might find an old post, Supplies For Nature Journaling useful.

I think that is everything! Please do let me know if I have missed anything.

I look forward to getting started with you in January. Please do share what you are up to, either here, or on the Exploring Nature With Children FaceBook group, or find me on Twitter.