30 Days of Cryptozoological Nature Journaling for Kids
30 Days of Cryptozoological Nature Journaling For Kids
Autumn will soon be upon us and will bring darker, cosier evenings, hot cocoa and the promise of magical themed homeschool learning!
I’ve created some nature journaling pages with a twist: 30 Days of Cryptozoological Nature Journaling For Kids.
I designed the journaling pages as a home education project for my son.
I wanted to build on his interest of fantasy books, worlds and movies.
The journal is part of a wider fantasy based project.
Further down the post I’ve included a list of activity ideas, and photos of some of our resources that my son will use to immerse himself into the fantasy project.
There is also a bumper list of 100 fantasy family-friendly movies! Most of the movies have a rating of 12A and under, with one being a 13.
I have included these extras as I thought some readers might like some ideas for their own homeschool projects.
Cryptozoological nature journaling would make a fantastic basis for a halloween project.
Nature journaling brings kids closer to nature and fosters their understanding of species, ecosystems and the wider planet. Kids can develop their creativity by closely observing their environment, and sketching their own interpretation of what they see.
Introduce mythical creatures and you’ve got a recipe for an awesome learning experience! Who doesn’t love the idea of unicorns, mermaids and the Loch ness monster?
Although there’s no conclusive proof that mythical creatures exists, there are plenty of myths, legends and anecdotal evidence of mythical creatures throughout history.
The Roman naturalist, Pliny the Elder (23AD-79AD) wrote his Natural History series of books in 77 AD, and included an entry on the Unicorn and many other fantastical animals.
Cryptozoology is the study and search for mythical beasts. Crypto means ‘hidden’. Animals that fall under cryptozoology are termed cryptids. Cryptozoology is not classed as a ‘proper’ science as it does not follow the scientific method. However, a few one time cryptid animals such as the Okapi, are now fully recognized by the scientific community.
UPDATE: Check out this interesting article from The National Geographic on the Science of Bigfoot and Other Monsters!
30 Days Of Cryptozoological Nature Journaling For Kids
Download the Cryptozoological Nature Journaling Pdf resource HERE
I’ve comprised 30 journal entries complete with basic information for each cryptid. It’s your child’s journal, so your child can add extra information to each entry.
UPDATE: My son was beginning his journal today, and I was thinking of what extra information he could include for each entry. I came up with the following suggestions: Researching what evidence people have found for each cryptid such as sightings,photos, footprints, bones etc. Historically when did people start to record the cryptid in books? What myths, legends and folklore do the cryptids feature in? Try find some books with the stories. Does the cryptid have a special symbolic meaning? For example the unicorn is a symbol for purity and goodness. What does the cryptid animal name mean? For Unicorn is translates from Latin to ‘uni: one’ and ‘corn: horn’, so ‘one or single horn’. Latin name for Unicorn is: Unicornis. Does the cryptid have any special powers? You and your child will likely come up with your own questions.
After each cryptid study we were going to search for a movie featuring the cryptid.
There is a ‘My drawing’ section and this is blank for your child to sketch or paint their interpretation of each creature.
I’ve made the ‘My Drawing’ text clickable with a link to some images for inspiration. Most of the links go to google images, so please preview these links before your child to ascertain their suitability.
I’ve previewed all the links, but the internet is dynamic which means new images are frequently being added.
I’ve included a bonus section which consists of 3 blank entries so your child can enter their favourite cryptids or invent new ones. As well as three ex-cryptid sections featuring the okapi, the duck billed platypus and the reticulated siren. So there are 36 journaling pages altogether! Before scientists recognized these ex-cryptids people were skeptical of their existence, and any evidence uncovered was considered fake or a hoax!
If your child would love another animal project then check out this awesome Zoology project: Homeschool Occupation Takeover, Junior Zoologist!
30 Days Of Cryptozoological Nature Journaling For Kids
Myths, Legends, And Fantasy Themed Project/Unit Study
Below, I have included a list of activities I have created as a sort of rough framework for my son’s fantasy project study, that will probably take us into next year! My son and I will likely think up other things to do as we read the stories and learn more, so it’s just for guidance. I thought I would include it incase readers would also like some ideas. I have added some photos of our book resources. These include Lord of the rings, Hobbit, Harry Potter, Spiderwick Chronicles,Dragonology, Monsterology, Egyptology, myths/fairytales,and fantasy drawing and colouring books.
List of activities, that will probably take us into next year! :
- Craft wands.
- Find some pebbles/stones to make a set of handmade rune stones.
- Design some Elfen jewelry.
- Copywork, to practice handwriting, with passages from my son’s favourite fantasy books
- Choose passages to use as recitations from our fantasy books.
- Reading the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, I am actually reading this aloud for my family!
- Sketching and recording Tolkien’s botany, that is described within the story, in a fantasy nature journal. Such as trees, plants and flowers. Including any herbal remedies that are mentioned. At the moment we are also reading aloud the interesting book ’50 plants that have changed the course of history,Bill Laws’.
- Reading and enjoying our collection of books, including the Harry Potter fiction stories, and listening to fantasy audiobooks.
- Watch some fantasy movies (huge list below to choose from).
- Draw/paint some fantasy art using a graphic tablet as well as paper
- Design new cutting-edge fashion for hobbits, harry potter characters and wizards!
- Learning the science behind the phenomena in the Wizarding world of Harry Potter (we have a book, I’ll attach a link below)
- Research the evidence for cryptid animals, and go looking for natural signs within our local woods and hilly/mountain areas.
- Go hill walking and maybe tackle one of the mountains on Skye and pretend we are on a quest to Mordor to destroy the one ring! We’ll pack plenty of food just like hobbits!
- Pack a mythical trail rucksack that is full of items to help look for cryptid animals and mythical creatures. My daughter has a model of Sting, the dagger from The Hobbit. This dagger lights up in the presence of goblins so that will likely get packed! As well as some maps,compass,pen knife for whittling wands, magnifying glass, binoculars,little specimen bags incase you need to add ‘evidence’ you find to them for analysis at home later, camera, nature journal, clipboard,pen,pencil,lots of snacks,drinks, a holed stone (a stone with a hole naturally straight through, these are difficult to find and more common on beaches/rivers, it’s said that if you look through a holed stone then you can see directly into the fairy world! If you find a small holed stone, make an necklace out of it, as they are rumoured to be incredibly lucky!Here’s some photos of holed stones that we’ve collected over the years:
- Play the RPG game Dungeons and dragons, my son will create an adventure based on the Harry Potter world or Lord of the Rings, and he will be the dungeon master! D & D is a lot of fun and very educational!
- Learning about filmmaking such as props, costumes, artwork,graphics, CJI, storyboards, sound,editing, equipment etc. My son will probably love to make his own fantasy short films with our camcorder.
- Learn about the geological locations of the film sets, the locations of cryptozoological animals and the geography of the Lord of the rings and the hobbit. We have a Lord of the Rings Atlas and lots of maps.
- Map out some of the battles and journeys that take place in the Lord of the Rings. Also look at the weapons and warfare book that we have for the Lord of the Rings.
- Create a local map of our neighbourhood but make it a fantasy one, and rename landmarks and street names so that they have fantasy names. The local cuillin mountains look just like Mordor!
- Cook foods relating to Harry Potter (we have a Harry Potter cookbook) and Lord of the Rings, hobbits eat at least 6 times a day! Also learn about and cook some medieval foods. I would absolutely love to prepare a plant-based medieval banquet, minus the pigs head and apple, so think that is something we will be doing. Include some medieval music and entertainment.I’m sure my son would like to prepare a jester and comedy act! If anyone is interested I will create a post featuring the recipes we use, etc. Let me know if thats something your kids would enjoy!
- Will probably do some character analysis and look at the psychology of some of the characters. Explore archetypes, the hero’s journey etc
- Explore themes within the stories and see if there are any similar or different themes between different books
- Create short stories, and poems using J.R Tolkien’s poems from his books as inspiration.
- Write letters, possibly of acceptance to Hogwarts or based on some other scene from the fantasy stories we are studying, for example Frodo writing to Bilbo to ask about why he just left suddenly after his party.
- Write book reviews for some of the books we read.
- Write film reviews for some of the films in the list below.
- Create a new language using Tolkien’s fantasy languages as inspiration
- Invent some new riddles and research already existing riddles. Gollum and Bilbo have a riddle competition in Gollum’s cave and Harry Potter has its fair share of riddles.
- Practice some calligraphy, using the new fantastical language
- Research and create our family tree. Hobbits love family history and poring over their family trees!
- Create a field guide to the different types of Dragons worldwide. Create factfiles for the different countries.
- Look at the types of government that are described within the Lord of the Rings books, such as thanes, militia, hobbitry-in-arms, Kings, dictators and compare this with our current government and other governments worldwide, present and historically. Also have a look at the types of government in Harry Potter, the ministry of magic and how this compares to the muggles government etc.
- Do some worldbuilding. Create a fictional world complete with the type of governments, religions,beliefs,values,culture, economy system, currency, commodities,basic history timeline, natural history,geography,languages, science or magic based society, laws, type of law enforcement, prison system or a different system for punishment, etc. This type of activity usually takes many weeks! My son has built his own desert world previously and he had great fun, so I know he will love to do some more. This is a great way to learn about world affairs, politics and how society runs as you invent your own world and compare that with reality. Worldbuilding is a great springboard for creative writing, once you have devised your world, stories and poems can be composed to describe the citizens adventures.
- Listen to The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter soundtracks
- Look at the analogy between the Lord of the Rings themes and WW1, as Tolkien was said to have been inspired to write this book due to his experiences as a soldier in WW1.
- Research the authors of some of the fantasy books, Create an author factfile or powerpoint of their life.
- Prepare a creative rousing speech for a made up fantasy problem. Characters in films and books always like to do long speeches to motivate the other characters. Perform the speech!
- Practice some Drama, using various characters with distinctive voices, such as Gollum and Gandalf. Will use the characters spoken text from the book.
- We will also be using some of the Great Courses Plus courses, such as A Children’s Guide to Folklore and Wonder Tales, which has 24 lectures, and Heroes and Legends:The most influential Characters of Literature, also 24 lectures.
- Learn about Scottish, English, Welsh myths and legends
- Learn about Greek and Roman myths and civilisation
- Learn about Chinese myths and other myths worldwide
Check out this post for fairy crafts, and lots of links to free fairy tale ebooks from Project Gutenberg,: Summer Solstice Extended Celebrations!
100 Awesome Movies That Feature Cryptid Animals, Myths, Legends and Fantasy:
I have compiled a list of some of our favourite fantasy movies, including some older films that as a family we haven’t seen yet. My kids love watching their favourite films over and over!
- The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008) PG
- Epic (2013) U
- Ondine (2009) PG
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001) PG
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) PG
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) PG
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) 12A
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) 12A
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) 12A
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 (2010) 12A
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (2011) 12A
- Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (2016) 12A
- Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them-The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) 12A
- Peter Pan (20o3) PG
- The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns (1999) PG
- The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (2005) PG
- Prince Caspian (2008) PG
- The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010) PG
- Reign of Fire (2002) 12
- Ella Enchanted (2014) PG
- The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) PG
- The Two Towers (2002) 12A
- The Return of the King (2003) 12A
- The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey (2012) 12A
- The Hobbit,The Desolation of Smaug (2013) 12A
- The Hobbit, The Battle of the Five Armies (2014) 12A
- Alice in Wonderland (2010) PG
- Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016) PG
- Incident at Loch Ness (2004) PG 13
- Loch Ness (1996) PG
- The Water Horse, Legend of the deep (2007)
- Shrek (2001)
- Shrek 2 (2004)
- Shrek the Third (2007)
- Shrek Forever After (2010)
- The Neverending Story (1984) U
- The Neverending Story, The Next Chapter (1990) U
- The Neverending Story 3 (1994) U
- Bridge To Terabithia (2007) PG
- The Golden Compass (2007)
- 5 Children and It (2005)
- How To Train Your Dragon (2010) PG
- How To Train Your Dragon 2 (2014) PG
- How To Train Your Dragon, The Hidden World (2019)
- Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (2010) PG
- Percy Jackson Sea Of Monsters (2013) PG
- The Little Mermaid (1989) U
- The Last Unicorn (1982) U
- Labyrinth (1986) U
- The Golden Compass (2007) PG
- The Black Cauldron (1985) U
- Tinkerbell (2008) U
- Tinkerbell and the Lost Treasure (2009) U
- Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Rescue (2010) U
- Secrets of the Wings (2012) U
- The Pirate Fairy (2014) U
- Tinkerbell and the Legend of the NeverBeast (2014) U
- The Brothers Grimm (2005) 12A
- Hop (2011) U
- Mune, Guardian of the Moon (2014) PG
- Sleeping Beauty (1959) U
- Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) 12a
- Jack the Giant Slayer (2013) 12a
- Red Riding Hood (2011) 12
- Clash of The Titans (2010) 12A
- Wrath of The Titans (2012) 12A
- The BFG (2016) PG
- I Kill Giants (2017) 12a
- A Monster Calls ( 2016) 12a
- Pete’s Dragon (2016) PG
- The Kid Who Would be King (2019) PG
- Missing Link (2019) PG
- Pan (2015) PG
- DragonHeart (1996) PG
- The Secret of Roan Inish (1994) PG
- Aquaman (2018) 12a
- Thor (2011) 12a
- Thor, The Dark World (2013) 12a
- Beowulf (2007) 12
- Fairy Tale, A True Story (1997) PG
- Sinbad, Legend of The Seven Seas (2003) PG
- Rise of the Guardians (2012) PG
- Aquamarine (2006) PG
- Bigfoot and the Hendersons (1987) PG
- Chill out Scooby Doo (2007) U
- Inkheart (2008) PG 82
- Sleeping Beauty, Disney (1959) U
- Jack and The Beanstalk (2009) G
- Mirror Mirror (2012)
- Maleficent (2014) PG
- Strange Magic (2015) U
- Song of the Sea (2014) PG
- Home (2015) U
- Seachd: The Inaccessible Pinnacle (2007) PG
- Barbie: A Fairy Secret (2011) U
- Barbie In A Mermaids Tale (2010) U
- Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus (2005) U
- Hotel Transylvania (2012) U
- Spirited Away (2001) PG
- The Princess Bride (1987) PG
- The Dark Crystal (1982) PG
- Willow (1988) PG
- Mythica: A Quest for Heroes (2015) 12
- The Secret of Kells (2009) PG
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