Written by Kara Fleck, Simple Kids editor and Rockin’ Granola mama. This post originally appeared in July 2010.
A nature table, or nature corner, is a nice way to create a space within our homes that can remind us of our connection to the natural world outside. Devoting an small area of our home to a seasonal display is a simple way to be mindful of that bond.
The display can be as simple as a vase of seasonal flowers and a few pebbles and sticks gathered from outdoors, or it can be a more elaborate display that you add to as the season progresses. A family could change it out or add to it every season, with the holidays, or as inspiration strikes. There is not a “right” or a “wrong” way to set up a display.
Some of the nature table displays I have seen in people’s homes are just for looking at, but my favorite ones are those that invite the child to touch, explore, and experience.
Our Nature Corner
At the Fleck household, we have a corner at the top of our stairs that works perfectly as a nature display area. Our landing is a well-trafficked zone in our home, so this area gets passed by often and we can all enjoy it, yet this space isn’t in the way of everyday life (and thus not a constant temptation for little toddler’s hands – or mouths!)
As each season changes, I clear the nature corner. Then, over the course of the season we add to the corner. As homeschoolers, we are pursing nature study year round, and depending on the time of year, our corner reflects that we are focusing on:
- Minerals – our collection of rocks, gemstones, and sea shells
- Plants – forced bulbs, wheat grass, an interesting stick or two, leaves and flowers
- Animals – this might be the time a little wooden squirrel or deer figurine joins the corner
As the season stretches on, we add to the display with crafts, natural finds we bring inside from the outdoors, paintings, and other creations. Many of our seasonal and nature stories and crafts come from Little Acorn Learning and Seasons of Joy.
Further Reading and Inspiration
Here are a few of my favorite sources for visual and crafting inspiration for nature corners:
- Make a Nature Table ::: Universal Preschool (no images, but a great booklist)
- Seasons Round flickr group (the exchange is not currently active, but the photos are lovely)
- The Nature Table flickr group
- Nature Tables and Playscapes flickr gallery
- The Nature Corner Cabinet ::: Sew Liberated (I’ve had this bookmarked for a long time, love this idea!)
- Wee Folk Art (there are several amazing tutorials here, many perfect for the nature corner - like these, these, and these)
Do you have a Nature Table or Nature Corner? What do you currently have on display? How are you celebrating Summer in your home?