Do you remember having a nature table at school? We had a little one in the corner that every morning we would proudly place our collected treasures on. What I remember most about it is the chance to discover the items for myself. Pick them up, explore them, play with them and find out more about them in our small collection of natural history books.
I’m not sure how many schools have nature tables now but that is no reason for our kids not to get in on the action. Why not make one at home? All you need is a corner of a table or an easily accessible shelf and you are part of the way there. Once you have your designated nature space then the really fun part is filling it. You can do this by going on designated nature hunts or simply picking up things that interest you when you are out and about. However you collect for your table try to spend time each week or each month exploring the collection, finding out more about what you have found. Keep a little journal of what you find and have a pocket camera handy on your walks just in case you find something you can’t take home. It is such a great way to learn about nature and the learning really sticks because your kids will have discovered it all for themselves.
Here are just some of the reasons why we love nature tables….
They look delightful. All the different textures and colours of nature look lovely all sat together in one place. There is no need to hide away any of your treasures.
With a nature table you can really explore the seasons, discovering what happens in nature and when. Why do certain colours turn up at certain times of year? At what times of the year do you discover the same things? How does the table change as the seasons change? If this becomes a long term task in your house then your kids won’t just learn about the objects they find but they will discover how it all works together.
Collecting treasures for your table will create all sorts of lovely family memories. Do you remember when you found the biggest conker ever? How about that bit of seaweed that we found out was a shark’s egg? Do you remember you fell in the mud trying to reach that stick and you lost your wellies?
Having little bits of nature on display at home can remind us of how connected we are to all it has to offer. It reminds us that we don’t exist only inside our own little bubbles and that sometimes we should stop, relax and enjoy what the world has to offer.
A nature table offers something different to every individual. Whether you have a budding scientist, artist or engineer the nature table will have something for them. Some kids will love to discover the textures, shapes and colours of things, others will revel in discovering more through books while some children will use items as prompts for play and storytelling. The beauty of a nature table is that it is personal no matter how many people contribute to it.
Do you remember having a nature table at school? Do you and your family already have one? We’d love to hear your nature table stories. Send them over to us on our facebook page Adventure Togs or catch up with us on twitter @Adventure Togs. See you there!