Nature Table for Children

I decided it was time for a nature table for children again after finding a small collection of rocks, mouldy leaves and sticks in my daughter's cupboard! When they were little, we had a small plastic table that we would put all the "treasures" we found on our nature walks onto, so that we could admire and enjoy the bugs, flowers and pine cones and whatever else we found. Somehow over the years, we have neglected to display our collections and findings and many a time, we have found beautiful pods and leaves all crunched up and spoiled in the bottom of our backpack!

I bought some hessian and embroidered a few things on it and voila- we have a mobile nature table for children! I set up a basket with our favourite books, bird guides, nature notebooks, pencils and some water colours and things and now everything is easily accessible and we seem to spend a lot more time pondering over our collections and learning naturally.

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I popped the table cloth on the end of our large dining room table in the family room, and because it is so central we are really enjoying our finds. Another benefit is that there is always something new, and we can throw out things that are getting old!

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It has also been a good way to display our specimens that we have collected for our project to get to know the local flora which you can read more about here. I typed up the scientific and common names for each plant that we collected for the week for us to learn the names of each plant, however as Anna Botsford Comstock puts it "The child should never be required to learn the name of anything in nature study work; but the name should be used so often and so naturally in his presence that he will learn it without being concious of the process." I have been pleasantly surprised just how many names we have picked up this way!

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This is a wonderful area of discovery because the things that find their way to the table are things that have caught their eye, things they want to learn more about and share with others.

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