Why have a nature table?
A nature table is an opportunity to display a changing collection of beautiful objects found in nature. Young children tend to love a nature table as it gives them a chance to closely observe objects they may have helped collect or grow. A nature table can also be used for a botany experiment, such as watching a seed slowly grow into a flower for example.
What to put on a nature table.
Any objects that have been collected while you are out and about can be displayed on a nature table, but here are some ideas to get you started:
- A vase of flowers or leaves
- A tray of variously coloured leaves in Autumn
- A plant experiment
- A collection of shells
- Found bird or insect nests
- Famous artwork of animals or botanical prints
- A magnifying glass for closer observation
Some tips on talking to young children about nature.
It is important to create an atmosphere of love and respect for plants and animals so young children establish a life long connection with and interest in nature. Young children (3-6 years) love to learn the names and parts of plants as well as the names and parts of animals. Keep it simple and take children outside every day in where possible, so they can experience all weather and all seasons.
Children have a natural affinity with nature, so dissecting flowers or animals can be upsetting for the child, without them even realising it. It is the same with talking about the negative impacts humans have on nature. It is best to build up a love for nature and the beautiful things within it first and tackling the bigger issues when the child is older and less likely to get upset.
Need some materials for your nature area?
Nature table tips and ideas have been borrowed from Susan Stephenson's book, Child of the World.