Use these fall nature table ideas to create a nature table in your home this autumn. A nature table is a place in the home dedicated to placing items found in the natural world and other objects that reflect the season.
It is most often a table, corner or shelf that is meant to be manipulated, played with, and enjoyed. Having one in the home is a wonderful way to invite children to engage in nature study and play based learning.
There are many wonderful ways to design a nature table. The place you have available to use, your interests and values, the resources you have, and the ages of your children will all influence the nature table you create.
It can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. Make it something meaningful for you and your family and you can’t go wrong. You may also like to see our Spring Nature Table Ideas, Summer Nature Table Ideas, and Winter Nature Table Ideas.
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Fall Nature Table Ideas
Fall Nature Table Ideas: What is a Nature Table For?
Nature tables are made to reflect the subtle changes in the world surrounding us so children can begin to take notice of these changes and the passing of time. The idea is to allow children to connect with the objects and the scene depicted on the table. This connection will foster an inner relationship with the items and rhythms found in the natural world.
Nature tables create a sensory experience for the child. Playing with objects found in nature provides the perfect input for the development of a child’s sensory systems. They can also be used for pretend or imaginative play. Having one in the home is a great way to create an open invitation for children to engage in play based learning.
I have found that having a nature table is a great way to get my daughter and I outside exploring nature and learning in ways we might not if we didn’t have one. We talk about what we find and these experiences soak in deeply, opening up a space of understanding that no other type of learning seems to reach. The sparkle I see in her eyes when she declares that she is going to bring something home for the nature table makes it all worthwhile.
We also love creating crafts for our nature table that reflect nature, the season, and the holidays. Creating things for our nature table has become as magical for us as the times we spend outdoors in search of special items. Sometimes we even use the items we find to create something new.
Fall Nature Table Ideas: Nature Tables Can Include:
- Any items found in nature that are safe for children to handle and play with. (Rocks, leaves, sticks, acorns, feathers, pinecones, etc.)
- Live house plants.
- Fresh flowers.
- Seasonal artwork and crafts.
- Silks in seasonal colors.
- Seasonal books.
- Seasonal toys and dolls.
- Seasonal foods.
- Candles and lamps.
- Vases, baskets, bowls, bins, and trays.
- Anything else that reflects nature, the season, holiday, festival, culture, or family values.
*Please don’t include anything that is unsafe for your child to handle and play with. Keep small and breakable objects off the table until you think your child is mature enough to handle them.
Our Fall Nature Table
This year we have created several little nature scenes with natural items and seasonal elements. This table will continue to grow and evolve over the next few months as my daughter plays with it, and we continue to add to it.
Fall Nature Table Ideas: Things we Found (and will continue to find)
- A basket full of pine cones we collected.
- A small glass ramekin of acorns from the oak tree in our backyard.
- A Pumpkin from our garden.
- Blooming herbs to smell – lavender and rosemary.
- Feathers we’ve found.
- A basket of walnuts we collected on our walks through the orchards near our house.
- You can use any natural materials found in your area at this time of year.
- Nature Sensory bins or baskets should be kept on or near the nature table. If you use a large bin that you don’t want to look at, it can be slid under the table so your child can easily access it. See Get Outside & Connect: Gather Treasures for a Nature Sensory Bin.
Fall Nature Table Ideas: Things we Made (often with things we found)
- DIY Acorn Peg Dolls – These are a simple craft for both kids and adults. They took me about 20 minutes to make start to finish. I think they look adorable on our nature table don’t you?
- DIY Fall Peg Doll Fairies – These took my daughter and I about an hour to make. They are much easier to make than they look.
- DIY Stone and Shell Owls – This stone and shell owl craft is fun and easy to do. All you need is a few simple materials and a few spare minutes. Don’t they cute sitting on the oak branches?
- Branch pieces from the oak tree in our backyard to make stands for the acorn peg dolls and owls. My husband used a saw to cut these piece from a fallen branch. My daughter has a bunch more that she uses as blocks. We love them! You can also buy these Cherry Tree Blocks if you don’t want to make your own.
- A vase made by my brother-in-law holding lavender and rosemary.
Fall Nature Table Ideas: Things we Bought
- Autumn – Book by Gurda Muller. Muller has one of these simple books for all four seasons and we always have the book that matches the current season on our nature table.
- Yellow and Orange play silks draped at the back of the table. (Red, orange, white, yellow play silk set. There are many other colors are available – all colors go in and out of stock frequently.)
- Walnut Hallow Basswood Round – The acorns, and acorn peg dolls are sitting on top of one of these. (We made the smaller pieces – see above)
- Himalayan Salt Lamp – This is a beautiful natural air purifier for the home. I love the soft glow it emits over the table day and night.
- Small glass ramekin – holding acorns.
- Small glass bud vase – holding sand and feathers.
- Red Leaf shaped bowl – holding some maple leaves.
- Baskets – These aren’t the same as the one’s on our table but this set that would be lovely on any nature table.
Use these fall nature table ideas to create a nature table in your home. They are used in Waldorf and Montessori education as a way for kids to study nature and the season of autumn. Having a nature table in the home is a wonderful way to invite children to engage in play based learning. Nature tables are wonderful for nature study, sensory development, and imaginative play. They are a great addition to any playroom or homeschool room.
More Nature Table Ideas
You May Also Like
- DIY Acorn Marble Necklace Nature Craft
- DIY Fall Peg Doll Fairies
- Sensory Card Nature Scavenger Hunt
- Collect Treasures for a Nature Sensory Bin
- 11 Ways to Celebrate the Fall Autumnal Equinox
- Nature-Inspired Sensory Bottles
- Watercolor and Fall Leaves Art
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