A winter nature table is a space dedicated to placing objects that reflect the season. It is most often a table, corner, tray, or shelf in the home. It is meant to be played with and enjoyed.
There are many ways to design a nature table. The place you have available, your interests and values, the resources available, where you live, the age(s) of your children, and your mood will all influence the winter nature table you create.
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Winter Nature Table
I have found that having a nature table is a great way to get my daughter and I outside exploring nature and learning about everything under the sun (literally) in ways we might not if we didn’t have one. We have so much fun going on walks in our neighborhood, local hikes, or adventures in our backyard collecting things for our winter nature table–a corner shelf.
There is so much more going on than the simple collecting and admiring of these objects. The experience of exploring the items on the winter nature table soaks in deeply. It opens up a space of understanding that no other type of learning seems to be able to reach.
It’s also very exciting for my daughter to find things that she can take it home to explore in more depth. The sparkle in her eye when she declares that she is going to bring something home for the nature table is quite magical.
Our Winter Nature Table
Even though it will be constantly evolving and added to, we began our winter nature table by placing the following items on it this year:
- A small vase with bird feathers my daughter loves to collect.
- Pieces of wood cut from a fallen branch of the oak tree in our backyard. A few of our DIY winter fairy peg dolls are sitting on top of these. It all sits on a Basswood Round.
- Pine cones my daughter collected on our daily walks. You can use any natural materials found in your area at this time of year.
- Rhinestone Pinecones
- Acorns in a small glass ramekin.
- Small snowy alpine trees. [We found these in the seasonal section in Michaels.]
- Bird Nest with Moss
- The acorns, nest, cardinal and fairies are on a Basswood Round.
- Playsilks in Sky Blue and Lavender draped on top of the shelf to reflect the coolness of the season
- Winter Board Book by Gurda Muller. Muller has a book for all seasons and we always have the appropriate season displayed on our nature tables.
You can create your winter nature table exactly as you like. You can be as minimal or as extravagant as you please. There are no limits other than the limits of your own imagination. Enjoy!
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Nell has over 20 years of experience working with children and is the founder of Rhythms of Play. She believes in the power of the imagination, learning through play, making this world a greener place to live, and getting outside in all seasons! Learn more…