Guest Author - Aimee K. Wood
Once the holiday decorations are put away and the gray of winter lingers outside, often our inside spaces look bare and lonely. Think about putting together a nature table which can incorporate special elements from the outside. Waldorf schools often put together nature tables to inspire children. My children have had the privilege of having a Waldorf teacher in the past and I have been inspired by her to do the same. The nature table can be as simple as your creative side is or you can go out on a ledge and try new and exciting elements. Here are some ideas:
Choose a small table or corner of a larger table to set up your nature area.
Cover the table or area with a cloth or silk that might reflect the time of year (i.e.: white for winter or snow, green for spring or summer, tan for fall or winter, etc).
Go on a walk with your children in the woods or on a nature trail and collect interesting findings. Pinecones, pebbles, bark, small branches, nuts, and acorns are just some ideas.
Perhaps you would like to put a spring bulb in a glass jar to try to force it? Early signs of spring can be exciting for little ones.
Little wooden or felted figures can become people in the nature scene.
Have children sculpt and mold with beeswax. They may create little elements that go along lovely with your scene.
Adorn the scene with beeswax candles. Remember, always be aware of candles that are lit and keep them away from very young children.
A small mirror can be used as a pretend ice skating rink.
Once all materials are collected, if you have children allow them to help you create the scene on the nature table.
Families often change their nature table with the seasons, but depending on your creative style, you may wish to change it more often that that.
Ideas for other seasons include: changing the silk or cloth that covers the table, adding flowers, sand, pebbles, water, autumn leaves, etc.
Nature tables are a fun, eco-friendly, and economical activity. These lovely nature tables can become a fantastic decorative aspect of your home. And, they can become a wonderful activity for you and your family. Creating a nature table can become a ritual in your home that everyone looks forward to creating. Also, they can become a quiet, reflective, and sacred space.