Use these resources to make a seasonal nature table or nature discovery center that engages children in thinking, exploring and learning about spring.
How to make a spring nature table
This activity is part of my Spring Activities resources, which include an introduction to the season and complete units on Daffodils, Eggs, Seeds and Shoots, and running a Nature Study project. See our full resources and free printables here.
A spring nature table
Do you have a nature table? They’re a wonderful way to bring nature into your home or classroom and encourage children to connect by investigating and responding to the treasures of the season.
Let’s get our nature tables ready for spring today.
Why we have a nature table
A nature table can have different purposes. Some people set one up as a kind of altar or shrine, to honour nature and our connection with the earth. Some families use their nature table as a focus for decoration, gathering together springtime crafts and art. Other people have them as a hands-on area where children are encouraged to explore and investigate the materials.
What kind of nature table would best suit your family?
Where to place your a nature table
Your table might be indoors, on the porch or in the garden. Sometimes it is an actual table, but a shelf, mantlepiece, or window ledge can all work well too. The most important thing, I think, is to place it where it will be noticed, appreciated, and used. There’s no point setting it up in an out-of-the-way corner, where it will be forgotten and gather dust.
For us, it works to have two nature spaces. One, often on the old school desk in our entrance hall or on the mantlepiece over the fire, acts as our decorative nature table. And then we have another, in the playroom or kitchen, which is more of a investigative nature table, which we use for art, science, and writing.
What to put on your nature table
You can work with your children on this because I bet they are skilled at finding nature treasures when you are out on your nature walks. Here are some ideas for things you can include:
:: nature finds for the seasons: feathers, shells, twigs, pebbles, leaves
:: a pot of seasonal flowers: daffodils are perfect for spring, or some willow twigs
:: books – information and plant and animal ID books, poetry, and story books, all matching the season and the area where you live
:: art – your children’s drawings, posters of animals and plants, famous art work featuring the natural world. I think it’s such a treat to open up our ‘spring’ box and bring out all the previous years treasures that we made.
:: a calendar – to remind you where you are within the cycle of the year. We use the circular, nature-spotting calendar we made in the Winter Workshop
:: a microscope or magnifying glass – for closer inspections of your nature finds
:: art materials for sketching, watercolour paints, oil pastels, pencils
:: scissors, glue, and sticky tape for scrapbooking in your nature journals
:: toy / model animals
:: labels and vocabulary lists for key words