By Kelly Villaruel
Creating a nature table in the home is a wonderful way to bring the outdoors inside. It is a place where you can continue to cultivate awe and reverence for the natural world when it is time to be indoors. Sometimes just walking past the nature table and catching a glimpse of the treasures is enough to spark curiosity and, ultimately, motivate quests to find answers.
To start your own nature table, put a small table or other flat surface in a place where it will be visible and visited many times a day. It should be within reach of the smallest child in your house so the treasures can be touched. Make the table beautiful and inviting by covering it with a piece of fabric or a scarf that reflects the colors of the season if possible. You can place flat things under the cloth like books or small boxes to add dimension and to highlight special finds. Now the fun begins.
As you and your children go out adventuring, collect treasures that catch your eye and draw your interest. Bring those treasures back and place them on the table. Sticks, bones, dead bugs, moss, shells, flowers…anything goes. Handmade natural crafts are a lovely addition to the nature table and it can be changed with the seasons, as the natural world changes. If you have one, place a magnifying glass on the table to invite deeper examinations of the treasures. If you have field guides, keep them near the nature table to encourage investigations.
If you have older children, let them take charge of the nature table. This is the perfect opportunity for them to be in the lead and take ownership. Notice how they take pride in the process of creating beauty in the home for the whole family to enjoy together. This is deep nature connection as they are cultivating their relationships with the natural world, their family, and themselves.