Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Tables Have Turned

Have you ever heard of a nature table?  I hadn't either, until I started reading about Waldorf and Charlotte Mason education methodologies. 
What is it, you may ask?  It is an area where things are brought in from outside to reflect the changes of the seasons. Things on the nature table are meant to be gently played with and inspected by the children of the house and let them explore the wonders of God's creation as it changes throughout the year.

I have been holding off on incorporating a nature table at our house, as I was concerned with little hands breaking things, little ones choking on things, and honestly, what others may say.  I've really only seen it done in one other house.  And I must admit, I always look at it with longing...I realized that Jenn, our nanny was already doing a nature table if she knew it or not.  On the outside table one day last week, there was an assortment of black walnuts, leaves, sticks, and chicken feathers.  I asked her what it was, and Pyper said, "Mommy, these are my treasures!"  While outside, Jenn had the little ones pick up things on their adventures that interested them and put them on the table.  She told them they were treasures.  How true.  I realized I needed to change my perspective.  We have the perfect table to dedicate to God's treasures.  I'm looking forward to starting it. 

 My friend, Brandy, has been incorporating a nature table into their family's rhythm and home for quite some time.  I hope she doesn't mind me stealing showcasing her autumn table.  I did try calling her to ask permission, but she didn't answer.  I think she makes the prettiest ones.

This is a pretty winter table.  I might use a white play silk to cover the table since we live in an area with snow. If you live in an area without snow, you could use a light tan one, or even a piece or burlap to reflect the brown that most of the earth is as it goes through winter. We might have a bulb in a jar that we are 'forcing' and it is still dormant, but ready to spring forth with life soon. We could have some pine cones that fell from the tree out back, as well as a vase full of evergreen boughs. We could have some pebbles that we found on our walk, and arrange them in a path shape that leads up to a little house we made of bark that fell off a tree. We could have angels out of wool, or even use wool on the 'ground' of our scene to look like snow. We could have a ball of yarn that we are going to knit into mittens, with the work in progress. Which reminds me, I would LOVE to learn to knit!!!  We could have a mirror on the ground to look like a pond that has turned into ice, and we could prop up a branch that has no leaves on it to reflect all the trees that have gone dormant for the winter.

 I really like this Spring table and how it incorporates books with a Spring time theme.  I think I will do the same, as Pyper loves books and narrating what she "reads" in the pictures. 

A nice summer table.  Your creativity can really take off as you explore the different items you could display for each season.  I think if you had a beach vacation, perhaps you could collect sea shells, save some sand, maybe add a live hermit crab, and add a favorite mermaid to the table to make your vacation last longer. 

Do you think you'll start a nature table?  I am.  I can't wait!

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