Creating a nature table (or any other small space you set aside) is a wonderful activity to mark the passing seasons and treasure the changes that come each year.
It can also be a tool for learning about the flora and fauna of your area, for appreciating nature in general, and a way to encourage noticing what is happening outside.
A nature table is seasonal decorating at its best!
Here are some simple steps you can take to create your own:
1) Declare a space to be set aside just for this purpose. Some ideas could include the entry table near your front door, a fireplace hearth, a coffee table, a bookshelf or desk. A special placemat, tray, vase or box of some sort can be added.
2) Find or purchase a few starter items. In the spring, you could purchase a potted bulb getting ready to bloom, in the summer you could fill a glass or vase with seasonal flowers, in the fall you could begin with a small pumpkin, in the winter a paper snowflake or an empty branch.
3) Get outside! Dress for the weather and explore your area. Encourage your children to bring home appropriate items from appropriate places (don't pick your neighbor's flowers, but collecting autumn leaves in the park is fine) and talk about what sort of plant they came from and how that plant looks during this season.
4) Keep your hands off. Let the children be in charge of placing, arranging and adding to your nature table. Let your job be informing them in more detail about anything they have found, or answering questions they might have.
Here is a picture of our fall table:
How do you mark the changing seasons in your home?