Saturday, 26 October 2013

Nature Table


I was delighted to notice recently that Angus's classroom has a nature table. This is something I remember fondly from my own primary school days, that ramshackle display in a corner of the room filled mainly with conkers, I seem to remember. Always conkers. I don't remember those nature displays appearing in winter, spring or summer, for some reason. But then there is so much of interest to find in the woods and bring inside in the autumn, I suppose, and it doesn't droop or wilt.

Last Sunday afternoon, in a brief moment of sunshine in between rain showers, Christmas cake baking and oven timers beeping, we went down to the woods. We weren't out for long, just time enough for us to all stretch our legs and collect some some "autumn treasures". "I've found some Nature, mummy." said Bella. "I've a found a bit more Nature, mummy." And so it went, as our wellies got muddier and our bag filled up with leaves, acorns, berries, seed heads and feathers. We brought them home and laid them out on a tray covered with a plain white tea towel. I was quite surprised at just how much colour there was to be found in there - pink, red, yellow, green and grey -  among the many shades of brown. A week later it's looking a bit dried up and crispy - it'll end up in the bin soon I think, but it was fun while it lasted.

We didn't find any conkers though.

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I so enjoyed reading your comments on my blanket post. What a response! Thank you. It was fascinating reading each of them and made me realise I am most definitely not alone in my need for organised randomness. Tick lists, spreadsheets, graphs, patterns, random stripe generators(!) and lots of piles of squares all featured heavily. It's interesting to see that creative does not always mean carefree and spontaneous - you can be an ever so slightly uptight, careful sort of creative, too. Yay! 





47 comments:

Victoria Baltser said...

So wonderful!

mylittlecorner said...

Fun times nature walks. ... love the photos, they would make nice postcards !

forgetmenots blue said...

Sounds lovely. My daughter has a nature table at her school too we were lucky enough to find some conkers last weekend on a walk along the canal xx

Sharron said...

You have to cherish those moments when children get excited about the simple things. Your little nature ramble produced some lovely finds. The array of colours are awesome. Oh my, I love Autumn x

Penny said...

It's so pleasing to know that there are still nature tables in classrooms Gillian. I cannot go for a walk without bring treasure's back no matter what the season :o) Sounds like Bella and Angus are gathering not only fun bits of nature, but also wonderful memories, enjoy the rest of your weekend xox Penny
ps. Your parcel arrived this week and it deserves a post all of it's own. I adore all of it and am hoping to frame the little print this week when I am off for half term, thank you once again x

Mama Macfennell said...

I love nature tables too and even though my children proclaim themselves much too old for such displays we still do something similar at home and enjoy adding to it with one treasure or another. We haven't found any conkers either. Helen

Jooles Hill said...

What a beautiful nature collection! Gosh i LOVE Autumn so much PRETTY PRETTY PRETTY.
When I worked at a pre School a few years ago, I was the 'Nature table lady' I loved it! and guess what??? I made bunting to decorate the table for each season, no one can say I didn't take my job seriously!
Happy weekend
love jooles xxx

Fondant Fancy said...

We started a nature table around 7 years ago, still going strong, even though my oldest is almost 13. Autumn is definitely most plentiful, although I do love yo see sea glass and shells in summertime. Keep it up!

SaraJ said...

I miss the nature table now Matt is growing up - but he's still not too old, and neither am I, to enjoy kicking and walking through autumn leaves that "scrunch"!
Hope the rest of your weekend is fun. x

Chrissie said...

What a wonderful idea, having your own little nature table at home. I think I'll take my girls out tomorrow to "find some nature"! Your post made me smile, thank you! Chrissie x

Heldasland said...

what a wonderful collection .I love conker season, fabulous pictures

Bronwyn said...

I have planned a nature table for my kindergarteen classroom too. I just sent a note home with the students on Friday and I am hoping for a lot of natural materials to fill our new nature space. My own kids and I are going out tomorrow to the local woods to find some science, too. My youngest wants to take some acorns into his kindergarten classroom.

millefeuilles said...

More wonderful memories are being created in your lovely household! Enjoy!

Stephanie

Susan Smith said...

I enjoyed seeing your nature tray and love the colours of autumn too. Have caught up on a couple of your posts now as some down time between packing. Take care.

Cheryl mylittlepieceofengland said...

I remember the nature table, didn't have one in either of my children's classes though. Love the thought of hunting for autumn treasures :) xx

the linen cloud said...

I loved nature tables at school too ... you all found quite the array of pretty bits of nature ...a lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon ... Bee xx

the linen cloud said...

or Sunday even ;) ... X

Julie said...

I don't remember having a nature table and my daughter doesn't either - I'd have loved one though and have been collecting odds and ends during our walks this autumn. Conkers seem to be few and far between here too though. x

Jo said...

Bring on the nature table, that's what I say. Great pictures and colours. Jo x

Amy at love made my home said...

We had a nature table when I was at primary school I seem to remember, I am sure that was mostly conkers and then a load of weird stuff that was not from nature at all - just general tat!! Your collection makes a much nicer and more interesting nature table. Hope that you are still enjoying your non random random blanket! xx

amanda peters said...

I to remember having a nature table at little school, I once took a dead Kingfisher in that I had found , but after a few days maggots were eating it from the inside out ( not very pleasant) so the teacher got rid of it and asked me not to bring any more dead things to school. ,!!
I still collect things from my walks now.

Mereknits said...

A nature table sounds like a great idea for a classroom. I bet it is so fun to search for fun leaves, twigs and seed pods.
Hugs,
Meredith

Tammy Chrzan said...

Awww how precious "I found some nature mummy"... that is just darling!
When my older boys were younger they had to go out in nature and pick out different leaves, identify them and put them in a book, they had to find like 10 different ones if I remember correctly, it was a lot of fun for the whole family. I love the idea of a nature table, well done to his classroom!
Much love,
Tammy
PS... Stay safe in the Hurricane!

Jennifer said...

My daughter went on a "nature walk" this week at school. It was maybe a misnomer, since they mostly walked on city streets, but they were looking for leaves and other items to collect in a bag for making collages back at school. She found leaves and acorns, I think. Someone else collected a bag of rocks! I was proud of her ability to recognize natural things. :)

Grayseasailor said...

I think the nature you and yours found is beautiful, Gillian. Botanical prints are among my favorite to view, and your photos evoked memory of such prints for me. Thanks for posting :)
Gracie xx

CJ said...

Wonderful. I remember making a nature tray at home when I was little, I think I need to try this with my little people now that half term is here.

Jacqui Galloway said...

I remember having a nature table at school and I still bring home bits and pieces that I find. What a delight. J x

mags said...

We used to have one at home too! Dan most liked to bring home stones, some were big and heavy, I remember one walk where he wanted me to carry a really big one and I said no so he did himself and it was really heavy ... Bless. I still have a lot of the stones we have collected in the garden! Xxx

Anonymous said...

My daughter has a nature table in her classroom too. As a family, we are all avid collectors when we go out on walks and it gives great pleasure when at a later date, you look at the 'treasures' and think back to when they were found. Sarah xo

Hannapat said...

Such a lovely activity to do with the kids and the bonus is that it makes for a gorgeous display. Xo

rachel said...

madam has an ever changing 'nature windowsill' of collected treasures. I try very hard to resist the urge to chuck it all out!!

I am very excited to have discovered you can preserve autumn leaves in glycerin so will be having a go at that soon.

S said...

I remember our nature table at school... and the teacher always had a vase of something seasonal on the desk (pussy willow stems come to mind). A few years ago Country Living magazine ran a campaign to bring nature tables back into schools.
My little one's almost fourteen months and I was the recipient of a bashed up acorn he brought back in his hand from a walk with his grandad. I suspect that'll end up in a memory box...
Love your photos, especially the ones on the tea towel!
Sarah :)

Jacqueline said...

I have fond memories of when I was young collecting things "to show" on my classroom's nature table. Now, my grand children enjoy this past time too!

sustainablemum said...

We have a year round seasonal table at home. We have two small bowls for any finds, books related to the season and a little tree which we hang seasonal goodies from. It currently has autumnal coloured knitted leaves and some beautiful felted acorns a friend made and gave me for my birthday.

Lisa said...

We were doing the exact same thing last Saturday. There are plans for garlands to be made this half term.
Lisa x

Leanne said...

I have fond memories of nature tables too. Olly and I have an ongoing one, which we fill with stuff from our trips out. It has been spreading all over the place lately. I am awash with leaves and pebbles! I just love the enthusiasm of children when they are collecting things.It sounds as if Bella and Angus had a ball.

Leanne xx

Annie @ knitsofacto said...

I love me a good nature table, and I don't have the excuse of involving young children in the process. As I wrote recently, my husband calls me The Pocket Filler when we're out and about :)

French Knots said...

My youngest doesn't have a nature table in his Reception classroom but they often have nature on the art table for drawing inspiration. It was some wonderful gourds last week.
My daughter once took a dead frog in to school for show and tell, she found it in the garden and as it wasn't too manky I put it in a tupperware container for her!
A walk is not complete without a bit of treasure to bring home, leaves, shells pebbles or sticks!

Sol said...

Hope you are all ok and were safe and no damage after the high winds

FunkySteph said...

What a beautiful collection. Do you dip the leaves in glycerin in order to be able to keep them through winter? I have seen on Pinterest lovely displays of leaves on wall just stuck with beautiful washi tape...

Amanda Graham said...

What an amazing array of natural things- definitely an autumnal treasure trove:)

A Little Blue Dragonfly said...

I love this! I will definitely be adding this activity to our schooling this week. Thank you for the idea! :)

Caroline South said...

Such a wonderful collection, so much colour! We have an ongoing nature windowsill - there's always a few treasures brought back from our walks! Xx

Lyn said...

I remember a nature table at school but although I would love to set one up at the primary school I work at now There doesn't seem the room...it's all computers and books!
x

Jo said...

I remember the school nature table, there was always a bird's nest on there and sunflower heads. Both my kids had nature tables in their classrooms when they were in primary school too. I love the honesty seedheads when they go papery like that, my grandma always had some in a vase.

Julia said...

The nature table sounds like a wonderful idea for a classroom. This would be fun to do with Charlotte one day.

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog...love it. I am an early childhood art teacher in Australia and WE love our nature table..cheers Robyn