Attempting a summer nature table

I’ve been experimenting on and off with creating seasonal displays over the past year. This is my attempt at a summer nature table: a handful of shells, some stones that V collected, the beautiful picture book Summer, by Gerda Muller, and an empty vase which I hope to fill with some wildflowers soon.

A nature table is a display of items that represent the changing seasons. Here’s an excerpt from the book, The Nature Corner, by M v Leeuwen & J Moeskops:

A seasonal tableau or season’s table is a place in the home where you can follow the natural cycle of the year. Changes in the natural world are given expression indoors…[This] enables one to live with the rhythm of the spring equinox, summer solstice, autumn equinox, midwinter, and so on. One isĀ  no longer simply swept along by the passage of time but consciously experiences the rhythm of the year.

A nature table/seasonal display also doesn’t have to be a table; it can be a shelf, a bowl, a centerpiece, or a tray of items, depending on your space limitations.

For outdoor enthusiasts and die-hard minimalists, you can simply take your children outside and spend lots of time in nature. However, if you would like to bring some of the outside in, here are some ideas for a nature table:

The simple method: You can make a nature table very literal and secular by simply gathering seasonal items from nature. You don’t have to buy or make anything and items can either be saved each season or returned to nature, as appropriate.

  • Here is wonderful an example from a homeschooling family. By adding labels and combining it with nature books, a nature table can also be an educational tool.

Representations of nature such as photos, artwork, playsilks, and crafts using natural materials can be incorporated with the seasons. Wooden figures, needle felted crafts and knitted animals are sometimes added. This is a little more work intensive and best for either crafty folks or people who like to buy crafted items.

  • Here is a post with some pictures of this type of interpretation, and here is another example.

Personifications of nature, such as fairy figures, gnomes and root/flower children figure heavily in Waldorf nature tables.

Some use religious holidays as inspiration for their seasonal table such as Advent or nativity displays.

Also, Flickr has a nature table pool for inspiration.

Although I’m in awe of the impressive crafty feats of some mamas, I’m going to try to keep things simple for now.