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Nature Tables for Children

By Narelle Vogel    Narelle is a committee member of Riversong Steiner Playgroup

If we want our community to live lightly on this planet then we need to keep a discussion going with everyone about why nature is so precious, so wonderful and to be enjoyed, protected and preserved.  Young children are important participants in this conversation and it’s a conversation we always strive for at the Riversong Steiner Playgroup.

A beautiful part of our playgroup setting is the nature table, which celebrates the cycles of the natural year.  Each season our committee works together to create our nature setting and draw our children’s attention to the changing of the season, the new colours and the changes in nature that are always evolving in front of our eyes.

I also enjoy creating a nature setting at home and working with my own family and friends to celebrate what the current season means to us.  My spring setting is a simple affair, on top of a stereo speaker to keep it out of reach of our 9 month old.  There is a painting of wattle blossoms in the background, a tree branch with some wire birds, a nest, some origami butterflies (origami is a current fad in our house) and some blossoms.  As I look outside and see the vibrant yellows and greens of the current Australian spring I enjoy trying to capture something of this in that corner of our house.

A lot of children who visit our house are drawn to our nature setting.  They touch the objects, ask lots of questions and then inevitably find something that they would like to add.  It always highlights to me that if you give children an opportunity to take notice of nature they will.

With spring in full colour all around us why not find a spot in your house for a nature setting?  A table, a window sill or even just in the middle of the dining table.  Use some colour cloths to reflect the mood of the season and perhaps have a focal point of some flowers, a branch or even a pot plant.  You can then add or create some objects that reflect spring for you.

If you want to find out more about nature tables why not google some of the key words and you will find some great pictures and descriptions of nature tables in Steiner playgroups and preschools from around the world.

Enjoy spring.