The nature table
When my children were very young we had a small table under a window in the dining room on which we placed a small wooden bowl and some candles.
It was our nature table.
In the bowl we placed treasures that we had found in the natural world...
such as seashells, feathers, acorns, an odd shaped rock, a toadstool, even a tiny weed with an intricate root system.
In season tiny hands carefully placed many different things into that bowl, colourful leaves, sticky pinecones, grass clippings and dandelions, seeds...even butterfly wings and once, I think, a dead cricket.
It’s important to create respect and caring for the natural world in children. It gives them the sense that they are a part of a larger world. That the huge oak tree in the side yard was once just a tiny acorn and that the tree that grew is older than their great-grandfather.
That the forest or the beach or the desert is on the earth just like they are and that we are all connected.
I have a nature table in my kitchen these days as well. Right now it has pine cones from the big pine tree at the school where I work and also some from the neighbors tree. It has a few acorns from one of the oaks I walk past on my way to market and an oyster shell that incorporated a mussel shell.