Last year, I was introduced to Waldorf education and fell in love with their preschool. With two children enrolled this year, I knew it was time to start a nature table. I had never heard of a nature table before, but the concept was not new to me. We already had a little nature bowl set aside where the kids could put their outdoor treasures (leaves, sticks, pine cones, acorns). A Waldorf nature table just goes a bit beyond that by adding tiny woolen people and felt animals to signify the changing of the seasons. Like a tiny seasonal scene that depicts what might be happening outdoors. Here are some great examples:
A few months ago, I was thrilled to stumble across this website (actually a blog) called Seasons Round Exchange. Each season, an exchange of 3-5 nature table items is organized between 100 participants. At least one of the items must be handmade, and the others can be from nature, a piece of artwork, or store bought. Somehow I remembered to sign up on the right day and secured a spot in the Autumn exchange! In July, I was paired with my mate, Grace, who uses the Waldorf curriculum to homeschool her three young children. We exchanged friendly welcoming emails to each other, and I was reminded that the internet is truly amazing! I was connected with another mother from across the country with similar interests, and she was going to help me get started on my very own nature table.
I started doing a needle felted tree for her, but soon decided that it was too labor intensive for me to get it done in time. I ended up making one of my little gnomie guys – a stump man with a toadstool hat. He was one of the first things I made when I joined the Handwork Group, and I was known as the toadstool lady for awhile (I had an obsession with toadstools!). He paired nicely with a cardinal I made earlier in the summer, and I felt both were true reflections of me. I cut a simple leaf shape for them to sit on, and added a nut ball for dimension and texture. My kids threw in a hand-picked acorn at the last minute! I was happy with how it turned out, and I really hope that she liked it. I can’t wait to see what I receive in the exchange.
Grace keeps two wonderful blogs – I especially loved reading/viewing her blog, near:far. I encourage you to check out her beautiful photos and thoughts on motherhood.