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Mum
08-01-2013, 08:44 PM
We're giving the dining/homeschool room a mini makeover this month and I want to do something different with our nature table. Right now it's combined with our Buddha Altar.

Anybody willing to post pics of their little tables?

Come on, I know you have one. I'll show you mine if you show me yours.:_p:

farrarwilliams
08-01-2013, 09:23 PM
We don't keep one, but I do keep various nature bowls. Does that count? The one I have now has lots of shells, some feathers and a dried turtle shell.

Mum
08-01-2013, 11:21 PM
We don't keep one, but I do keep various nature bowls. Does that count? The one I have now has lots of shells, some feathers and a dried turtle shell.

That counts. Do you swap them out by season or lesson or something?

farrarwilliams
08-01-2013, 11:29 PM
We were doing a lot of informal nature study and I was just accumulating things, arranging them in various bowls so the mantle or the shelf or the top of the sideboard wasn't covered in specimens but seemed to have collections. And then was culling, tossing stuff, and then letting it build up again. Two years ago, when we were doing geology, it was all rocks. Like, piles of rocks everywhere. My kids don't delve into it and get excited by it once they've found it. So... I'm always torn. They're much more interested in doing the science stuff and rarely interested in whatever is leftover.

Stella M
08-02-2013, 01:35 AM
No pics, but mine used to be very Steiner, and googling Steiner nature tables might get you some ideas. One useful idea was to use a cloth to suit the season - white or pale blue in winter, pink/yellow in spring etc. Playsilks are good but so are random bits of material you pick up at the thrift shop.

I'm assuming you don't want to go all the way into gnome territory ? I've got gnomes :)

Less is more in a nature table. Having a magnifying glass or loupe on/near the table is nice too. Maybe with some mini-notebooks and little pencils for sketching.

You can pin seasonal poetry to the wall behind the table as well.

Oh, and a book basket with seasonal themed books.

Anonymous Me
08-02-2013, 02:41 AM
We don't have a picture of our Nature Cart, which at the moment is not camera-ready. None of our school spaces or furniture is camera-ready. We're still dealing with last year's stuff, and have a big Decluttering and Redecorating weekend planned.

I went through a "Shelves on Wheels" phase a couple of years ago. I bought plastic rolling carts, removed the drawers, inserted thin shelf-wood, secured the different levels with duct tape, then covered them with shelf/contact paper to try to make it look "cute." My whole deal back then was to have as much furniture on wheels as possible, so that I could roll things out when we needed to use them, and easily roll them away when they were not in use. The theory was that it would also facilitate sweeping and mopping. HA! It was worth the try.

So currently, our shell collection sits on the same shelf level as our birds nests in margarine containers. There are magnifying glasses on every level, which I have not organized yet...ditto bug boxes. They are shoved in between various pocket field guides because I am neurotic and worry that one little ray of sun will cause one of these magnifiers to burn the house down. Our rock collection is causing the middle shelf to sag a bit because it is really heavy and belongs on the bottom shelf. Snake skin bits are in the same box as acorns, and random seed packets are everywhere.

After this weekend, once my High Hopes, Apple-Pie-In-The-Sky Hopes decluttering session is complete, I may have something worth sharing :)

Anonymous Me
08-02-2013, 02:45 AM
Two years ago, when we were doing geology, it was all rocks. Like, piles of rocks everywhere..

Love hearing that we are not alone in our over-abundance of rocks :)

Starkspack
08-02-2013, 05:10 AM
We have various nature baskets. DD is a huge collector of all things nature - seed pods, leaves, flowers, feathers, you name it, and ROCKS. Oh my, the girl collects rocks. Everywhere we go she will fill her pockets with them if I let her. Outside our library is an area of large gravel rocks (part of the landscaping), and I have had to limit her to one rock each time we go. These she treasures in the car, and ultimately at some point "gifts" them to me. I accumulate them in the front floorboard, and then sneak them back to the library landscaping in small batches. :)

As for displays, we once had an altar area, but after rearranging the room to better accommodate DD having school and play space, we don't anymore. Now DD improvises and makes displays and arrangements of her rocks basically anywhere she feel inspired - book shelves, on the floor, on the table.....it is a constant process. At least she comes by it honestly - her mama and her mama's mama are both rock hounds, too. :)

hockeymom
08-02-2013, 06:22 AM
Do you mean the prettier one in the living room, with the birds nest, starfish, sand dollars, horseshoe crabs and feathers? Or do you mean the saucer next to the microscopes in the dining room, full of dead bugs for inspection?

(maybe that should get filed under You know you're a homeschooler when...you have a saucer of dead bugs on the sideboard in your dining room)

Mum
08-02-2013, 09:43 AM
We have various nature baskets. DD is a huge collector of all things nature - seed pods, leaves, flowers, feathers, you name it, and ROCKS. Oh my, the girl collects rocks. Everywhere we go she will fill her pockets with them if I let her. Outside our library is an area of large gravel rocks (part of the landscaping), and I have had to limit her to one rock each time we go. These she treasures in the car, and ultimately at some point "gifts" them to me. I accumulate them in the front floorboard, and then sneak them back to the library landscaping in small batches. :)


Love this. It would make a cute picture book with Mom on the last page sneaking the rocks back to library.

Thanks for the Steiner tip, Stella. I found a lot of pics on Pinterest too.

Being a Montessori family, I think we're going to start labeling some of the specimens. Then DS3(almost4) can shuffle them up, have his brother or me read the word to him and label the stuff over and over again.

jdubbleb
08-04-2013, 08:28 AM
We have a jungle--a slug farm and caterpillar habitat in the family room, an frog habitat in the basement, geckos in the boys' room , in addition to 2 pond habitats for Trickster's tadpoles and snails in their bed room as well. Trickster collects rocks and when he gets bored with investigating them, puts them in one of his million habitats...

We also have random jars of other insects he's captured and observing in addition to an expanding insect display case. I used to have a science table in our home school room (which we no longer use), but all the containers with random specimens have been assigned to Trickster's growing zoo. We do still have feathers and bones from our owl pellet dissection at the library, along with other weird stuff they collect when the dig on the backyard for "treasure".

The boys dissect seeds and collect other random items, but generally leave them outside. They also try to grow seeds they collect outside, though :-)

banjobaby
08-14-2013, 03:42 PM
I'm jealous of some of your nature tables! We keep our nature finds in a shoe organizer, for the most part.

Gummers
08-14-2013, 03:55 PM
I have never heard of this before. What exactly is a nature table (sounds like a collection of stuff kids find outside?) and is there a purpose it is supposed to serve (maybe supposed to go back to it and learn about the stuff they find?)

BakedAk
08-14-2013, 04:30 PM
We have nature stuff all over. Rocks by the ton, two dead dragonflies (state insect of Alaska, don'tcha know), jeweler's loupes, ammonites, geodes, a dead bee, chicken and duck feathers, a lemon shark jaw... there's a dead spider in the freezer. My mom-in-law is a former elementary teacher who lives in the woods and is interested in skulls, so we may be getting some raccoon skulls before long. BTW, shark jaws under a loupe are super cool. I really need to make a nice display.

Mum
08-14-2013, 07:04 PM
I have never heard of this before. What exactly is a nature table (sounds like a collection of stuff kids find outside?) and is there a purpose it is supposed to serve (maybe supposed to go back to it and learn about the stuff they find?)

For us, it's just a spot in the house for various pieces of nature, mostly discovered in the yard or hikes in the woods. Sometimes I add other things to it, like seashells in the summer. We keep a hand lens and hand held microscope on the table too.

I have two main purposes for ours: first, to have a central place for acorns, flowers, dead bugs, etc to go when the kids bring them in. Second, to spark little bits of interest and curiosity.

snowpeople5
08-14-2013, 08:11 PM
Wait, what?? People have nature tables?? Oh lordy, I barely started hsing and already failing :)

ETA: yes, it would be LOVELY to see pics

Mum
08-14-2013, 08:34 PM
Wait, what?? People have nature tables?? Oh lordy, I barely started hsing and already failing :)

ETA: yes, it would be LOVELY to see pics


LOL! We've always had one, even before we homeschooled. Honestly, I think it started as carry-over from growing up Catholic and bringing in flowers and naturey stuff to put in front of our statue of Mary.

snowpeople5
08-15-2013, 12:02 AM
But don't those things go "bad" and collect flying bugs or something?

Mum
08-15-2013, 09:32 AM
Yeah. They're not sacred or anything. When the flowers fade we throw them out.

SagittariusMich
08-17-2013, 08:52 PM
And, snowpeople5, most of the dried leaves, acorns, pinecones and such do not rot and attract other insects or vermin. They actually preserve remarkably well which increases their usefulness for sparking creativity and thought.

Very often my fruit bowl will have rotten fruit in it and the fruit flies swarm in, this doesn't keep me from refilling it with fruit though; but the sea shells and rocks are durable and long lasting.

Love this thread, by the way. One day I'll be organized and take pictures and post them, I swear.

crochetmama
09-12-2013, 09:35 PM
I may be posting this twice but here is our nature display. 19691970

I found the silver flower arranger thingy (I'm sure it has a real name) at a rummage sale for .50 and it works perfectly for sticking things we find in.

crochetmama
09-12-2013, 09:38 PM
Also the "flowers" are actually garlic flowers which I would take over real flowers any day they were so cool looking! Our display has changed a bit for fall. Mostly we just added a few mini pumpkins from the garden and some popping corn.