The Winter Nature Table: Setting Up the Environment

One of the most delightful parts of working with young children is helping them create meaningful invitations.  Invitations to play learn. The nature table has always been a fantastic way to get children interested in science and natural aspects as well as provide inspiration for pretend play. The winter nature table was always a tricky one for this Californian (wanna be New Englander) teacher who longed to display snowy artifacts for the children to enjoy.  However, the truth was, most of the children I worked with didn't even understand what snow was. So our winter tables reflected the California winters.

A California Winter Nature Table Might Include:

  • the pine cones we found on our walks
  • the browning leaves or twigs
  • stories about winter from all over. 

Your Winter table should reflect what the season looks like in your area. We would have days where the children would find natural treasures on our daily walks and we would add these twigs and rocks and leaves to our nature table. Every day before the children arrived, I would tidy up the table and present it in a way to inspire exploration and play.

Add This to Inspire Exploration and Play:

  • magnifying glasses
  • mirrors
  • little plastic or wooden people 
  • or creatures 

What you choose to add will depend on the depend on the interests of the children. 

Into Whimsical Touches?  

Waldorf (Steiner school) nature table displays often feature fairies, root children and other lovely felted or wooden creatures to help children prepare for upcoming holidays or festivals or seasonal times of year. A fantastic source of inspiration for Waldorf-inspired winter nature table displays can be found in the links below.