Hal and George and I sifted through various nature items we’d collected this week and put up the autumn nature table (although, for us, it’s become a shelf, since the “table” has been occupied by Ruth’s budgie, Sunny.)
We have a little box of autumnal items we save and put out every year. Hal really enjoyed taking out things we’d made or found in previous years and remembering how we came to have them.
George needs a stool (kid chair) to reach the shelf, but for the first time Hal is tall enough to reach it easily. It’s hard to believe how quickly he’s growing and how tall he’s gotten over the summer.
The boys are really into Minecraft (in the rainy months, unschoolers tend to get together a lot to play Minecraft. It’s a fantastic learning tool and inspires so much creativity). Hal found the Nature Table a perfect playground for his teeny Minecraft toys.
I love that the Nature Table is such a multi-purpose educational tool – it’s a way to talk about and examine nature close-up, with the hands and the eyes. It is a starting point for research on natural history, ecology, botany, geology. The Nature Table is constantly shifting in contents as the seasons change, so it helps us mark the rhythm of the year and engages the kids in studies of the seasons – their library book selections are often inspired by items on the nature table and the season represented therein. Perhaps most importantly, the Nature Table sparks creative play, storytelling, games, and make believe driven by the children’s imaginations.