I love nature and have claimed a small area right outside our front door as our nature table. This front porch nature table allows for my kids to collect all the nature that they want but it can stay outside. This works well with hubby’s allergies and keeping the creepy crawlies outside instead of in. I am usually the guilty one of bringing things in like the dead cricket or bumblebee but keep those items in clear plastic “observation jars”.
My youngest loves to pick me flowers and bring them to me. I figured I would give him a space to put his treasures. He also loves rocks, dirt, and sticks! I don’t mind him digging in the tire outback or picking the neighbors dandelions but really like those items to stay outside. The only things we bring inside are dead or wild harvested plants.
We have had this area sort of set-up since last Summer. This entire Nature Table set-up cost nothing due to all the recycled and re-purposed items. I want to share with you what these items are and where I was able to find them.
1) Milkweed seed pods- these were collected from my parents field at the end of last Summer. We found our caterpillars on them and that’s how we brought them home.
2) Mayo Container with Canning ring- We keep almost all of our plastic mayo and Miracle Whip containers for broth or bug jars.
3) Wire Corner Baker’s Rack- Found this peeking out of a recycle bin but it needed to be welded. Luckily my dad owns a welding machine and after a couple of weeks and some reminding he welded it for me! Then I wiped it down and gave it a coat of black spray paint.
4) Utz Pretzel or Cheese Ball container- Brought this home from my parent’s garage to house our caterpillar’s until they reached their cocoon stage.
5) Rock- not really sure which kid brought this up but they probably found it on the side of the house near our garden bed.
6) Square Wire Basket- Eldest found these in the back of the “junk truck” when we got our van worked on. My dad is in charge of a car ministry at his church so when our vehicles need repaired we go their to use the lift. The kids also get to scour the “junk truck” for new treasures. One time he found a stack of these square baskets.
7) Two Tiered Wooden shelf- A couple of years ago a house caught on fire. When the older couple that lived in the downstairs moved out they offered the table to us. It was a little too covered with puppy hair to bring indoors so outside it has sat. It doubles as a place for package deliveries and sometimes for groceries until we unlock the door.
This nature table is still a work in progress. Since we get a lot of rain which blows up on the porch I am trying to figure out how to add a field guide and magnifying glass or special tools for nature play.
I hope this has inspired you to create a nature table for your children to explore and enjoy their treasures.