I’ve talked before about how important I think nature is for children and, apart from getting out amongst it as often as we can, one of the other ways we like to incorporate nature into our lives is by bringing it inside. The girls collect ‘treasures’ wherever we go: flowers, shells, sticks, rocks, etc. When we get home they usually put them on the nature table to keep. Our nature tray used to look like this…
Not very appealing is it? A mess of who knows what! Consequently, it never got much use. Once things were put here, that’s where they remained. But not any more!
Ta-da! The nature caddy. When I saw this tray at one of my local shops I knew just what I wanted to use it for!
Doesn’t it look so much more inviting? Everything is neatly organised and easy to see. But the best thing about it is that it’s portable. The girls can easily pick it up and carry it around to wherever they need it at the time. I didn’t think of this at the time that I bought it but it is in fact it’s best feature. This has ensured that it has gotten lots of use. The beautiful natural materials that the girls collect are being put to good use and incorporated in lots more of their play and learning. Here are some of the ways in which the nature caddy has been used so far…
Nature + Blocks
Sitting the caddy in the block area prompted new creativity and ideas.
I set out a round tray and The Mandala Book and some beautiful creations appeared.
Loose Parts Play
Whereas once the nature materials were being left on the tray, they are now included in all sorts of loose parts play. Here’s a lovely winter scene.
Nature + Play Dough
Even the littlest girl is having fun exploring everything.
Nature + Art
The nature caddy has made it’s way outside to the art table for use in both clay sculptures and paintings.
Maths with Nature
We’ve even been using it for some maths! Here Miss 4 is doing some simple addition and using the rocks to help her work out the answers.
Those are just some of the ways the girls have been using our new nature caddy so far, and I’m sure there’ll be many more. It was such a simple idea but it’s really made a difference to how much nature is incorporated into our days. The caddy still lives on the nature table, but now everything is much more accessible…
If your nature collection is not getting much love, try moving it into something different! Make it portable!
How do you incorporate a little bit of nature into your child’s day?