Art / Homeschooling / Learning Spaces / Maths / Sensory Play / Unschooling

Simple Play Tip: Nature Caddy

Simple Play Tip: Nature Caddy

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…

Simple Play Tip: Nature Caddy

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!

Simple Play Tip: Nature Caddy

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!

Simple Play Tip: Nature Caddy Simple Play Tip: Nature Caddy

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

Simple Play Tip: Nature Caddy

Sitting the caddy in the block area prompted new creativity and ideas.

Nature Mandalas

Simple Play Tip: Nature Caddy

I set out a round tray and The Mandala Book and some beautiful creations appeared.

Simple Play Tip: Nature Caddy

Loose Parts Play

Simple Play Tip: Nature Caddy

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.

Simple Play Tip: Nature Caddy

Simple Play Tip: Nature Caddy

Creating patterns.

Nature + Play Dough

Simple Play Tip: Nature Caddy

Simple Play Tip: Nature Caddy

Even the littlest girl is having fun exploring everything.

Nature + Art

Simple Play Tip: Nature Caddy

The nature caddy has made it’s way outside to the art table for use in both clay sculptures and paintings.

Maths with Nature

Simple Play Tip: Nature Caddy

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…

Simple Play Tip: Nature Caddy

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?

Simple Play Tip: Create a 'Nature Caddy' to incorporate a little more nature into your days!


June 9, 2015 at 10:07 pm

What a wonderful way to organize nature finds! It looks like it worked out great for you. πŸ™‚

June 9, 2015 at 10:11 pm

Really loving this Idea..Normally when nature comes in we play with it and it goes right back out. This is an idea my kiddos will love knowing that mama is not tossing it back out right away!

June 10, 2015 at 8:26 pm

The nature caddy looks so inviting and there were so many wonderful activities inspired by it.

June 10, 2015 at 10:17 pm

sometimes the small things make the difference……

June 11, 2015 at 11:19 pm


I really love this because our nature tray looks much the same – all jumbled up and stuff gets lost and messy in there. Divisions makes it so much more accessible, lovely idea!!!! Will keep an eye out for a caddy like this x

June 13, 2015 at 12:46 am

I love it all. Fantastic and Inspiring x

June 16, 2015 at 3:50 pm

Oh wow! I love this and what a great way to carry the beautiful natural items around to different locations/activities! We too have little clusters of natural beautiful mess!! hehe! Might have to adopt something similar! And those mandalas are wonderful – I think we’ll give some mandalas a try too!

Sweet Elephants
June 16, 2015 at 6:22 pm

Wow! The design in the circular tray is beautiful. Thanks for the inspiration.

September 21, 2015 at 11:21 pm

I LOVE these ideas! And your pictures are so inviting. Nature on the go with a caddy — so many ways to get creative & learn!

November 28, 2016 at 7:03 pm

Really,very good. I also know how I also arrange this type of stone,cells collected by my daughter.

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