A Nature Table – Bring a magical story into your daycare


How do I help my daycare children become calmer. What can I do to help them stay focused on a task? They get frustrated so easily and often seem ‘out of sorts’, how can I teach them perseverance?

Many of us spend a good part of our day involved with fast paced technology. The ‘timing’ of the world has sped up and we exist in a rushed society. Our children have been swept along into our fast paced adult world and often suffer ill effects because of it. Children’s natural inner rhythms are considerably slower than the average pace of the adult world. No wonder adults and children often find themselves frustrated at one another.

Should we speed children up to our pace? Should we slow ourselves down to their pace? Neither pace is good nor bad, they both serve the purpose of their own intentions. If we accept the natural pace of a child, for the current stage they are in, then we can work together towards harmony without feeling the need to change or fix a child.

I have had the privilege to work in a Waldorf daycare and experience the effects a nature table has in the lives of children. The impact of the nature table was so profound that I incorporated a nature table into my own daily routine when I opened my home daycare.

A nature table is a small area on a table or shelf that holds seasonal objects from nature and handmade gnomes, fairies or animals.The handmade creatures on the nature table are all made from natural materials such as wood or wool. The nature table reflects what is happening outside with the season and weather. It often has objects that represent the four elements of water, earth, air and fire.

The nature table is set up with a piece of fabric draped behind the area and another piece of fabric under the objects. Silk fabrics work well because they drape in a lovely way and create a sense of movement and softness. Dyed silks are also used to create landscape scenes for rivers or hills.

When children have a small piece of space that is dedicated to honour and celebrate mother nature they view natural objects with a reverence and joy. Children live very close to the magical world of fairies and gnomes because of their imagination. Young children can access their imaginations easily and step into a whole different world that is rich with detail.

The nature table pays respect and attention to these mythical elemental beings. The stories that are told about the animals and forest folk on the nature table contain morals and universal truths. They have a similar story structure as a fable. Children delight in learning about the elemental beings and will spend time pondering the stories they hear about them.

I invite you to visit your local Waldorf school and view the nature table in the lower grades. You will be able to feel the magic the nature table possesses. It is a small slice of wonder and awe that is difficult to describe. Every nature table is different and reflects the personality of the teacher who maintains it.

Enjoy creating your own nature table in your home daycare. What a wonderful way to bring a little bit of magic into your busy day!

Check out my video on ‘Needle felting, Waldorf philosophy and One Cute Mouse’ for your autumn nature table.


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  1. […] Here are the instructions if you are interested in making one of your own.  If you are new to needle felting you can view the basic technique through this video link. […]

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