11 Ideas for Creating a Spring Nature Table

We’re still looking at a foot of snow in Vermont, but our minds are focused on all that’s happening beneath this thick, white blanket. Our seasonal tables tend to reflect what we’re hoping for in this season of waiting more than what children might find outside. Our hopes around garden plans or new chicks to raise or even the feeling of warm grass beneath bare feet can be features of the spring display. Of course, for younger children, the Easter bunny usually hops into the picture, too.

  1. Add pretty much anything your children bring in from outside. A snowball? Sure! Just put it in a display dish for as long as it lasts; when it’s turned to water, that’s interesting too!
  2. Honor whatever finds your children show you, even if you cannot compel yourself to make it a part of your seasonal display. (Um, could you please take the frozen mouse back outside?)
  3. Force bulbs! There’s nothing like a pot of narcissus or crocuses to sing some spring into your heart.
  4. Make models or dioramas of things you and your child like to do in spring. Make a miniature kite to “fly” from a twig with some colorful transparency paper or create a babbling brook with silks, wooden figures, and dollhouse dolls.
  5. Start a few seeds. You can choose things that germinate quickly, like beans or radishes. Be aware that carrots and herbs can take a VERY long time to germinate, so you might pass on these if you’re craving a quick taste of spring.
  6. Plant a pot of wheatgrass for the Easter bunny. You can buy just a handful of wheat berries in the bulk section of the grocery store. We even planted oat groats one year in a pinch. These will turn into a pot of green pretty quickly, so if you discover you’ve planted them too early for Easter, just trim the new plants with scissors to keep the grass upright.
  7. Cut a bough of pussy willow. If you set it in water in a warm place, the branch will send out its blossoms, making little dangling catkins.
  8. Empty out some eggs to decorate using an egg blower. You can save the decorated eggs from one year to the next. Whether you choose simple dyeing or ornate Ukrainian egg dyeing, you’ll have a little treasure trove of memories.
  9. Let the seasonal table change as spring really rolls in. As the snow melts and things begin to wake up, watch for new life that you can gather without harming anyone. We are always delighted to find empty egg shells under trees and to cut a few of the daffodils that bloom in the yard.
  10. Add toys or figures that represent the season. Wooden bunnies, felted chicks or knitted lambs all look sweet on the nature table.
  11. Use a favorite book as a backdrop for your table. Gerda Mueller and Elsa Beskow books are full of illustrations that celebrate the seasons; a perusal of your child’s bookshelf is bound to turn up something pleasingly vernal.

As the season moves fully into spring and then into summer, enjoy the changes your family finds outdoors while bringing a taste of it inside as a way to honor the cycles of the seasons.

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