Would you like to build an autumn nature table for your children (or yourself)? Here are some simple instructions for pulling everything together to make a nice display. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. In fact, a lot of the items on the nature table I’m featuring here I already had in my home.
For the backdrop here I used a 21″ x 21″ yellow playsilk. You could just as easily use a piece of yellow fabric of any type. The ground layer is a dark red placemat with a leaf pattern, and the structure is made from three wooden tree blocks with a large piece of bark set on top. I use this structure for most of my nature table setups, because it gives the critters and gnomes a place to live.
The pinecones were collected in the woods behind our house, and they are very easy to find on the ground pretty much anywhere. My children helped to collect these items—things don’t have to be perfect, and the more the children can be involved, the better! Be creative and add items that you can find in nature during the autumn season wherever you live.
These little plastic squirrels belong to my daughter (who graciously let me borrow them for our nature table). You could use felted, wooden, or ceramic animals, too. It’s just nice to have the animal element included in the display. Some little felted crows would be lovely, too!
The peg doll gnomes are my favorite part of any nature table. I’ve never used a pattern but just looked at gnomes made by others (Pinterest is great for this) and experimented. You can’t really mess them up! I make their clothes out of craft store felt, which is about 33 cents per sheet, and I paint their faces and hair with craft paint. The girl gnome has braids made of embroidery floss. I also did some very basic felt applique mushrooms on their clothes to make them look special.
I thought the display needed a little something extra, so I added in a few more natural elements. We’ll be adding to this table all season as we are always collecting little odds and ends on our nature walks. Happy crafting!
The above is a basic formula for creating a seasonal display, but you may find over the years that your imagination may come up with something far more complex! Here’s of my recent autumn season tables:
Early Autumn Season Table
Late Autumn / Martinmas Season Table