Little Treasures (Part 2)
Collecting gum nuts, stones and other natural items is simple, fun activity for all ages. It can turn a short walk into an exciting adventure, and bring new life to the park you’ve visited a hundred times!!
However, when it comes time to bringing these little treasures home… often one of two things will happen. They either get cast aside and quickly forgotten (what a waste!) or played with for days on end, SO well loved that they end up getting lost or broken. Many of us have to be mindful of younger siblings or pets as well, both prone to popping EVERYTHING in their mouths, especially things they shouldn't!
Following on from my last blog which focused on creative ways to use natural items for arts and crafts, here are 3 easy and effective ways to display your child’s special nature collection.
A medium size bowl, placed on the dining or coffee table, is a great way of displaying the natural bits and bobs that make their way home from kinder, the park or even your own yard. Each time your child brings a new treasure home, suggest they add it to the bowl and watch their collection grow! By keeping them in a bowl, they have a designated special spot to keep them safe, but are still easily accessible for sensory and imaginative play.
I was inspired to try this out after attending a conference recently, and it’s now one of my - and my daughter’s - favourite little activities. All you need is a small jar with a lid, to fill with whatever treasures you have collected. Leaves, flowers, seedpods and gum nuts, even humble grass or dirt. Once your jar is full, pop the lid on securely and you’re done!
These little jars look surprisingly pretty displayed on a shelf, but are also a great way for little ones to take a closer look at the patterns, colours and features of their natural treasures without crushing them. My daughter has particularly loved watching how the leaves and flowers change over time while enclosed in the jar.
This is a great way to make use of the bigger sticks that get carried home, as well as the smaller items. All you need is some string and a stick - absolutely any size will work, because you can attach as many pieces of string as you like. You may even like to use two sticks, crossing them over to create a more traditional mobile shape.
Once you’ve attached the string (wool, twine or thin rope will also work) to the stick, simply attach the treasures you’d like to display. This bit can be quite fiddly, so it’s a great fine motor activity for older pre-schoolers and primary aged children who are up for the challenge. Once you’ve attached your natural bits and pieces, your mobile is ready to hang!
Most parents are used to displaying artwork around the house. Even if your child isn’t particularly into arts and crafts, you probably have a few treasured pieces that take pride of place on the fridge or wall.
So why don’t we do the same with the carefully picked natural items that make their way home? After all, they’re often intertwined with special memories - a shell from a beach holiday, a gum nut found at grandma’s house, sticks collected with friends at Nature Playgroup.
I do hope this blog has inspired you to give some of these treasures their own special place in your home!