March Nature Table and Kinder-themes

It’s March and that means…Spring! Some days can still be quite cold, but some days are downright gorgeous!!! And the days are stretching and getting longer which means more sunshine, and sunshine is never a bad thing! Our nature table reflects the seasonal excitement of nesting birds! This is a favorite time of year for us! Most of the birds came from our Christmas ornament collection! How cool is that? We were walking through one of our favorite stores (it’s a naturalist’s dream store – if you’re local, I’m talking about Across the Pond!) and there were so many adorable ceramic birds – cardinals, bluebirds, orioles – and I longed for each and every one of them. Still do. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But, I all of a sudden realized that I already had a set of birds!!!!! Up in my attic!!!!! Wrapped up in the Christmas ornaments!!!! How I love it when I think out of the box! So, I scrambled up to the attic and pried them out of storage and here they are on our nature table. Aren’t they just perfect?

Well, almost all of them came from the Christmas ornaments…the adorable owl fella over there was found at the thrift store. He was just so cute and I knew he’d be right at home on the nature table. We’re working on identifying some of our favorite birds by their call, so I set out Bird Calls and our absolute favorite – the Bird Identiflyer!

On the left of our nature display, we always open The Country Diary of An Edwardian Lady up to an inspiring page. Aren’t these images of bird’s eggs just beautiful?

Down below we have set out more of our birds and forest friends…the bluebird, the tufted titmouse, the red squirrel, another owl. Some of our favorite bird and nesting books are set out. One of our favorites is Birds, Nests, and Eggs. It is so lovely and illustrated with great detail throughout. It is a tremendous wealth of information on birds and their nesting habits. The other books we have set out and enjoy very much are: How Do Birds Find Their Way, Bluebird’s Nest, and just barely seen on the far right is About Birds, A Guide for Children, another beautifully illustrated book with simple explanations. This book is a favorite of Peanut’s because of the captivating illustrations and the short descriptions.

On the shelf below the display, I have set out a few of our favorite reference type books for the older children. The Sibley Guide to Birds is one of our favorite field guides because we love all of the illustrations (there are illustrations of juvenile’s plumage, breeding and non-breeding colors, adult colors, female and male colors – all are distinguished! That is a treasure of information!) Another great field guide is the Eyewitness Handbook of Birds of the World (which is now, sadly, out of print – you can sometimes find a used copy on ebay or alibris though). Feathers, plain and fancy by Hilda Simon is a great little book I picked up at a library throw-away sale for a quarter. The illustrations in this book are stunning and in color! What a find! (This book is out of print as well, but I found numerous copies for an affordable price just by google-ing.) My most favorite book here is yet another out of print treasure. This book came from my mom’s library of treasures and was passed on to us, and no doubt she found it cast aside in a used book store many years ago. The Ways of Nesting Birds by Raymond P. Holden and beautifully illustrated in black and white but in very fine detail by Grace DeWitt is so worth the find! Many of the most common birds receives a short description of their nesting habits and each bird has a detailed sketch accompanying the description! Sweet Pea and Sparkly enjoy looking through these books both as reference and sometimes just to sit with them and read for an afternoon. I’ve noticed that Peanut, too, is attracted especially to the fine illustrations in these books. They are a joy to set out. The picture books up top are always popular reads here!

This nature table display looked completely different a couple of hours before this shot was taken. I set it up very carefully and with joyful attention to every detail I could think of, and then….

….this. This happens every time I set up our nature table, and I secretly live for the moment when it happens. Sparkly is right behind me. He rearranges some birds to sit *on* their nests. He wonders if I have any more little nests because some of the birds don’t have a nest to sit on. He deftly arranges the red squirrel to appear to be chasing the acorns in a tiny basket. He ensures that each bird is sitting on the appropriate number of eggs. ๐Ÿ™‚ This is what makes me happy about the seasonal displays…that they draw him in, that they invite him to interact with his environment, that they are attractive and that he sees ways to make them more so. I know he looks at them often because last month, every time I found the squirrel arranged “just so”, I would move him – just somewhere random on the table to see what would happen. I’d pass by the table an hour or so later, and Mr. Squirrel would be rearranged to reflect his great love for the acorns also tidily arranged on the nature table. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s another view of the nature table, and I believe that I left out that last little gem of a book there on the far right in my earlier description of our display. Birds, A Child’s First Book About Our Most Familiar Birds by Jane Werner Watson is another absolute treasure of a book! I’m sorry I’m revealing all of these treasures that are out of print, but this one too is quite easy to find and so worth the having! Again, darling illustrations, but in this little Golden Book, you’ll find delightful, joy-filled children observing birds in every illustration. The children are captivating and Peanut loves imagining himself in every scene. The detailed images of the birds nesting and flying are stunning and rich! It is THE perfect spring book – every page is spilling over with spring images and it is just the book to read now when the weather is hinting in large and small ways every day that spring is around the corner!

Here is Peanut’s little collection of SPRING Kinder-themes I’ve set out for him. He loves it when I set out new books on his table! Some of these are classics and come out every year, and some of the books are “just found” treasures! Library book sales are a wonderful thing! Surely, you recognize, Home for a Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown? And, The Springs of Joy by Tasha Tudor? I’ll list some of the other classics we are reading together for you in case you’re interested: Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey, It’s Spring by Linda Glaser, My Spring Robin by Anne Rockwell, Spring Story by Jill Barklem (all of the Brambly Hedge books are so adorable!). There are a few other books tucked away in his reading basket – The Bunny Book by Richard Scarry, On the Forest Edge by Carol Lerner (oop), Around the Year by Tasha Tudor, and Around the Year by Elsa Beskow. I also tuck some beautiful religious books in the basket and right now Peanut and I are reading his favorite Treasure Box books as well as Their Hearts are His Garden by Sister Mary Marguerite.

I think you can probably find most of these books fairly easily still, but Pussy Willow by Margaret Wise Brown, is one of our most favorite spring books of all time, and I’m sorry to say it’s out of print now. (Edited to say that apparently I’m not the only person in love with this picture book! ๐Ÿ™‚ )This delight has ended up in my library and we’ve had it for several years. If you don’t have it, you simply must move it to the top of your “find this treasure” list! As are all of these older Golden Book treasures, this one is richly illustrated and the story is absolutely adorable! Pussy Willow (the soft, gray kitty) is in search of his pussywillow! The story follows him through the seasons of the year and weaves in beautiful images of nature throughout! We just love this little book! And, how perfect is this…

…we are so fortunate to have 2 very large pussy willows sitting right outside our back door. They really are quite large and right now they are bursting with soft, whitish-gray, fuzzy little puffs! This weekend will be perfect to snip a few of the branches and bring them inside to the nature table to watch them burst open. Peanut is just captured by the soft little fuzzy buds just opening up!

March is spilling over with signs of spring!

I hope your March is filled with possibility and delight at God’s Creation awakening from a winter’s slumber! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  1. Excellent post! This is our kind of spring fun, we even have many of the same cherished books over here. I can sense the inspiration it provides for your children and the delight they must all feel in visiting the nature area. Way to go mommy! Also, happy belated birthday to your “doodlebug”… (grin) God Bless!

  2. Thank you for the recommendations!I went ahead and bought “Birds, A Child’s First Book About Our Most Familiar Birds” and “Pussy Willow” right away. I’m saving a link to this post for a future spending spree or list to take to the library.REALLY appreciate it.

  3. Great post, Jennifer! Getting ready to finish up The Iditarod, and we’re heading for Bird-land next! Looking forward to seeing some of these books, which are new to me! Thanks!

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