Monday, 13 July 2015

{Montessori on a shoestring} Nature table

This is a repost from one of my old blogs.

Mrs. Montessori believed that children are stewards of the Earth and by incorporating nature-related activities, they will learn to care for nature and develop a love for it. And that is why I designated a place for Umar to explore nature indoors. 
After much moving furniture around, I found a spot for a nature table. As it is quite a narrow nook, I decided to use a bench instead of an actual table. It would have to be high enough to fit a child’s chair and deep enough for things like a flower press, some jars and vases and a scrapbook. So off I went browsing IKEA’s online catalogue and I found the bench I wanted to use. But it wasn’t in stock! Alas, I MUST find an alternative because Nijaz (he has a love-hate relationship with IKEA) somehow magically agreed to go to IKEA with me that weekend! I decided on a LACK TV bench. I was hoping to get something made from solid wood but the TV bench was cheaper than the bench I wanted and it was the perfect size.
After the exhilarating trip to my most favourite shop (in case you lost me, it’s IKEA), I put the bench together but omitted the shelf on the bottom. I also bought 3 of the NJYTTA frames in green. I have had the prints, also from IKEA, for a while now, bought for $1 at clearance.

The table now sits against the wall. The framed prints of various plants are in theme and were put up with 3M hooks (great for preserving the wall). He has a little vase with an artificial gerbera in it and some jars with random things in them, which I repurposed from his treasure basket. He also has a bucket for picking flowers and herbs. Umar has since put a rock or two in the bucket, pine cones, flowers from his mini gardenand parsley from our little vegetable patch (post coming up).

There are also a flower press and a greenhouse (not shown (it’s placed near the window for some sun); it’s a kit from Woolworths in collaboration with Jamie Oliver) growing garden cress, coriander, chives and basil. Another thing he has handy is a magnifying glass, which at the moment Umar uses to ‘make your eyes look BIIIG!’. The little crate contains some wooden and cloth fruits and vegetables (some are available from our online shop Fancy Grey Cat).

On the left is a basket with Umar’s activity mats. One is a long playmat which his grandmother got him.  One is a white bathmat and the little one is a placemat, both from IKEA. On the right is a little basket with some picture books on animals and plants. I plan to get more books on nature and a wooden tea box to store and display his finds.

I hope you enjoyed the little walkthrough. Thank you for stopping by and happy DIY-ing!

If you ever buy the NJYTTA frames, you’d notice that the plastic glazing seems a little dull. Just peel off the protective layer of plastic on both sides before framing and your picture will look super bright and shiny!

List of products:


First animals by Hinkler books
I see by Helen Oxenbury
Pelle’s new suit by Elsa Beskow (this book is great not just for its beautiful nature illustrations, but for practical life skills as well)

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Edit: We have since rearranged this space in our house but we loved it while it was there (14/08/15)


  1. This is really lovely. I also have an ikea table that I use for tot school with my toddler. It's one of those plain white ones that cost about five euro, and it's absolutely the perfect height for my son :) Pinned this!

    1. Thank you Yuliya! Is that the LACK side table? My son uses that for dining when he doesn't want to sit on his junior chair :)

  2. What a beautiful space, I can imagine lots of lovely nature play happening here :)

    1. Thank you Sarzy, he does love to sit there to just read his books sometimes :)

  3. It will b great if u attach photos of the jars on the bench..

    1. Lot, the jars were just filled with different seeds. But point noted, will take close-ups too next time!

  4. I really adore this set up! Very clean, peaceful and inviting to a child. Thank you for sharing! The best part is I can see how the space can be altered for learning different subjects as well, as many of the items are interchangeable! The photos! The flower vase! All of it have inspired many ideas.