Nature provides some excellent, simplistic play material for young children with big imaginations, from crinkling leaves between small fingers to painting with soft feathers and sorting pine cones in and out of a basket. Even when Arthur was tiny, we would collect things we had found whilst out on our walks for him to touch and to grasp in his little hands.
As Arthur grows, I feel it is really important for him to learn about the seasons and about the nature that surrounds us and our little home. For me, simplicity is key when it comes to imaginative play and I really value the idea that natural and simplistic toys and found objects have a great and positive effect on a child’s development and exploration of self.
After a little walk at the weekend, where we gathered a few leaves, pinecones and seed heads, I decided to set up a little woodland inspired corner in Arthurs room where we played and explored together, talking about the way they felt in our hands and burying little woodland animals under a pile of leaves, sorting them into different containers and reading stories which hopefully made a few connections for him. If nothing else it was a fun little afternoon spent together.
Here are some of the things I have included in our nature corner:
- Treasures found whilst out and about, such as leaves, pinecones and seed heads
- Baskets and containers for sorting
- Simple wooden woodland animals
- Tactile pompons in various shades of green and blue to make a garland
- Leaves threaded onto string for bunting, hung above the changing mat
- Nature inspired prints. These are from Sarah and Bendrix and are so beautifully illustrated.
- Books about nature. Our current favourites are, How to be a Wildflower by Katie Daisy, Natures Day, Slow Snail by Mary Murphy, Owls and Our Garden Birds by Matt Sewell
Nothing marks the passing of time quite like the simple act of folding away baby clothes and blankets that no longer fit or are used, a sentimental act that left me clinging on to the hope that one day we will use them again. As I was folding away some muslin cloths to add to a bundle of freshly laundered baby grows ready for the loft, I remembered a DIY project I had seen recently in the Cabbages and Roses Natural Housekeeping book to make oatmeal bath soaks which looked and sounded like the perfect mama treat.
I wanted to create a relaxing bath soak so I have included some dried lavender in mine and with a little trial and error, I found that an equal measure of oats and lavender worked well to ensure a perfect fragrance. And oh my goodness the oats really do leave the skin feeling soft!
To make your own bath soak you will need:
- old muslin cloths (thinner ones with a loose warp and weft work best)
- organic porridge oats
- dried lavender and/or a bunch of herbs
- string and scissors
To make the bath soak cut squares from your old muslin cloths approximately 20cm x 20cm and place a handful of the oats and lavender in the centre of each square, gather in the corners of the cloth and secure it tightly with a piece of string to form a bag. Drop the bag into a nice warm bath at the end of the day and relax.
I am going to try some more versions using a mix of herbs as well as the lavender, what would you mix together to create the ultimate fragrance, perhaps lavender and rosemary?
Have a lovely day