Autumn Season Table

In addition to our, recently published, Nature Table for September, we’ve also completed our Autumn Season table.

We have added variety of little people to complete the scene.  Elves made from felt, filled with stuffing wool, then dressed.  Another gnome created simply by sewing felt onto a wooden conical doll base, and two needle-felted figures.

There is a family of teasel hedgehogs to the right of the photograph, collected during earlier nature walks.  Needle felted toadstools, Ostheimer trees, squirrel, and a tree hand sewn using felt, and a natural tree created using reindeer lichen and twigs.

Our wooden backdrop has been draped with autumnal coloured playsilks (kite then attached).

Please do feel free to link in the comments section, and share your own autumn nature, season tables and crafts.

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Privet Hawk Moth – Life Cycle

The children recently began looking at the life cycle of the Privet Hawk Moth (Sphinx Ligustri), as part of their study of moths.

First stage larvae

Final instar larvae.

The caterpillars begin to lose appetite and turn brown.  They are transferred to a pot filled with soil, in which they will pupate.

The larva burrows down into the soil

The pupae will soon be moved into a suitable box, stored in a cool place, then overwintered, ready for emergence in the summer.

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Nature Table for September

A few things the girls have collected during their nature walks and added to our nature table this month.

Autumn leaves




Pine cones

Blackberries and white blackberry flowers

Beech nuts

Teasels  – the children made teasel hedgehogs, following instructions contained in The Harvest Craft Book, Todd R. Berge.  Tutorial from The Jamboree

Sycamore seeds

Robin’s Pincushion – contains larvae of the gall wasp (Cynipidae)

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Summer Nature Table

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Beach-Themed Summer Season Table

For our summer season table this year the children decided on a beach theme.

We’ve used silk playcloths and felt to represent the sea and sand, and added a variety of shells from our collection.

The wooden characters are by Ostheimer, and the girls needle felted the little people you can see in the sailing boat.

The miniature sand castles were made from a moldable sand (a little like Moon Sand) and the flags made from scraps of fabric and whittled sticks.

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Silkworms – Life Cycle Project

The children chose to study silkworms (Bombyx mori) for this year’s life cycle project. Prior to their arrival we discussed the silkworm life cycle, using the models, pictured below, to illustrate.

We discovered how silk was made, viewing footage from a silk farm.  The children then learned about the Silk Road via the short movie, and further information, featured on Brainpop

These were some of the books we used:

Life Cycle of a Silkworm

A photo-illustrated, reference book, charting the life cycle of a silkworm.

The Empress and the Silkworm

Tale about the discovery of silk by the Empress Si Ling-Chi.  This also links to our thematic unit, Silkworms and Mealworms, which links activities and worksheets based upon the book.

Thematic Unit – Silkworms and Mealworms

Resource containing information, ideas for activities, further reading and reproducible  worksheets, covering subjects across the curriculum.

The Silkworm Mystery – The Story of Louis Pasteur

A book for younger readers relating the story of Louis Pasteur’s work with silkworms and investigation into silkworm diseases.

The Running Man

A novel for young adults by Michael Bauer, it examines the relationship between Joseph and his reclusive neighbour, Tom Leyton.  Tom is a keeper of silkworms and the silkworm metaphor features frequently and heavily throughout the book.
An accompanying worksheet may be found here


The eggs are yellow when first laid, they turn a blue/grey colour prior to hatching, at approx 14 days.




Early stage larvae




A silkworm’s preferred food is fresh mulberry leaves.  Where these are not readily available an artificial diet may be substituted.


Different stage larvae

We found that the silkworms turned opaque and a slight yellow-shade prior to spinning.  They also eliminated any undigested food (known as a gut dump).

As soon as the silkworms started to spin we transferred them to cardboard tubes.


The moths emerge approx 2-3 weeks later

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Easter and Late Spring

We’ve been rather busy lately, but we’ve taken a photograph of our Easter (and late spring) nature table, before dismantling to make way for the summer display.

And we’ve seen our Life Cycle of a Chicken project (begun last April) come full circle, with the first eggs produced by our Cream Legbars, Ophelia and Raindrop.

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