Building a Nature Wall

Courtesy of Condie Ward

Materials

·        10 bamboo poles or garden stakes (approximately 1 to 2 inches in diameter and 6 to 8 feet tall)

·        Wood saw

·        Strong, natural-colored twine

·        U brackets (3 inches wide)

·        Collected nature items

·        Raffia/string

Note: Bamboo poles and garden stakes come in different lengths and bundles. Select the size and number that works best for your classroom. Garden stakes may have pointed ends. If so, saw these off and sand the bottoms.

Steps

1.    Pick a wall for the grid.

2.    Assemble the grid on the floor. First lay down the horizontal pieces. Then place the vertical ones on top. Space the pieces approximately 1½ feet apart.

3.    Wrap each intersection together by making an X pattern with the twine. Wrap each intersection approximately 10 times. Knot the ends of the twine as far to the back of the grid as possible.

4.    With another adult, place the grid against the wall. Attach the grid to the wall with three or more U brackets spaced out evenly.

5.    Place, wedge, or tie found items from nature onto the grid. The nature wall is a growing exhibit that can be added to seasonally and can result in a personal history of the children, teachers, and families.

Nature items for the nature wall

Woodland
Moss, pinecones, curly twigs or vines, different tree barks, birds’ nests, eggs, branches with lichens, snakeskin, abandoned bees’ nests

Garden
Dried sunflower heads, seed pods

Beach
Beach grass, shells, rocks, whelk egg cases, seaweed, horseshoe crabs, seagull feathers

Purchased
Indian corn; gourds; dried plants, flowers, or leaves; coconuts; rocks or gems; large seed pods; pretend birds’ eggs


Condie Ward has taught preschool for more than 25 years in Westport, Connecticut. She currently teaches 4-year-olds at the Westport Weston Cooperative Nursery School and provides enrichment classes at the Children’s Community Development Center.