Many studies have shown the immense benefits of having nature in your home.
+ It releases anxiety
+ It reduces stress
+ It helps you to refocus
+ It cleans the air
Incorporating live plants, cut flowers, and nature art are great ways to add a little bit of nature to your surroundings.
(See this wonderful article by Run Wild My Child on the benefits of nature and 20 ways you can incorporate more nature into your daily life.)
I also believe there is a huge benefit in having Found Nature in your home. This can be anything you find, such as pine cones, acorns, shells, rocks, vacant bird nests, and feathers. They can be displayed in various forms such as shadow boxes, printer’s trays, shelves, and hanging in a window.
Why do I think there is a benefit of including Found Nature in your home?
+ First, these items are your own special connection to the natural world. They are things you have found and picked up for one reason or another. Maybe you liked the color, the texture, the design? They are items you found important enough to take a second look at.
+ Second, it is a great reminder of nature’s beauty. When I am inside I tend to lose my focus. Surrounding myself with things I have found outside brings my focus back to the beauty that I found out there.
+ Third, they provide a constant resource of nature to study. Use them for your nature journals, practice measuring, use them as educational resources, try looking at them through a microscope. If you find a vacant bird nest in your yard, you can measure it, try to figure out what kind of bird built the nest, look and see what they used to build the nest, etc.
+ Fourth, for me these items have a huge impact on the art I create and the crafts I do with my children. We can work on sketching feathers or painting flowers we have around our home. We can craft with our pine cones and sticks (we tend to do this a lot!) We can photograph them and hang the prints on our wall. The ideas are endless!
Don’t overdo it though! We have a handful of rules we follow on our family outings:
1. Do not pull leaves off the trees, however you can pick up a leaf that has fallen to the ground.
2. Do not pick the wildflowers. Can they pick the dandelions from our yard? Yes! Can they pick the Jack-In-The-Pulpit we found just off the hiking trail? Absolutely not! A picture will have to do!
3. There is no need to fill our backpacks with nature! One rock from an outing is a perfect reminder of this day. UNLESS, you are on a guided hike where collecting nature is the focus. We went to Fairy Stone State Park in Virginia and went on a State-Park-Ranger-guided nature walk to find and identify fairy stones. We have a small jar of these in our home!
4. If there is a sign that says Do Not Take Anything, then don’t take anything! We were at Little Hunters Beach in Acadia State Park a couple of years ago. It is this amazing beach that is covered in unique rounded pebbles instead of sand. The sound of the waves going through the rocks is incredible. Would I have loved one of these unique rounded pebbles? Yes! But there was a sign there instructing people to leave the rocks on the beach so I took pictures and videos of this particular beach instead.
How about you? Do you surround yourself with special Nature Finds in your home? Do you showcase them in a special way? How do you use them in your nature studies, arts, or crafts? Let us know. We’d love to hear from you!