Daily Schedule

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Cabinet of Curiosities - Explorers of Nature

I think most children are natural collectors - I know I was. I spent many hours collecting and sorting and describing and displaying. Today, we learned that 5 children in our classroom have rock collections, and others collect other interesting things, like seed pods. Nature collections are the sweetest, I feel - little bits of our glorious world. I particularly love bird nests and skulls and bones, but shells, rocks, beautiful leaves - really, anything can and should inspire awe.

A couple years ago I came across the book, "Cabinet of Curiosities", by Gordon Grice. I purchased it on Amazon.com due to this description:

Exactly the book for every young explorer who loves finding stuff in nature and bringing it home.Cabinet of Curiosities is a lavishly illustrated introduction to the wonders of natural history and the joys of being an amateur scientist and collector.

Nature writer Gordon Grice, who started his first cabinet of curiosities at age six when he found a skunk’s skull, explains how scientists classify all living things through the Linnaeus system; how to tell real gold from fool’s gold; how to preserve butterflies, crab shells, feathers, a robin’s egg, spider specimens, and honeycombs; how to identify seashells; the difference between antlers and horns; how to read animal tracks. And then, what to do with your specimens, including how to build a cabinet of curiosities out of common household objects, like a desk organizer or a box for fishing tackle.

I recommend the book for any child (or adult) who loves to collect, as we do.  I've given it as gifts to several young naturalists, and I also selected it for the book bundle auctioned off at last year's Eudaimonia.

Our young explorers have already been hard at work. Our cabinet now has a sizable collection of things found right in our own playground. You should stop in soon and take a look! I'm sure your child will make a knowledgeable docent.

Here is a picture of our cabinet before most of the treasures were added. I purchase these old apothecary cabinets on eBay or Etsy. I love these as displays - their age makes them particularly suited to a beautiful and rustic collection. I hope to purchase a bunch of Altoid tins at the Scrapbox soon, and the students will do their own teeny tiny natural collections.

Here are two items found yesterday. The black walnut seed BARELY fits into one of the sections, and the nest doesn't fit at all. It now resides with some of my other nests on the window shelf. We loved the fact that this scrappy bird used a bit of plastic twine to incorporate into her nest!

Please visit our Cabinet of Curiosities soon!

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