I try to encourage my children to bring a little of the outdoors in...colorful leaves, acorns, rocks with interesting shapes, and so on. Because while the outside is getting ready for winter so are we, nesting in the home and thinking of the season ahead, and we could use the reminder of the beauty of this season.
Benjamin, my four (almost five!) year old put together the decoration for our Autumn Table, using bits and bobs from the outside and leftovers from last Autumn's nature table. In the glass container and Mason jar, he put pine cones from the park, buckeyes from the community garden, and acorns from a neighbors tree. Around that, he put small squash from a local pumpkin patch, and a pie pumpkin from a friends garden. Moving outward, there are small wooden candle holders that we thrifted a couple of years ago, with beeswax candles that the kids rolled themselves. And of course, my favorite salt and pepper shakers in the shape of snails that came from a garage sale two summers ago.
I expect this display to change as the season progresses. The pumpkin will soon be used for something delicious, the decorative squash will eventually make their way to compost, and new outside treasures will be brought in as they are found. And throughout, we'll sit down at our family table and be reminded to notice the changes of the world outside.