We all have that one little thing that gets us really riled up, don’t we? Maybe you clench your teeth every time someone misuses an apostrophe, maybe you want to chuck a tantrum when your spouse doesn’t hang up their wet towel… again, or maybe you just can’t stand it when someone is texting during a movie.
Whatever it is, everybody has at some time in their life found something that just sends them around the bend, and today I’m going to tell you mine!
I frequent a lot of nature, craft and early years childhood blogs, and I’m always so impressed by what I find there. We are so lucky to have such creative educators at our finger tips. But every now and again, I spot something that makes me cringe. Can you guess? I bet you can’t. You’ve probably never even thought about this thing before – when people take a lovely piece of nature and then, wait for it…they laminate it!
I’ve seen this done many times for garlands made of leaves and flowers. I love the garland concept, but I hate the fact that every little bit of nature is covered with a fine plastic film! I’ve also seen natural items laminated for children to play with, either to sit on a discovery table or to use on top of a light box. I’m all for discovery tables and light boxes, but does the nature really need to be laminated?
Why shouldn’t you laminate nature?
- Once you’ve finished with your laminated nature and you chuck it in the bin, it’s highly likely that it may never biodegrade! Leaves can biodegrade in weeks, sticks in months, paper in three to five months. See my point? It’s turning something that’s good for the environment into something that’s bad for the environment.
- If you’re using laminated nature for play it’s limiting the sensory component of the activity. Children no longer get to feel the varied textures on nature; they’ll only feel a piece of smooth plastic. Don’t they touch enough plastic already?!
- Usually when we include nature in any activity, we are encouraging children to discover, explore and connect with nature. We want children to be thinking about taking actions that are in the interests of protecting the natural world. Laminating nature sends the wrong message.
- Finally, wouldn’t you agree that nature looks prettier without being encased in plastic?
I understand, it lasts longer but there are plenty of ways to preserve nature that’s more environmentally friendly.
Instead of laminating nature, preserve it naturally
- Press them. It may be old-fashioned but pressing your flowers and leaves makes them last a lot longer and they still look lovely.
- Dry them. Hang them up in a dark, dry place and in only a matter of days they are ready to be used.
- Cover them in bees wax. Buy some bees wax, melt it under a flame and then, with a paint brush, lightly paint it on the leaves.
I use nature as it is, I rarely have to preserve it for my children to play with it or use it in crafts. Take a look at our nature crafts, there are plenty of examples of nature crafts that are not laminated.
If you want to save both the environment (and my sanity!), please reconsider laminating nature. It’s only a small change but every little bit helps!