I’ve been putting together a series of activities for my daughters based on the changing seasons and I thought I’d share my inspirations and sources in case anyone else is looking for ideas.
Activities, Crafts and Games to Encourage Children to Get Outdoors
Another beautiful book from Jo Schofield and Fiona Danks, Nature’s playground is packed to the brim with games, crafts and adventures for all seasons. Ideas for autumn include Natural painting, autumn collections, forest mobiles, elf houses, woodland monsters and colourful crowns. Another section is entitled Fun After Dark with ideas for a Halloween feast, games to play in the dark and how to watch moths. I’m gleaning ideas for making family walks even more fun and exciting this autumn and winter and also planning some leafy crafts using material from this book.
A Guide to Multi-Cultural Celebration
I love the combination lot recipes, songs and stories in this book. This year we’ll be making Pumpkin Pie to celebrate Thanksgiving and making a tree from which we’ll hang cut out leaves, detailing everything that we are thankful for in our lives. We’ll read about Divali and cook an Indian meal together to celebrate. We’ll probably end up henna-ing each other’s hands and listening to some sitar music and perhaps putting on a play with puppets of the story of Rama and Sita. In years gone by we have made lamps and decorated rangoli patterns too. This book contains an incredible smorgasbord of ideas for festivals from many different cultures. It’s quite brilliant!
CELEBRATING THE SEASONS OF LIFE
Samhain to Ostara: Lore, Rituals, Activities and Symbols
I love this book; it goes into quite a lot of depth about each celebration and Samhain is no different. Expect to learn about all sorts from singing for the ancestors to how to make gingerbread, building a community altar to the importance of pumpkins at this time of year. Ashleen O’Gaea is the author of several books and she and her husband run their own coven. I love the idea of a reverse spiral dance to mark Samhain so will be borrowing ideas from this book for our family celebrations.
THE FAIRY PARTY BOOK
Bringing Magic into Every Celebration Throughout the Year
In this cheerful and fun book, Marina Stern shares her ideas for celebrating every month of the year. Each entry includes some background history and often a recipe or party idea. For Halloween she shares a spiced hot apple juice drink. I’ve used this book for gaining insight into Samhain and why it is celebrated.
SEVEN TIMES THE SUN
Guiding your family through the rhythms of the day
Although this book is not specifically about seasonal celebrations, I find myself turning to it again and agin when looking for a meaningful and joyful way to celebrate family life. The book, one of a selection by Shea Darian shares simple rituals, songs and ideas to bring calm, peace or a sense of excitement to different times of the day. Currently I am using the section on celebrating quiet; it focuses on listening and encourages the use of a ‘pause’ during each day when everyone enjoys a time of silent relaxation. Shea suggests activities that might help our children to slow down and take a pause, “Individual quiet time might be inspired by repetitive crafts or simple tasks that help clear a buzzing mind. Finger knitting, weaving a basket or beading a necklace can bathe one in silent relaxation.” I love the gentle inspiration that I receive from reading her words.
CELEBRATING THE GREAT MOTHER
A Handbook of Earth Honouring Activities for Parents and Children
This is a wonderful book packed full of ideas for marking the turning wheel of the year. Each of the projects aims to encourage a deeper understanding of earth based spirituality and it has certainly opened up some interesting insights for our family. I love the Samhain activity on discovering your power animal which takes parents and children on a magical journey to meet their special animal. Other projects involve making costumes, creating bean runes to use for divination and how best to decorate an altar for this time of year. Think pumpkins, scattered colourful leaves, candles, nuts, bones and offerings to the ancestors. Written by Cair Johnson and Maura Shaw, this handbook contains a wealth of ideas for family celebrations.
The beautiful image that I have chosen to illustrate this post is from an autumn trees tutorial to make decorations for your autumn nature table from Patch O’Dirt Farm. Find out how to make some gorgeous, colourful, gossamer leaves for your home and read more about the family behind the project here.
We are off to the unschooling conference this weekend in London. Really looking forward to all the talks, workshops and activities on offer. As well as the chance to meet other home educators and get inspired. It takes place on Saturday 25th July at The Music Room, just off Oxford Street.
There’ll be lectures from Dayna Martin, radical unschooler, author of Radical Unschooling: A Revolution has Begun, la leche league leader, natural birth educator … (I can’t wait to meet this incredible woman!), Matthew Speno, educational consultant and unschooling dad, Wendy Lewis, home educated illustrator of the brilliant practical guides to HE – Unqualified Education and One to One and many other speakers.
The crystal reiki workshop for adults and children will really appeal to my eldest daughter, whilst yoga for families is where my youngest will make a beeline for. All of us are looking forward to creating art with Emma Neuberg. If you would like to attend, I believe that there are still tickets available. Visit The London Unschooling Conference for more information.
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