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.
Do you have a favourite green place to stay? I am working with the Best Kept Secret Awards this year to help them find the hotel with the Best Eco Credentials. You can share your best eco place to stay up until 27th August.
LateRooms.com has just launched its annual search for the UK hotel industry’s hidden gems with its 2012 Best Kept Secret Awards. The hotel booking specialist is once again calling for nominations of hotels, B&Bs and all types of accomodation following the thousands of entries that last year’s awards received. Guests have until August 27th to nominate their favourite hotels for one of the coveted awards.
Ten categories will recognise an array of accomodation, and unique categories will give properties with their own special qualities the chance to shine, honouring those with the Best Eco Credentials, Best Service, Best Spa and Best Gardens. Nominations for properties can be made via the LateRooms.com website and the dedicated 2012 Best Kept Secret Awards page. A shortlist of finalists will then be drawn up, with the judging panel selecting the eventual winners.
Super excited to be heading off to Buddhafield this weekend. This year’s theme is Doorway to Freedom and if the programme is anything to go by, we’re going to be hard pressed to find enough hours in the day to try out all the wonderful things that we’d like to experience.
Last year we had the most amazing heart opening time at Buddhafield. Our eldest daughter explained that it was her favourite festival because everyone was genuinely happy. The no drugs, no alcohol policy at the festival means that everyone is more likely to be expressing their true self. This makes for a very special experience. We enjoyed all sorts of workshops, dancing, therapies, yoga sessions, singing and impromptu events. It was quite magical.
This year we are hoping for more of the same. The Dharma Parlour looks especially interesting with an abundant programme of talks and events, including hot debate topics such as “a serious Buddhist is a vegan Buddhist”. I can’t wait to check out some of the yoga classes on offer, including Yoga Twister – yes!!. Avalon Roots and Carrie Tree are providing some of the lush sounds on offer throughout the weekend and oh the workshops…. Well, Jewels Wingfield is offering a magical mix of the divine and the earthly so I hope to catch plenty of that! Plus there’s Goddess Dance and Tribal Bellydancing, Biodanza and Soulful Singing with Mahasukha, Family Constellations and NVC Parenting. The kids area looks special with meditation games, stories and a space for older kids to try out DJing, circus skills and acrobatics. Plus of course there’s a permaculture area with Natural Bee keeping talks, forest gardening and Patrick Whitefield teaching Reading the Landscape skills. Plus there’s Green Crafts, Women’s Space and heaps, heaps more.
The green credentials of the festival are particularly strong with site-wide compost loos, very active recycling team and plenty of yummy locally sourced organic veggie food.
There are still tickets available and it’ll probably be the most valuable £110 you’ve ever spent.
Hope to see you there xx
We are just in the process of putting issue 47 to bed. It’s been an easier lifeline this issue as we’ve been able to work with the energies of the New Moon. This always makes the whole process smoother and less stressful. If only it was possible to schedule the lifeline for every magazine with the New Moon. Actually looking at our schedule for the new two editions, we will be aligned with the dark moon so each magazine should be a breeze!
We’ve chosen a Go Wild theme for our next edition and there’s so much inside to inspire. Articles on wild swimming, camping with teens and foraging for food sit alongside pieces on biodynamic beauty and how to create a baby naming ceremony. Plus one of our readers went meat-free for a month with her family and shares her diaries of the experience. We have lots of simple tasty family meal ideas and a gorgeous craft project too.
As well as heaps of great articles in the mag we’ve put together a packed guide to the summer with our Free Festival Guide. This free pull out guide has loads of green events taking place this year and a chance to win tickets to plenty of them. Jez has put together a new design for the guide this year and it’s really fun and exciting.
We received a review copy of Natalie Fee’s new book; The Everyday Alchemist’ Happiness Handbook and are super proud that this brilliant author writes for The Green Parent magazine. Her book is vibrant and life-enhancing and packed with tools and techniques for readers to bring greater joy into their lives. This would make a great pick me up pressie for when the weather is soggy and grey.
Apart from the good soaking that the garden is receiving, another plus point is that working at a computer is easier when the weather is like this – the rain is pouring down in torrents outside the window and I don’t feel as though I’m missing out so much. So, better plough on…
There’s a real buzz around our 2012 beauty awards this week. We are currently gathering thousands of products, which will be sent out to a team of natural beauty testers in the first week of April. To find out how you can get involved read on…
Each item has to meet strict criteria regarding ingredients, manufacturing, packaging etc. In 2011, the Green Parent Natural Beauty Awards were highly respected in the industry because we had strict guidelines and only the cleanest, greenest products received awards. Another plus point cited by industry insiders was the fact that our testing process allowed the small scale cottage industries to do as well as the larger brands.
ENTER YOUR PRODUCTS
If you sell beauty products and would like to enter them into our 2012 awards, you still have time. The lifeline for this is 26th March. If you have not received forms for entry please email [email protected] and I’ll get more info sent out to you.
JOIN OUR TESTING PANEL
If you are a natural beauty guru and would like to be considered for our panel of testers, you can read more about that here.
We’ve had an amazing response to our survey, which is now available on our Facebook page – check it out. Tell us what you think of The Green Parent and you could win a whole array of goodies. We are getting lots of requests for more content relevant to those with older children. So we are currently working on a way to make coverage of older children and teens a more regular and more visible part of the magazine. Many of the articles in the magazine deal with all stages of family life; communication, natural home, wellbeing, learning etc. But we do have a special section for Green Babies every issue, which we feel is really important for our new parent readers. Perhaps we need a special section each issue for older children too. Any suggestions welcome!
This week has seen us making a proper start in the garden. I’m planting by the moon so I have sowed leaf (spinach, oriental greens, lettuce) and fruit (sweetcorn, beans and peas) seeds into pots and insulated with a bit of bubble wrap and created some plastic bag mini greenhouses so the soil stays warm enough for them to germinate. Leaves should be sown when the moon is in a water sign (Scorpio this week), and fruit when the moon is in a fire sign of the zodiac (Sagittarius). There is conflicting advice as to whether seeds should be sown in the next couple of weeks as the moon is ascending through the zodiac signs. Some sources say this is the best time for germination, others recommend not sowing at this time as all the energy is concentrated upwards and you end up with tall, spindly plants. Am undecided which source I trust most at the moment. I think if I am tempted to get some flowers in tomorrow (the moon is in Aquarius, an Air sign until Tuesday morn) I just will. I have some exciting flower seeds saved from last year – cornflowers, aquilegia, calendula, nasturtiums and more.
We are also building a herb spiral using some discarded stone from a house re-fit up the road. Perfect timing! It’s in its primitive stages but should be up and running in the next week or so which is exciting.
Happy Mother’s day – hope you’ve enjoyed a day full of love and laughter xx
Welcome to the new blog from the Green Parent office. Here we'll talk about what's going on in the small and quite leafy headquarters of the UK's leading green lifestyle magazine. We'll share news that interests us and talk about green issues and natural parenting. We'll share advice and information from our own experiences of living a green lifestyle. And we'll even tell you what we are reading, eating, drinking and thinking. Hope you get plenty of food for thought here.