Yay! Today is Autumn Equinox. Did any of you see the Harvest Moon with her round face smiling down from the sky last night? Wasn’t she spectacular?! Did you feel her energy? Did you howl to her your love? I did.
So, in celebration of Autumn, I am delighted to welcome Maureen, the twig of Twig and Toadstool. She brings to us the first in a series of seasonal posts… here is Autumn.
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I’m pleased as punch to be doing a guest post here at the Magic Onions! The Discovering Waldorf series is one that I LOVE to read…I find it continually offers me inspiration and wisdom as a parent who is Discovering Waldorf herself and finding how it fits in my life! I want to put in a disclaimer here…I am not an expert on Waldorf philosophy…in fact, I typically call myself, “a little bit Waldorf and a little bit Rock and Roll!” However, we do incorporate much Waldorf inspired learning and celebrating into our lives as homeschoolers. One thing that we hold close to our heart is celebrating the seasons. We’re lucky enough to live in a 4 season part of the world in Canada…each season has VERY unique characteristics and change! Here is a glimpse into our Autumn celebrations and how to celebrate this season Twig and Toadstool style!
Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. ~Albert Camus
There is no other season like Autumn. As a parent I treasure Autumn as a season of change. The days are gradually getting shorter, the air is cooler, the garden is winding down, and we’re getting back into the rhythm of our daily lives. For our children, Autumn is simply magic. Where I live the trees change colour, there is food to gather, the sweaters and hats come out, homelearning begins anew, and there is the anticipation of many a celebration in the months ahead. There is something palpable in the air.
Come September I start slowly bringing Autumn in. Usually the first thing I do is change our book basket…I fill it with seasonal specific books.
For Autumn some of our favourite reads are:
Wild Child by Lynn Plourde
the Apple Cake by Nienke van Hichtum
Every Autumn Comes the Bear by Jim Arnosky
Christopher’s HarvestTime by Elsa Beskow
Autumn board book by Gerda Muller
All Year Round by Elsa Beskow
(of course when Michaelmas or Halloween comes near we add some books specific to that celebration)!
I’ve also started making a festival calender specific to Autumn…I put on birthdays, the moon cycles, and all the festivals we hope to celebrate. There are many fun celebration days in Autumn. Here are some of the possible festivals you can celebrate…pick a few or pick them all! A great resource for celebrating festivals is “Festivals, Families and Food” by Diana Carey and Judy Large. Celebrating a festival doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It can be as simple as baking something special or reading a story relevant to the day.
September 23 Fall Equinox, Harvest Festival September 29 Michaelmas (Feast of St Michael) October 4 Feast of St Francis October 11 Thanksgiving (here in Canada) October 31 Halloween November 1 All Saints Day November 2 All Souls Day November 5 Guy Fawkes Night November 11 Martinmas (Feast of Saint Martin) November 25 Thanksgiving (in the USofA) December 4 Feast of Saint Barbara December 6 Feast of Saint Nicholas December 13 Feast of Saint Lucy (aka Saint Lucia)
here is our nature table, all ready for Autumn!
Our nature table also changes with the seasons…some easy Autumn ideas are fruits, veggies and nuts specific to your area in a beatiful bowl. Leaves dipped in beeswax or parrafin, an autumn coloured cloth. It really doesn’t have to be complicated…think of the beauty and rich colour in a pumpkin, or a bowl of polished apples. You could also get fancy and make some lovely Autumn treasures for your table. We have felt pumpkins, an apple doll, knitted acorns, Autumn gnomes, gourdes and fall leaves made of felt.
Our day out at the orchard!
This is also the time of year when we get outside and start collecting. We not only collect Autumn food items such as apples, pumpkins and squash, but we also collect natural craft supplies for the year ahead. Milkweed pods, acorns, pinecones and leaves to press are brought in by the basketful and added to our craft cupboard. These supplies will make many an ornament, fairy, gnome or animal in the long winter months ahead!
Here’s a little finger rhyme to enjoy while you’re out collecting treasures Little leaves fall gently down Red and yellow, orange and brown; (Raise hands and lower them, fluttering fingers like falling leaves) Whirling, whirling round and round (Repeat above motions) Quietly without a sound; Falling softly to the ground,
(Lower bodies gradually to the floor) Down-and down-and down-and down!
I wanted to share a fun and fall inspired craft, to help get you started on your own Autumn celebrations. This was a great craft to do with a group of kids!
Cornmeal playdough ornaments!
You will need
1 cup flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2/3 cup salt 1 cup water
(beans/lentils for decorating…optional)
-combine all ingredients in a bowl, and stir until everything is combined. I found this dough worked best when refridgerated for an hour prior to use. Now roll our your dough, and with some “fall” cookie cutters cut into beautiful fall ornaments. You can press in different coloured beans and lentils, or leave it plain. Make holes at the top with a chopstick or bamboo skewer and let it air dry, (in a warm spot). Hang with twine and there’s a lovely, simple autumn decoration that everyone can do together!
Here are some of the books I use to help me plan our fall celebrations…
Autumn (nature activities for children) by Irmgard Kutsch and Brigitte Walden
The Harvest Craft Book by Thomas Berger
Celebrating the Great Mother by Cait Johnson
Circle Round by Starhawk, Diane Baker, Anne Hill
Mabon (celebrating the autumn equinox) by Kristin Madden
All Year Round by Ann Druitt, Christine Fynes-Clinton and Marije Rowling
One of my fellow homelearning friends gave me the inspiration to teach poetry to the children during the year. I think it’s so important to keep poetry alive and well, and so we incorporate seasonal specific poems to our learning rhythm. Here’s a sweet little Autumn poem to get you started:
October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came –
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.
~George Cooper, “October’s Party”
I hope this post helps get you started on some serious seasonal celebrating! If you need more inspiration or seasonal specific craft ideas please come pay us a visit at Twig and Toadstool, (or you can check out our blog roll for some other fabulous blogs brimming with ideas and inspiration!
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Thank you, Maureen, you are a darling. You have brought to us the fullness of Autumn’s beauty… her charms, her songs, her poems. Until now, I was bemoaning the end of Summer. Now, I am soooo excited to welcome Autumn. Thank you for helping me let go of the old and embrace the new.
Please, everyone, do pop in to Maureen and Shanti’s blog, Twig and Toadstool. It is a place of utter enchantment. I love it there.
Blessings and magic to you, Maureen, for sharing today. Donni
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Donni Webber is the mom behind the popular natural living Waldorf website and blog, The Magic Onions - where the magic of nature and the wonder of childhood collide to make each moment a precious gift. She is a photographer, writer, crafter, wife and mother of two inspiring young children. Her work has been featured in many popular publications, including HGTV, Better Homes and Gardens, Disney and Apartment Therapy.