Floss our daughter had just turned three back when I first wrote this post. I’ve kept lots of ideas in this blog post from then, but I add in new content periodically. The last update is Autumn 2023.
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Introducing Seasonal Change to Children
How do you introduce the idea of a change in season to children? How do they know that Summer is fading and Autumn is rolling in?
We Show Seasonal Changes through Our Daily Rhythm
For us it’s a gradual, natural transition shown through the subtle changes to our daily rhythm. Through the clothes we wear as we observe the changes in our outdoor environment and get outdoors. By the memories we make as we craft, cook and bake with the harvest of what nature has to offer.
Through the seasonal stories, books and poetry we share together. Collecting treasures from the natural world for our nature table that stimulate and evoke play. Sharing magical experiences of seasonal celebrations that return year after year.
It’s this gentle repetition as we flow through the year, marked by special festivals and our daily connection with nature that help our daughter to intrinsically know that there is a rhythm to our world, an ebb and a flow.
Also known as a seasonal table/ display it is an area in your home that brings a sense of the outdoors, in. It showcases the time of year. It reflects the natural world, indoors. I like to include books, pictures and props that Floss may like to use in play.
These are often seasonal wooden animals, people and fairies that reflect the colouring of the season or plants that you would see at this time of year.
Produce that you would find at this time of year. Think of it like a fruit bowl, it still gets eaten! An area that has the date that is changed daily together. Things that we have crafted and created together such as the lantern in the image above and of course our nature treasures that we find as we discover the outdoors.
Autumn Story Telling
We are a family of bookworms. Floss adores stories, non-fiction texts, oral story telling and poetry. One of my favourite Autumnal stories is of how the apple got its beautiful star. It’s a wonderful story that I’d recommend learning off by heart so that you can orally tell the story. Here’s the short synopsis, I’ve put the longer version in italics below.
The Apple Story Synopsis
The story tells of a little apple sapling that wants to touch the stars and can’t reach. A star fairy sees the sapling and asks why he’s so sad. The fairy promises to return with a star for the tree, but explains it might take a little time as they are far away. The apple tree continues to grow and when the fairy returns the tree is full of apples and there are no room for the stars. The fairy says she will put a star in each apple.
Over the last couple of years of telling my daughter the traditional Waldorf story of how the little apple got its beautiful star it’s evolved each time. That’s what I love about oral story telling, they are never told the same way twice, each having its own uniqueness. We originally found the story here – Apple Story. This version below is what my daughter and I shared together last.
Our Apple Story
Once upon a time, in our beautiful land there was a tiny little apple sapling. A very kind apple fairy looked after the apple sapling making sure it had all the nourishment it needed. The little sapling, with the help of the fairy, grew and grew. Each night, as a dark blanket enclosed the world, the little sapling and apple fairy looked up at the twinkling stars and wished so much to be able to reach out and touch them. The little sapling grew and grew into a wonderful, gentle tree. Yet, the apple tree and her fairy had a sadness that would not go away, they longed to be able to touch the wonderful stars that brighten their world on the dark nights.
The star fairy felt their sadness and came down to visit the apple tree in Winter. She asked the apple tree and apple fairy why they were so sad. They said that no matter how much they grew they just could not make their one wish come to true, to be able to touch the stars. The little star fairy smiled and gently said to them both that she would return with stars for them. However, she explained that the stars were a long way away and that they needed to be patient as it would take a little time.
… approached the apple fairy helped the apple tree fill her branches with beautiful shades of pink blossom dappled between lush green leaves. In Summer the pink blossom turned to delicate white flowers that reminded them both of the stars they longed to touch. As Autumn came they almost forgot about the promise of the star fairy as their branches filled with the juiciest apples.
One cool, bright Autumn night the star fairy came with a basket bursting full of stars. In the starlight night the apple tree and apple fairy were so apologetic and explained there was no space for the stars as they had so many wonderful apples. The little star fairy said not to worry, she had a magical plan. She touched each apple on the beautiful tree with her little wand. With each careful tap, she placed a star inside the apple. She explained that any time a child cuts open and apple they would find a star to brighten their day. The apple tree and apple fairy were so grateful and thanked the star fairy who flew back off to the stars.
At the end of the story you take an apple and cut it horizontally around the middle to reveal the star. It’s total magic. Then we eat the apple, or two or three! You can also use the apple star as a paint printer for crafty projects. Often they get made into apple and cinnamon muffins in our house too.
The Apple Cake
Another wonderful apple story is The Apple Cake by Nienke van Hichtum and Marjan van Zeyl, published by the dreamy Floris. It’s such a feel good story of sharing and caring and how kindness finds its way full circle.
The rich images are just divine and I love the sentiments shared by the old lady as she trades with the strangers she meets.
This would be the perfect book to use as a starting point for getting creative with crayons, paints or pastels. You could also use the book with older children to explore thoughts around when they think the book may have been written from the words used and the images.
Part of the book sees a ‘poor woman’ with a young child and baby – this may be an opportunity to talk about those less fortunate than us and issues around homelessness and charities such as food banks. (Images from Floris)
“Better one person happy than two disappointed.”
A new book that we’re enjoying released in time for Autumn 2023 is Lottie, St Michael and the Lonely Dragon. It’s another one published by Floris Books. If you’re looking for seasonal books they’re a great publisher to explore.
Lottie, St Michael and the Lonely Dragon
Lottie, St Michael and the Lonely Dragon is based on a story by Beatrys Lockie, illustrated by Sandra Klaassen, and developed by Monique van der Zanden.
It’s a heartwarming and enchanting children’s book that takes young readers on a magical journey filled with friendship, courage, and kindness. Again published by Floris Books, this collaborative masterpiece weaves together an engaging narrative with captivating illustrations, creating an unforgettable reading experience.
The story revolves around Lottie, a young and curious girl, who stumbles upon an unexpected dragon whom she tries to befriend. The dragon is too angry yet Lottie can see beneath the fire and brimstone and tries hard to persuade St Michael and the towns people to have empathy and acceptance, and see the beauty of connections that transcend differences.
Sandra Klaassen’s illustrations are a feast for the eyes. She uses ink, watercolour paints and watercolour pencils. Each page is a work of art, with a whimsical and dreamlike quality that perfectly complements the story. I love the expressions on the faces and especially on dragon! The pacing is well-structured, and the layout incorporates text and illustrations in a harmonious manner.
Lottie, St Michael and the Lonely Dragon is not only an engaging story but also a valuable lesson for young readers. It encourages empathy, understanding, and the importance of looking beyond appearances.
Lottie, St Michael and the Lonely Dragon would be an ideal book to share during the feast of Michaelmas on the 29th September.
At the back of the book there’s a recipe for Apple Star Pancakes that we’ll be making soon. You can find the recipe in a Floris blog post here.
This last few weeks I’ve been very unwell, but really wanted to mark the equinox yesterday (22nd September 2020) as we have done each year with the apple story; a special family tradition for us. It’s such a magical story and one that Floss adores. Floss loves to have props to go with stories and here are some of the ones we used above.
As I’m updating this post I’m excited to prepare a little equinox celebration for this year (2023). It’s the 23rd September this year and a Saturday.
In 2019 Floss wanted to re-enact the story over and over together. Listening to her use such lovely words when she talks for each of her fairies just melts my heart. It reminds me that the language we use around our children is so important as our words are what they hear, what they feel and ultimately what they use.
We also made a re-loved candle to mark the Autumn Equinox with the day that the nights will start to become longer and we will need a little extra light in our lives from candles. I’ve added what we did in the Autumn Crafts section below. There are no specific materials other than the candles – we just had a little look for what we had already around the house.
Here are a few ideas for activities you could do following on from the story.
- Nature journaling together. Floss decided she wanted to do the inside of the apple to show the star. We journal together at least once a week, usually after we’ve visited a local nature reserve. We each have our own journals and it’s a lovely time together either drawing and painting our finds. You can see more about journaling with children in my post here.
- Letters and numbers are of real interest to Floss right now too. I try to find resources that will link to the season and other activities and stories we are looking at. So for this activity we counted apples and stars. we also found the letter that the word apple and star starts with. Having a range of fonts and sizes of letters I find really helpful with a mixture of printed and handwritten. For older children you could find activities related to stars and apples at their level.
More Autumn Activities
- Dipping into a little science with the correct naming of parts of the apple was another activity we did. We used Montessori style three part cards for this. Children can learn and remember all the names of dinosaurs better that we can, so I’m never afraid to use technical language with Floss.
- The Wildlife Trust have some wonderful Autumn activities and nature detective sheets to use this Autumn that you can find here. Really worth signing up to their newsletter if you are a nature loving family.
- If you can, try and visit an orchard at harvest time. One of our local farms has an orchard and on harvest day you can go and help and experience pressing your own apples.
- The Warwickshire Families publication is packed full of ideas for home learning support, but also towards the back has a plethora of Autumn activities and ideas to keep you going over the Autumn months.
- Looking for some beautiful Autumn verses to sing together this Autumn. I love this selection from Eloise. Do sign up to her newsletter – it’s one that I thoroughly look forward to appearing in my inbox. Another newsletter I love receiving is from Sarah Starrs, again packed full of seasonal inspiration and she sends you lovely, seasonal poems to print out. The gorgeously illustrated verse below is by Gillian Gamble and she has given kind permission to share it on the blog here. If you do use her stunning work go and check out her Etsy store and give it some love – it’s a lovely way to say thank you.
Autumn always makes me think about bringing in the light into our home and snuggling up in warm blankets and cosy socks together crafting and reading. All while outside the crisp autumnal leaves fall as the chill in the air tells the animals to get busy preparing for the winter ahead. With that in mind we like to do a craft based around light. I’ve got a few lovely lantern ideas for you to try and this year we made a re-loved (re-cycled – but we like to call things re-loved) candle that I can’t wait to share with you.
Autumn Re-Loved Candles
For a re-loved candle save the ends of candles and melt them together – it really doesn’t matter on colours mixing (this bit I do rather than my daughter as it gets VERY hot). We rummaged through the cupboards to see what treasures we could find. Floss chose the little jar, but we often just use jam jars. We found spices including star anise and nutmeg, beeswax modelling wax, crystals and biodegradable glitter.
As the wax is melting use a stick to mix some of the ingredients you choose into the wax. We saved the crystals until the wax was a little firmer and popped them on top. You can help things cool down quicker by sitting your jar in cooler water. Do take great care when working with the wax that could be very hot. Floss had eaten quite a few apples after the story of how the apple got its star and decided she wanted to add the pips from the apple to her candle.
How gorgeous is this candle? Floss chose all the gold, yellow and brown colours. It smells divine with the spices and can’t wait to light it on the darker Autumn nights. These would make such lovely gifts for friends and family any time of year.
If you’d like to find more candle making ideas head to – Christmas Crafts, Candles, Pebble Painting and Tin Art Ideas.
Love these little lanterns and they are so easy to make. You needs some crayons, watercolour paper/ cartridge paper, olive oil and some glue. Natural elements such as leaves are an optional extra.
Decorate your paper and then brush over olive oil, leaving to dry overnight. The olive oil helps to make the lantern translucent, We did some leaf rubbings for our lanterns and added some oak leaves. Glue your lantern together into a cylinder. I used pegs and something heavy to weight down the seam and again I left overnight.
This bit needs to be done by an adult. If using a real candle I would advise putting into a jam jar and them putting the lantern over a jar or you could use an led tea light/ candle. Keep lit lanterns out of reach of children.
I’ve added a couple more lovely Autumn lantern ideas, with full instructions, that you might like to check out here.
If you’re looking for something a little different to decorate your front door for the Equinox this is perfect. A lovely lady shared this idea in a Facebook group and I loved it. The Equinox is when the day and night are most equal and this happens twice a year – Spring and Autumn Equinox. I used water resistant paint on a wood slice. A simple craft that you or your children could make and the perfect homemade gift.
Also, if you’re looking for a little moon inspiration for Harvest Moon – we’re big fans of using biscuits!
Happy Autumn Equinox! Love Lisa and Floss 🙂
- Watercolour Paper
- Block Crayons – Tiny Land no longer make these – we now use Stockmar
- Grimms Letter Cards
- Watercolour Journal Pad
- Mini wooden slices
- Wooden Boards
- Cursive Letter Cards
- Holztiger Oak Tree
- Grapat Perpetual Calendars
- Autumn – Gerda Muller book
- Autumn Bramble Hedge Story book
- Grapat Autumn
- Grapat Dark Nins
- Waldorf Postcards