Friday, October 19, 2012

Autumn Thoughts and Fun

Autumn is a season of transition, both physically and spiritually. Children sense this intuitively. The poet Gerard Manley Hopkins speaks of this in his poem Spring and Fall: To a Young Child. For most of us, transition is not an easy place to be, but in autumn we see that great beauty can found in change. Some children have a particularly hard time with change and the seasons are one great tool that God has given us to help them. 

I love to help children explore these themes by giving them as many hands-on experiences with autumn as possible. When we start seeing round, shiny chestnuts on the ground, and figs, pumpkins, and squash at the market, we know that autumn has arrived.

The other night, we went to the park near our home and gathered leaves and chestnuts to see what we could make out of them. I  then made this leaf crown for my daughter, which we learned to make last year. (You can find my tutorial here.) 

Every child in Germany learns to craft with the shiny chestnuts that are found everywhere. In the picture below, my son is using a "chestnut drill" to bore a hole into a chestnut. Then, you can make necklaces, little people . . .

or a worm!

(Saw this idea on The Artsy Ants and we just happened to have wiggly eyes on hand.)

My daughter grabbed her block crayons and began to make leaf rubbings. Such a simple activity, but one that brings loads of joy.

Also on The Artsy Ants I read about dipping leaves in candle wax to preserve them, so I tried it as well.  We melted wax on the stovetop and dipped the leaves in the wax.

Then, I stuck a few in a vase.

We try to make a trip to the forest at least once during each season. So a few days later, we packed a lunch and headed to the Grunewald. 

Everything tastes better outside! 

In each season, we always find a few new friends . . . 

and discover new things growing . . . 

and have a few new adventures!

We also enjoy sitting among the trees and reading on our forest trips. 

Wherever you are, whether it's autumn or spring on your half of the big, blue marble, I hope that you are diving into and embracing this season of transition!

Linked to  The Magic Onions

and Naturkinder

and Waldorf Wednesday at  Seasons of Joy


  1. Fun Stuff!! The leaf crown is awesome and I am going to have to find a chestnut drill so we can make necklaces. Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Glad you liked this! It's always great to hear from you.

  2. This is a beautiful post. I just found your blog because I have been intentionally considering the spirituality of my young children (6 months and 2 years old), and I would like to be more proactive in recognizing their own spirituality and encouraging spiritual growth for all of us. I have also begun using Godly play in the Children's ministry at our church. I look forward to following you and getting ideas from you about how to notice and experience God with my childen. Oh...and we are all headed for a campout this weekend, so this post is just what I needed to inspire some thinking about our spiritual connection with God in nature.

    1. Hi Katie, I'm so glad to be able to connect with you! I think it's wonderful that you are already thinking about your children's spirituality and that you are using Godly Play. Here is a post with some thoughts about encouraging spirituality with under 3's: . GP is great with under 3's as well - just the expectations of the children are different (i.e. they are allowed to touch the materials during the story, whereas we would ask older kids to wait until the response time).

  3. Liebe Sheila, wir haben diese Woche auch nochmal Blätterkronen gemacht, immer wieder gerne! Dieses Wochenende soll es ja schon schneien bei uns... Brrrrrrh :-)

  4. So many great ideas. I especially like your leaf/tree vase.

    Thanks for visiting Waldorf Wednesday. I hope we'll see you back this week!