SHARING THE SEASONS WITH YOUR KIDS:
Nature Tables & Seasonal Literature
By Tony(a) Lemos, HF Contributing Writer
Creating simple rituals and seasonal celebrations have always felt important to me. The seasons are an important part of our lives here on earth, and living here in New England we get to experience the beauty of all four seasons. In our home, creating a seasonal Nature Table display is a part of that experience, keeping us aware of the changing cycle of the year.
Our Nature Table dioramas are always evolving throughout a season. For instance, in the early Spring we may include something that reminds of the maple syrup season, and in later Spring may include seedlings bursting forth.
While many of us value nature, it can be difficult to find the time enjoy a deep connection with it. By keeping a Nature Table we have created a constant connection in our home, forming a communion from the inside to the outside. For us it is especially important in the Winter. New England winters can feel endless at times. Experiencing the small changes of the season we bring to our Nature Table brings us hope that Spring will indeed come.
WINTER READING BASKET
Along with our Nature Table another important part of our display has been our seasonal book basket with both fiction and non-fiction titles that are loosely associated with the theme of the season. We keep these in our reading nook and try to vary our book selection with fairy tales, cultural folktales, educational, biographical and books of beauty. Here are some titles we recommend:
- Frog, Bee and Snail Look for Snow (by Loek Koopmans)
- Snipp, Snapp, Snurr and the Yellow Sled (by Maj Lindman) – (If you do not know Snipp Snap Snurr or Ricka Dicka and Flicka books check them out now…. gentle therapeutic stories)
- One Winter’s Day (by M. Christina Butler; Illustrated by Tina Macnaughton)
- Winter, Awake (by Linda Kroll; Illustrated by Ruth Lieberherr)
- The Three Snow Bears (by Jan Brett) – We are BIG Jan Brett fans. The authors website is chok full of fun activities.
- The Big Snow (By Hader Elmer & Berta Hader)
- White Snow, Bright Snow (By Alvin Tresselt; Illustrated by Roger Duvoisin)
- Snowflake Bentley (By Jacqueline Briggs Martin; Illustrated by Mary Azarian)
- Winter’s Gift (By Jane Monroe Donovan) This is our favorite new book of the season
- Winter Story (by Jill Barklem)
- Snowy and Chinook (By Robin Mitchell & Judith Steedman)
- When Winter Comes (By Nancy Van Laan and Susan Gaber)
- Grandmother Winter (By Phyllis Root)
- Big Tracks, Little Tracks: Following Animal Prints (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 1) (By Millicent E. Selsam; Illustrated by Marlene Hill Donnelly)
- Winter Days in the Big Woods (My First Little House Books) (By Laura Ingalls Wilder; Illustrated by Renee Graef)
We have a metal tree that replaces our Solstice tree that we decorate seasonally. In the Spring we decorate with images of birds as they return from the South, and with little buds and flowers as they bloom into beauty. Seasonal cards, pictures, artwork and garlands are also hung. Seasonal smells and potpourri can also be explored. The sky is the limit as to how you can decorate your home with the seasons. I know a family that has comforter covers for their beds that change and reflect each season.
The fondest memories I try to create with my daughter are often made up of delightfully silly, simple things. A detour from the ordinary to see the stars can create an everlasting memory. Seasonal traditions can create a closeness that binds a family together. I’ve shared some of the things that we do in our family. I hope that you may find inspiration in creating even better ways for your family to create your own seasonal traditions. Little traditions can help our children to remember “home” a little more fondly because of ordinary days made holy by the sacrament of loving.
Of course bringing Nature indoors is not a replacement for outdoor time! I think you’ll find that the more you get into creating beautiful Nature displays the more time you’ll find yourself outdoors looking around, listening, photographing and collecting treasures. Playing outside, in any form, is a proven way for us to find balance in our daily lives and to rejuvenate. Nature, the “Great Mother,” soothes the spirit, sharpens the senses, and focuses our thinking. We have read over and over how today’s kids are increasingly disconnected from the natural world. If people don’t establish that connection with nature, who in the future will care and fight to preserve the environment?
While I work to simplify our days and try introducing the sacred into everyday activities. I wonder what Zoe will remember when she thinks back over her childhood. I’d love to hear how your family brings the scared into the ordinary.
About the Author: Tony(a) Lemos
Tony(a) is the director of Blazing Star Herbal School in Ashfield, MA and maintains an herbal practice in Northampton, MA. She is a graduate of Natural Therapy at Raworth College in England and has apprenticed with many influential herbalist, including Susun Weed. She is the vice president of the North East Herbal Association, and has taught at conferences and festivals all over New England, including Green Nations Gathering and the Women’s Herbal Conference. email@example.com