Tuesday, May 19, 2009


"I knew when Autumn came,
Not by the crimson flame,
Of leaves that lapped the eaves
Or mist
In amethyst
And opal tinted weaves;
But becasue there were alley-taws
(Punctual as hips and haws)
At the counter at Mrs Shaw's"
By Barbara Euphan Todd from All Year Round

Autumn is my absoloutely favourite time of year. It's when our family most enjoy being outside, raking leaves, planting bulbs for next spring and just enjoying the pale autumn sunshine.

Somehow Autumn also calls forth from us our "homely" side - we feel like cooking pies, baking bread and getting our hands stuck into clay and other tactile creative pursuits.

Here are some wonderful books where we have found inspiration for celebrating Autumn in our lives:

The beautiful images in this Autumn board book by Gerda Muller are a wonderful way of stimulating family discussion and to introduce a young child to the seasons.

"It was autumn in the forest. Strong winds were shaking the trees and everyshere the red, gold and brown leaves were starting to fall..." Elsa Beskow's has to be one of our family's favourite authors - written and illustrated in the 1930's her stories have a whimsical charm that is known and loved the world over. Woody, Hazel and Little Pip tells the story of two little acorn children who get blown away by the autumn wind. My 11 year old daughter recently was given a felt fox and a little gnome for her birthday. This story has stayed with her so much that she called her little fox: Woody Hazel, and her gnome: Little Pip.

If you want to be inspired with ideas of how to spend real quality time with your children - you will thoroughly enjoy Autumn - nature activities for children. Drawing on ideas from Steiner (Waldorf) education you will find many simple and homely ways to enjoy and experience autumn together. Picking and cooking fruit, basket-making, building houses and shelters, looking after birds, drying fruit, dipping candles, autumn songs and stories.

Here's one simple idea to encourage your children to eat more fruit, especially as the weather starts to turn a little colder.

Baked apples
Use one large apple per person. Core the apples almost all the way through to make a cavity, leaving alittle of the apple at the bottom. Fill the cavity with nuts, honey and cinnamon, and top with a pat of butter. Bake in a buttered pan with a little water for about 2 hours at 325F/150c or until the apples are tender. They taste particularly delicious bakede on an open fire.

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