The air is changing and getting that delicious crispness that only comes in Autumn. The trees are laden with apples begging to be picked. Plump pumpkins are dotting the fields. The red and gold leaves sprinkled everywhere…..
I love autumn. It is my favorite season and I try to cram as many Autumn activities in as my family will tolerate!
I have to admit it, I am happy to see summer go. I enjoy all of the seasons for many reasons, but anyone who knows me personally knows that I am in love with autumn. There is something so beautiful to me about the cool, crisp air and the leaves changing color. I love the return of our favorite family traditions, and I look forward to making fun new memories with my children and extended family.
One of my favorite verses about autumn is an excerpt from a poem by an American poet named George Cooper. It’s called “Come Little Leaves”.
“Come, little leaves,”
Said the wind one day,
“Come over the meadows
With me, and play;
Put on your dresses
Of red and gold;
Summer is gone,
And the days grow cold.”
From a Waldorf perspective autumn brings us a different view of our life. It is the breathing out of the seasons. We, as adults, get to meditate on Mother Earth as she shows us her beauty even in the loss of the leaves. We get to snuggle a little closer during a chilly morning with our children. Our children get to experience the colors of autumn all around them, and we get to teach them about the earth’s life cycle as it prepares to be dormant once again for winter.
My children and I decided that there is just so many fun things to do during autumn that we need to make a bucket list so we can keep track of it all! Here are a few things that will be on our bucket list this year:
1. Go on a ‘Signs of Autumn’ nature walk
Go on a walk right now, before the Autumnal Equinox and see if you and your child can find some signs of autumn together. Do you see leaves changing colors in your area? Are the acorns starting to fall from the trees? How does the air smell? Is it starting to get chilly? These are some great questions to ask your little one as you are walking together.
2. Jump in a big pile of leaves
Everyone knows this is a must for fall. Rake up a big pile of leaves up in the yard and have at it! Be sure to have your camera ready to capture the joy on your children’s faces.
3. Make some crafts with fallen leaves
While you’re raking you may discover a beautiful leaf you are not ready to throw into the pile. Bring a bag outside with you and have your children collect as many beautiful leaves as they can. Really see which ones speak to their heart and ask them how the colors make them feel. This year we’ve already created a leaf mobile with leaves we collected on a walk, an old wooden embroidery hoop, some embroidery floss and a needle. My five-year old loved helping me ‘sew’ the leaves for this project.
4. Visit your local farms and Orchards
Take your children to your local orchard for some apple picking. Pumpkin picking is lots of fun as well! Visit here to find a pick-your-own farm or orchard near you. If you use a waldorf homeschool curriculum and you have a child in year three, you will probably be doing a unit on farming this year. Many farms are willing to do tours for groups, so if your family is interested you can call up your farm in advance and schedule a tour. Children love to see how the farmers grow, care for, and harvest their plants.
5. Bake or cook up some fall treats!
Once you’ve picked some local autumn produce, you can get to work baking up some cakes, pies, jams, jellies, or butters! Here is one of my favorite recipes for a Gluten Free Apple Crisp from Dana over at Minimalist Baker. It is especially good when served warm with some vanilla ice cream on top. Yum!
6. Make Nature Mandalas
This is something I try to do at least once every season. First we collect fallen objects from the ground. Some suggestions to look for are small rocks or pebbles, large and small leaves, blades of grass, wildflowers, pine needles, and maybe some tree bark pieces. Start arranging them in a symmetrical pattern with your childs help. This not only gently introduces your child to the concepts of symmetry and geometry, but also you get to see the different things Mother Earth gives you each season to make your mandalas with. I encourage you to take photos and compare them to other seasons as you create.
7. Knit a scarf
Autumn brings crisp and windy days, so knit up a scarf for yourself or your children. If you have older children you can teach them to knit their own scarf very simply. Look for a pattern with mostly knit stitches, or purl stitches as well if your child is a seasoned knitter. Knitting is such a lovely hobby, and one of my most beloved especially in the fall. Curling up on the couch with a cup of warm cider and my knitting needles makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.
That’s just the beginning of my list! My kids are thinking up all sorts of fun things to add to our bucket list ever day. I hope I’ve inspired you to get out there in nature with your kids and enjoy all of the fun activities autumn has to offer! What will be on your autumn bucket list this year? What kinds of fall family traditions do you look forward to each year. Let us know in the comments below.
And don’t forget to look skyward tonight to see this year’s Harvest Moon. It’s a great night to have a moon picnic or to dance under the moonbeams. I look forward to seeing your Harvest Moon Dream Pillows and hearing if they give you sweet dreams!