Tie-dyed Eggs

Eggs are symbolic of the new life that comes with spring. We may all be familiar with the exchange of chocolate eggs at Easter but traditionally real eggs were given as gifts. These would be blown or boiled, dyed or carefully painted and used as decorations during Eastertide.
Making Tie-dyed Eggs is just one activity of many in Making the Children’s Year, a book of seasonal craft projects for all ages.

Tip: If you use onion skins to dye your eggs why not drop some bits of wool or cotton into the saucepan too and use these to hang your eggs. Both red and white onion skins will give a lovely colour to natural fibres.

For more creative seasonal activities for the family look to our series.

Review: Making the Children’s Year by Marije Rowling

Making the Children's Year

This review is by Janni Nicol, the hardworking and brilliant editor of Kindling Magazine. It first appeared in Kindling issue 32 and also in the SWSF Autumn 2017 newsletter. Many thanks to both of them for this wonderful review!

I am always excited to look at a book by Marije Rowling as her illustrations are a delight, and her projects always work! This is an updated, full colour and beautifully published second edition of The Children’s Year. It includes all sorts of crafts, ideas and activities, such as making nature and seasonal tables, lanterns, moving picture cards, sewing and knitting, dolls, building dens, and paper-crafting. Each seasonal craft has simple, clear and beautifully illustrated instructions. They are mostly suitable for adults to make for children, and others can be made by children of different ages. The crafts are organised by season, and the nature table ideas are very useful and practical.

There are three books (published by Hawthorn Press), which I have always included in every booklist for anyone working in early childhood to include in their, and their parent, library. They are All Year Round;  Festivals, Family and Food, All Year Round [sic] and now this revised version of The Children’s Year. Making the Children’s Year includes crafts and illustrations by Marije Rowling.

My only gripe with this book, is the difficulty of making it lie flat – thank goodness I have a recipe book stand to put it in! I do hope that the spine does not split more than it has over the very many years it will be used!

P.S. Hawthorn Press is considering different spine options when we reprint this title – more news to come.

Buy the book here…

More about Kindling and the SWSF here…

Review: Making the Children’s Year by Marije Rowling

Camphill Correspondence gave us permission to reproduce this review of Making the Children’s Year – many thanks to them, specifically Betty Marx and Petra Dearsley.

Making the Children's Year

This craft book is the new edition of “The Children’s Year” which has been in print since its first publication in the early 80s.

It is a wonderful new edition, with both new and old projects which promise hours of fun and craftwork, to be done either alone or with your friends and children. I really appreciate that there is something for every ability. Some of the crafts can be done with young children, such as the stick streamers or the folded paper cup for catching a ball.  There are also plenty of ideas for the experienced crafter, for instance, crocheting slippers or sewing a baby’s sleeping bag.

“Making the Children’s Year” has been newly illustrated with beautiful paintings by the author. The paintings complement the line drawings, which are useful for following instructions.

This edition is very pleasant to read and easy to use. Seasonal projects can be found, as the book follows the cycle of the year. The instructions are written in a clear and straightforward way.  As a Kindergarten teacher, I found the book especially useful for my work as I always need new ideas for craft projects, or “worn out” toys and decorations which need replacing.

The projects vary a lot and require the use of many different materials eg, paper, wool, felt, nature treasures, beads and tissue paper.

The author also gives beautiful ideas for the seasonal table : a place in your house, Kindergarten, school or nursery where you can display what is happening in nature and help children to appreciate the cycle of the year.

I found that even just to sit with my woolly blanket dreamily reading and enjoying the lovely illustrations is very therapeutic.

I love this book, and am looking forward to making the long woolly hat, a new autumn lantern and many more items during the coming years.

Thank you Marije, for your inspiration and I love your illustrations.

Petra Dearsley is a craft enthusiast who has shared her hobby with many in Camphill during the last twenty years, both in Corbenic and Camphill School Aberdeen, where she is now a Kindergarten teacher.

Buy the book here…

More about Camphill Correspondence here…

Review: Making the Children’s Year

This fantastic review was written by Amber of Roam the Gnome, a family travel website and blog. Many thanks to her for reviewing this title, and for letting us reproduce her review on our website. Please note, this is an edited extract; to read the full review, follow the link at the foot of the page.

In my “former” life before I was a full-time Travel Writer/Family Explorer, I was a Steiner Early Childhood Teacher for 10 years and during this time I handcrafted my share of Steiner toys.

You might wonder how someone with a serious case of wanderlust and a passion for writing and film ever became a teacher, let alone a Steiner Kindergarten teacher, living each and every day inside the same classroom, in a pattern of daily and weekly rhythms that didn’t offer much change, let alone any chances to wander and explore the world beyond. I do too!

But there were SO many gifts in this unexpected career of mine, and while for me it was a shortish interlude, for most teachers working in this way, it is a calling, a passion, a dream come true.

Steiner Waldorf Craft and Steiner Toys

One of my favourite parts of my job was MAKING STUFF. As a lifelong creative, the chance to felt, sew, paint, sing, dance, move, cook, and garden, while ‘working’ (not too hard) with children all around me, was a pretty happy way to spend my days. I made beautiful, heartfelt, handmade stuff with the children every single day.

Toys, crafts for all the seasons, festival invitations, decorations for the room, garlands, costumes, birthday gifts, drawing books, birthday posters, birthday books, story props and props for circle time, gifts for Mothers and Fathers, gifts for new babies, and things to embellish the nature table.

Handmade Waldorf Steiner Toys

Early in my journey, I discovered a book about Waldorf Steiner Toys called ‘The Children’s Year’, a compendium of children’s crafts and activities to celebrate the ever-changing seasons of the year. There were super simple toys such as felt balls, felt ducks, pom pom rabbits and the cutest flower fairy dolls, and knitted chickens that even a beginner could make.

Just a few weeks ago, I got the news that this book has been lovingly reprinted as a fully revised edition of the original “The Children’s Year” by Christine Fynes-Clinton, Stephanie Cooper, and Marije Rowling. It’s now called ‘Making the Children’s Year’- Seasonal Waldorf Crafts with Children, thanks to an update by one of the original writers, Marije Rowling.

It’s simply beautiful, a book for all families, a book for travelling families, and not just Steiner Waldorf -inspired ones.

For those families who love travel, and especially slow travel, this book should be a mandatory item on the family travel packing list, along with a few basic craft supplies such as wool felt, needles and thread, a pair of scissors, colourful ribbon lengths, and knitting wool.

Add a few of nature’s treasures such as seedpods, rocks, leaves and sticks to the mix, along with some found objects such as empty matchboxes, cardboard, and scraps of paper, and you’re set.

The new coloured illustrations add to the magic and bring the book to life.

I loved it then, but I love it even more now.

Buy the book here…

More about Roam the Gnome (including full review) here…

Book Review: Making the Children’s Year by Marije Rowling

This review was written by Luce of adventureswithmonsters. She is a Waldorf inspired home-educator, and her blog is a joy! Many thanks to her for reviewing this title for us.

We have (and love!) the previous version of this book  ‘The Children’s Year’. It was one of the first craft books we purchased when we first discovered Waldorf, and it has facilitated many a making session.  I was delighted to see that an update was coming, and our lovely friends at Hawthorn Press offered to send us a copy for review.

This volume ‘Making the Children’s year’ is an updated version of the previous book, put together by Marije Rowling (one of the original authors of the previous edition). It offers a brand new layout and more information for each season, including a very inspiring piece on colour throughout the year, the nature table, information on craft materials and where to source them, tips and abbreviations for sewing and knitting, information on fabric dyeing, pattern tips for tracing and transferring and much more.

There’s a wealth of seasonal offerings within these pages, things to make for outdoor play, indoor play, cards, nature crafts, lanterns, decorations, dolls and doll’s clothes, children’s clothing and accessories and more.

I  especially like the knitting patterns because knitting is my favourite craft. I have previously made the mittens, hat and jumper from this book, actually, the first jumper I ever knitted was the one in this book, thanks to the easy to understand, yet thorough pattern instructions. Imagine my delight when I discovered that such well loved, familiar patterns now have beautiful colour illustrations!

Of course I paged through to the autumn portion first, because its my favourite season, and also because we are currently gearing up to begin Kindergarten again this autumn so this is perfect timing for some extra autumn craft inspiration. Much is included for festival crafts, as well as some lovely ideas for gifts and little play figures and even some creative and beautiful storage solutions. The Bundles delighted in looking at the illustrations and telling me which things we should have a go at making (so, basically everything!  )

This book is accessible for both those who are already crafty and seeking seasonal inspiration, and equally for those who would like to learn.  There are patterns offered for adults, older children and younger children, and the illustrations are captivating to all!  It is an Invaluable resource for Waldorf home educators, indeed for anyone wishing to bring rich, seasonal crafts to their family, group or community,.

Bringing seasonal delight and a reminder of the importance of creativity and handwork, this book is a real treasure, and we most definitely recommend it!

Buy Making the Children’s Year here…

More about Luce here…