Celebrating Samhain with The Children’s Forest

As the season’s turn and the clocks fall back we have witnessed more people gaining inspiration from The Children’s Forest. The charming stories and activities for the outdoors are divided into eight spells of the calendar Imbolc, Spring, Beltane, Summer, Lughnasa, Autumn, Samhain, Winter.

The book inspires a sense of awe and a deepening fascination with all things natural , a great antidote to an indoor life, and just what may be needed to encourage children out into the wilds as the weather becomes cooler.

We’re now entering Samhain (pronounced SOW-in or SAH-win), half way between the Autumn and Winter Equinox and considered the Celtic New Year, or what we now call Halloween or 31st October.

Kevin Crossley-Holland is a Carnegie medal-winning writer, winner of The Mal Peet Children’s Award at the East Anglian Book Awards, 2019, is a seasoned specialist in retelling folktales, British folklore and poet. Crossley-Holland, best known for the Arthur Trilogy, a fresh look at the legend of the round table, and is a fan of The Children’s Forest;

“The Children’s Forest may be the most joyful book I’ve ever come across. The fruit of many seasons of quiet research, writing, illustrating and assembling, this cornucopia of stories and songs, activities and fascinating information is as timely as it is beautifully produced, and from the moment you engage with it, you’ll be aware of its vision, its wisdom, and the crucial lifelines that connect us to the natural world.” Kevin Crossley-Holland

Glennie Kindred, author of Walking with Trees and other books on Earth wisdom and natural lore is also a fan of The Children’s Forest;

“This delightful and deeply connecting book is an inspiration and call to all, to immerse ourselves in the forest, amongst the trees and the plants that have so many gifts to share with us. It speaks from the intelligence of Nature, which makes this important landmark book a profound breath of fresh forest air. Herein lies a rich treasure of beauty, creativity, and understanding that encourages true deep connection with the natural world of the forest. At this time when so many are hearing the call to return to a deeper relationship with Nature, this book has something for us all, children and adults alike. I highly recommend it.“

Forest School teachers and Nature Connections have found this book an invaluable resource for keeping their sessions enervating. Jon Cree, Forest School Association  Director and ecological educator wrote of The Children’s Forest;

 “This book is full of seasonal nature-connecting activity that will help children rediscover our Celtic connections to the land in contemporary times. It will help create a sense our ‘place in space and time’, seasonally and in the ‘forest’ community, a pressing need in our changing times.”

Badger Forest School in Bristol made leaf cones this autumn, inspired by
The Children’s Forest

Celebrating Autumn

The Autumn Equinox brings a turning point in the year, when summer gives way to autumn and the nights begin to draw in.

It is the season of harvest – fruits, nuts and berries fill the hedgerows and birds and mammals prepare themselves for the colder months ahead.

The Children’s Forest by Dawn Casey, Anna Richardson and Helen D’Ascoli includes lots of seasonal activities, stories and crafting projects for autumn, including leaf sewing:

This and many more autumn-celebrating activities, songs and stories can be found in The Children’s Forest: Stories & songs, wild food, crafts & celebrations all year round.

Fun Things To Do in July With Findus

The summer holidays are here! Whether you prefer to relax inside with some home cooking, or spend time outside making things, Findus has a couple of fun activities to try this month …

These activities are taken from Findus, Food and Fun: Seasonal Crafts and Nature Activities by Eva-Lena Larsson, Kennert Danielsson and Sven Nordqvist. Part of the Findus and Pettson series. The book contains fun facts and seasonal activities for every month of the year.

Reforesting Scotland Journal reviews Creative Place-Based Environmental Education and The Children’s Forest

These reviews appeared in the Spring/Summer 2020 issue (Issue 61) of the Reforesting Scotland Journal. For more information on these titles, please visit the books’ pages on our website: Creative Place-Based Environmental Education: Children and Schools as Ecopreneurs for Change and The Children’s Forest

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…