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Lughnasa – Harvest Time

Early August sees the start of Lughnasa, the late summer festival celebrating the ripening of berries and nuts in the forest and the first harvest in the fields.

Lughnasa is named after the Irish hero, Lugh, who many think of as a sun god. In later times, Lughnasa was named Lammas (‘loaf-mass’) in reference to the beginning of harvest.

In farmlands all over Europe, it was believed that the spirit of the corn lived amongst the crop, and so was made homeless by the harvest. It was the custom to fashion the last sheaf of wheat into a corn ‘dolly’, so that the spirit of the corn could spend the winter in this home, until the ‘dolly’ was ploughed back into the land in the new season.

In forest glades and edge-lands, wild grass, rather than cultivated grain, is in seed, and can be used to make a simple ‘dolly’. Here, in this extract from The Children’s Forest, we show you how to make your own Plaited Grass Dolly:

This extract is taken from The Children’s Forest: Stories & songs, wild food, crafts & celebrations by Dawn Casey, Anna Richardson and Helen d’Ascoli. Many of the songs from The Children’s Forest are now available online, so you can sing along even if you don’t read music.

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Easter Activity from The Children’s Forest – natural egg dyeing

The egg, so fragile and yet so strong, with its promise of new life, has always been a potent symbol and a part of Easter celebrations. In this extract from The Children’s Forest we show you how to paint eggs using natural dye, leaves and flowers.

For more seasonal activity ideas and stories see The Children’s Forest by Dawn Casey, Anna Richardson and Helen d’Ascoli.

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Present and Activity Ideas for a Quiet Christmas

For many of us, Christmas will be quieter than usual this year, with fewer friends and family members around us. But there is still plenty we can do to embrace this atmospheric time of year and plenty of fun to be had.

Storytelling

Short days bring cosy nights, which are perfect for storytelling. For seasonal stories, Advent and Christmas Stories includes a treasury of verses, stories and songs.

Interested in telling nature stories? Then The Natural Storyteller has stories for telling orally. Using the story maps, you can easily tell the stories without reading and become a family storyteller.

You can find world stories in 147 Traditional Storiesfor children aged 7-12 to retell, and storytelling tips. And it wouldn’t be Christmas without Findus and Pettson and their seasonal fun in Findus at Christmas and Findus and the Christmas Tomte.

Seasonal Nature and Craft

Booksuch as The Children’s Forest offer stories and songs, wild food, recipes, crafts and celebrations for all the year round. Families can enjoy these, with seasonal things to look out for while out walking.

If you have ever wanted to try a new craft but never seem to find the time, now is your moment. Crafting is a great way to either spend time with family or to lose yourself in to counter feelings of anxiety or loneliness.

Making with your hands is a great way of giving children the creative life skills for navigating this age of disruption. We have a wide range of craft books, including Making the Children’s Year, Making Simple Needle Felts, Making Soft Dolls and Making Peg Dolls. Materials supply shop, The Makerss, have hosted many online tutorials this year, that can help you get started and are still available to watch on YouTube.

Lastly, we recently came across the wonderful work of Star in the Apple Stories and their beautiful, seasonal musical storytime, now available to watch online.

For more ideas, visit the storytelling and craft pages at hawthornpress.com

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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.

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The Children’s Forest

Now is the time of Lughnasa and the Rowan berries are ripe on the trees just waiting to be made into treasures such as the ones here. This is an extract from our new classic, The Children’s Forest, offering stories, songs, wild food, crafts and celebrations for all year round.

The Children’s Forest is a marvellous collection of practices and activities that will surely connect people, their places, wild neighbours, friends and families. The elements of this book are woven to produce a tapestry of belonging – any one of these threads can produce amazing results, together something magical emerges.  Jon Young, author of Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature

Rowan Berries
  • The Children’s Forest engages children with nature through play and imagination in the forest.
  • Forest know-how through eight seasons for Forest School leaders, teachers and parents of pre-school and primary aged children.
  • Identify trees, plants and animals including tracking, foraging, wild plant recipes and crafts to make in the woods.
  • Gaelic stories, folklore, songs and imaginary journeys to share.

A rich and abundant treasury in celebration of the forest, this book encourages children’s natural fascination with woodlands and their inhabitants. The authors have produced an enchanting book where imagination, story and play bring alive the world of the forest. Full of games, facts, celebrations, craft activities, recipes, foraging, stories and Forest School skills, The Children’s Forest is much more than a manual: it is an invitation.
Ideal for ages 5-12 it will also be enjoyed by adults, families and younger children.

The Children's Forest

The book is organised into the eight Celtic seasons of Imbolc, Spring, Beltane, Summer, Lughnasa, Autumn, Samhain and Winter. Within each chapter are the following sections: The life of the forest; Plant lore; Imaginary journey; Tree Lore; Activities, crafts and games; Animals; Celebration.
The appendices at the end of the book cover skills, safety, the Ogham alphabet, story sources and further resources.

Available to pre-order now. Sign up to our newsletter to receive 20% off.