Category Archives: Activities

Making Corn Dollies

IMG_20150516_150234Here are some great resources for making your own corn dollies, both from grain stalks and from craft materials.  Hope they inspire you.

The other videos by “The Woodland Elf” are also lovely.

How to make a corn dolly – Eden Project

A great link to a pdf of all kinds of projects with art straws.

UPDATE:

We made art straw corn dollies at our Lammas celebration with PFaM and they looked GREAT on our altar.

altar_corn_dollies

Spring Grow

In the spring when everything is busting out, it seems that my kids have spent the whole winter in horse manure and have chosen now to grow a requisite six inches. Whether sun or snow, the kids will grow.

Not only that, but my warm and cuddly lads have turned into miniature teenagers overnight. They are like little narcissi, small bright and full of ‘tude. Growth is one of those elements that we seem to measure from the time our babies are small, we worry about it, compare it, and all the time they seem to keep doing it – in the spring though we notice it because everything around us is growing and pushing forth. Our child’s spring grow is often accompanied with a testosterone surge, so as parents and caregivers what can we do to channel this glorious upsurge of spring’s energy as winter finally gives way, and the earth awakens?

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How to build a Maypole

hawthorn 2 We built a Maypole last year for our Family gathering in Thetford forest.  Much fun and hilarity was had, but a week or so later when I (Sam) went to unwind our ribbons and reclaim my staff she realised the power the children had raised into the staff and quickly took it outside to send their energy back into the Earth, and my garden, with a heartfelt blessing.

The building was quite simple.  My staff is just under 6 ft tall and quite straight so was perfect.  We got 4 different coloured ribbons, about 5m of each, and attached the middles of them to the top using hair bands.

During our ritual one of the Dads sat in the middle holding the staff upright and all the children, and most of the other grown-ups too, took a hand in dancing round the maypole.  We did do lots of weaving over and under our dance partners, but it was very clear that we would never be able to dance it unwound again.  Voices were raised clear and true and feet tripped out a merry jig under the trees in Thetford Forest.  Our intent was solid, even if our dancing was a little haphazard and prone to giggling.Maypole 2

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Traditional May Song and Dance

Maypole 2MayPole Dancing info – Learn how to do it properly!

http://www.maypoledance.com/

Some great resources for learning about our MayTime traditions can be found at the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) – look here

http://www.efdss.org/efdss-education/resource-bank/beginners-guide/bg-customs-may#british-folk-customs-may-day 

Here are some great English Folk tunes to get you dancing Continue reading

Setting up a Family Zone at your event

I have just come back from a lovely day at the Harvest Moon Festival where I (and the fabulous Claire and Alex) ran the Family Zone.

2014-09-27 12.20.04It was a simple affair, a marquee in the courtyard with a rug on the floor and a picnic table to put our bits on.  However, it transformed into many places over the day;  a fairytale castle and a flour mill when Alex told us stories, a banqueting hall, an artist’s studio, a chill out zone and a base of operations for a grand conker hunt.

Although I am part of the organising committee for the festival the organising for this little bit was easy.

  • Find a space in your venue to put it (making sure it is child safe)
  • Arrange some crafting activities (see the rest of the web site for ideas)
  • Gather some suitably Pagan kid’s books (Meg and Mog, Winnie the Witch again see the web site for ideas)
  • Prepare for a couple of more adult Q&A sessions to talk to people about working with children and young people within the Pagan faith.

2014-09-27 12.21.05On the day we welcomed lots of lovely young people and their parents and carers to our tent, we coloured in pictures, made conker shields / webs, ate lots of cake and read a lot of stories.

We were lucky enough to have a fab storyteller (Alex) who gave us 2 brilliant stories including one with a potion made of smelly socks, eyeballs, eggs and even dragon wee wee!

At the end of the day we had a child friendly ritual to close the day.  It was a piece of ritual theatre, including props, that included all the children during the singing, dancing and general jumping around. (script also on the web site)

Comments about the day were very positive about the inclusivity of the event,  the warm atmosphere and the children all enjoyed having a space they could let off steam.  My daughter and goddess-son also enjoyed one of the talks.  Without the family zone boredom and mischief would have got to them well before the talk and they wouldn’t have been in the mood to sit still for an hour.  While we weren’t a crèche (an adult needed to be with the children too) we allowed children the space to be children while the adults were adults.

2014-09-27 12.20.51If you have been inspired by our family zone and would like to run your own, please do.  If you would like any more information or support, please get in touch.

Here Comes the Sun

sunI spent a lovely hour with the Pre-school group of our village nursery today.  My son was super excited the Mummy was visiting.  We are very public with our faith and the staff at the nursery had asked me before about aspects of our faith and how it would effect our son, they had also hinted that they would be happy for me to come in to work with the children.  So a window in my schedule allowed me to arrange this afternoon’s visit.

I thought long and hard about how to engage 3 and 4 year olds with the concept of Litha, of the Summer Solstice, and as usual my kids came up with the answer.  “Why do I have to go to bed now?” I have been asked a lot recently “The sun is still up!”  So we focused on the sun.  I recount my session with 16 delightful children below in the hope that you can be inspired by it, or that you can use some of the aspects with your own children.

I arrived just as they were finishing their afternoon snack and as the children got up from the table and wondered over to be on the carpet we started to sing a song about the sun.  It’s not at all Pagan but it was short, catchy and fitted with what I wanted to do later.

Once we were all sat down and settled I told them that my son and our family were Pagans and the we didn’t go to church but celebrated at home, in the garden and in the woods.  My son piped up at this point that we had a celebration soon and I was then able to tell them about Summer Solstice.  I asked them if their mummies were being mean and making them go to bed when the sun was still up, and if they always went to bed when the sun was up.  We then talked about what the sun did for us (made light and warmth) and that it was darker and colder in the winter.

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Sun Masks – Litha 2014

Then I got out the paper plates (eye holes already cut), glue sticks and tissue paper in hot sun colours  and the making commenced.  The children simply covered the front of the plate in glue and ripped up the tissue paper to stick on.  Once they were done I attached knicker elastic to the sides and they wore their masks.  (Note: in hindsight I should have put the elastic on this morning as 16 eager little suns wanting me to both look at their masks and fix the elastic was a little overwelming and chaotic)

Once we had all made our masks we sat down and I told them all about Ra.  I read them the story below through then we all decided if we wanted to be Ra, Osiris or an Egyptian and I 350px-Re-Horakhty.svgread it through again as they (helped by the staff and me) acted it out.

“In ancient Egypt the sun god Ra was the most important of all the gods.  Every morning the
sun rose up into the sky and everyone welcomed his warmth and light.  As he travelled through the sky he helped the people to grow their crops and warm the homes and land.  As day ended and the night began Ra slipped under the Earth to visit Osiris in the underworld and they tiptoed under the Earth back to the place where Ra rises every morning.”