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Simple Ways to Celebrate Nature’s Rhythms

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One of the lovely and for me, surprising gifts of parenthood, is the chance to see the world once again through the eyes of a child. Nature is filled with daily miracles – simple yet wondrous – and while sometimes we adults can be too busy or distracted to notice, our children naturally delight in them.

A shiny worm crawling across dirty fingers, the waves chasing our bare feet, the sky bursting into the colours of a rainbow. Celebrating nature’s rhythms is not only a fun and nourishing way to connect with our children but also a deeply valuable way for us all – big and little – to connect with those seasonal cycles that live within our own bodies too. Journeying with the seasons helps us gently embrace both the storms and sunshine of life!

The Indigenous Australians celebrated up to 6 different seasons – a practice far more suited to this climate – however there is another reason we mark the traditional European-based four seasons of Winter, Spring, Summer & Autumn.

For those of us with European ancestry these are the cycles that have been celebrated within our lineage for thousands of years. Our bodies carry these rituals and rhythms and I think one of the greatest opportunities we face as new Australians is finding ways to connect with our ancestry that also honour this ancient land we call home.

 

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So, no matter which of the seasons your family choose to celebrate, here are some simple ways to bring the magic of nature’s rhythms into your children’s lives in a real and meaningful way.

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1. Create a nature table

Together with your little ones create a special place in the ‘heart’ of your home where you can each place the treasures you find from Mother Nature. Whether it’s an Autumn feather, a Winter seedpod, the first flower of Spring or a Summer sea shell, help your child with coloured cloths or lighting candles together at appropriate times, to help acknowledge and celebrate all the gifts nature brings to us.

2. Take Sensory Walks – even quick ones!

Children love games and a simple and fun way to experience the natural world is through the senses. Take a blindfold and, holding your child’s hand in support, guide them on a walk through nature. What sound do the dried leaves make under our feet? How close by is that flock of birds? What kind of tree does this feel like? What bush food does this taste like? Little ones will be perfectly happy without the blindfold too, especially with their feet in the mud and noses buried in native flowers!

3. Feed them stories not facts

Children are wonderfully curious about the world and it is such a gift to allow them to remain within that wide-eyed wonder by answering their questions with a living breathing story rather than a fact. For example ask yourself, how does a tree grow? Sure, we understand the basic science of it, but is it also not true and far more meaningful to a little being that it is the warmth of Father Sun, and the drink of gentle rain and the love of the gardener that makes the tree grow tall and strong? Bringing awareness to the spiritual or energetic forces behind the natural world helps children stay connected with mother earth and themselves as they grow into the facts when the time is right.

 

 

Journeying with the seasons helps us gently embrace both the storms and sunshine of life!

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4. Sing the Seasons

The natural world sings to us every day so why not join in the chorus! You don’t have to sound great and they don’t even have to be ‘real songs’. Even the silliest or most spontaneous of nature-inspired songs sung together bring harmony to the home, and on a deeper level, connect us with the innate rhythms within. 

 

5. Let them do it!

It’s fantastic for children to be part of your veggie garden – and just seeing and experiencing you caring for mother earth and growing food is nourishing. It’s also nice to let them feel responsible for nurturing life and this can sometimes be tricky with busy little fingers. Something we’ve done over the years is to give the boys their own little patch of earth to care for, and everything within that space is theirs to decide. They choose the seeds or seedlings and it’s their job to water and weed. Even a pot plant size with some flower seeds or herb seedlings is enough. Something may grow and something may not, but allowing your child absolute freedom to take responsibility for their little garden is hugely empowering.

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And most importantly, the biggest gift Mother Nature brings to us is simplicity – SO KEEP IT SIMPLE! Connecting with the natural world takes just a small moment of stopping, watching, listening, smelling and feeling into the question….what’s going on in nature today? Just this simple act, that takes only a few moments, creates a beautiful and easy ritual or activity to share as a family, connecting us with nature, each other and ultimately, ourselves. x Annie

Hi! I’m a storyteller & musician from Mullumbimby, Australia & I love to share my own collection of seasonally-inspired stories and songs for children at live performances and on The Seasonal Collection of Winter, Spring, Summer & Autumn recordings. Listen to a sample of my stories and songs below or click here to find out more.  Thanks for stopping by! 
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