Art ~ Crafts ~ Nature

Celebrating Festivals with Children

Freya Jaffke



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Freya Jaffke is one of the master kindergarten teachers that I most respect and admire and learn from.  As with her other books, Celebrating Festivals with Children is a fount of wisdom carried on the warm winds of love for children.  As such, it is a gift and a must-read for anyone working with our very young.

Here she describes festival celebrations in relation to child development in the first seven years. She considers in detail the main festivals throughout the year—Easter, Pentecost, St. John’s, back-to-school, harvest, Michaelmas, lantern time, birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, and carnival.

Drawing on many examples, she shows how we can celebrate festivals in a meaningful way with children, both at home and in kindergarten. Every festival is prefaced with a deeper contemplation for adults before considering preparations with children. This is followed by the actual organization of the festival—with games, craft activities and decorations, stories, songs, poems and the seasonal nature table.

Very highly recommended.

Painting with Children

Brunhild Müller



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This wonderful book is once again available to parents and teachers wanting to explore with children the world of liquid color. And, it is still the best guide ever for those new to wet-on-wet painting and to painting with young children. Here is everything you need to know, even if you've never painted (or never painted this way) before:

  • the author begins with a lovely discussion about how children experience the world of color
  • she goes on to offer some thoughts on what she calls "the morality of color." I find that this section inspires me to become more imaginative when I work with colors - it really brings them to life in a very unique way
  • there is a long section, filled with color photographs of both children painting and the paintings they produced, that takes us into the world of children painting with watercolors. This can become a welcome guide for parents who have never done this before - it should help everyone to paint joyfully
  • then, there are clear instructions for mixing the paints, preparing the paper, distributing the water jars, paint pots and brushes
  • ah! and then comes the painting! and the color stories! and the sheer wonder of it all!
  • the author adds suggestions for seasonal painting themes, how to create the stories and what their basis is, the experience of color and the moods of nature
  • finally, there are even instructions for preparing plant pigments for painting and photos showing the soft, inviting colors they produce.

There is so much joy to be had here - I've waited for years hoping for this book to reappear. What a treasure!

The Nature Corner

Celebrating the year's cycle with seasonal tableaux

M. van Leuwen and J. Moeskops

2nd Edition


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The Nature Corner is a wonderful resource for anyone wishing to add this to their child's experience of home. There are detailed instructions on setting up the basic table, including directions for making the draping cloths. Themes of the seasons and some of the festivals (most, but not all with a Christian theme), are portrayed with full directions for making the animals and dolls shown in the color photographs. There are instructions for making some of the dearest little mice, fluffiest of sheep, and the most charming gnomes ever. Do enjoy your creative romp through nature's year!

Toymaking with Children

Freya Jaffke


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Toymaking with Children

Happy piggies from Toymaking with Children

Freya Jaffke managed to breathe her many years experience as a master Waldorf kindergarten teacher into a volume capable of inspiring, guiding and reassuring new parents toward a balanced, beautiful life with their children. This is a hands-on approach that is deeply suited to working with and understanding young children. This is a book to enjoy in the deepest sense of the word, and makes an excellent companion to Work and Play in Early Childhood.

The new edition adds color photographs, more toys to make (more joy to bring!), and wonderful discussions of which toys to give to children at what ages, how to create a beautiful, nurturing environment, even tips for clean-up! I have loved this book since it was first published - this most recent incarnation elevates it from "wonderful" to "must have."

Magic Wool

Creative Activites with Natural Sheep's Wool

Dagmar Schmidt and Freya Jaffke

2nd Edition



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Magic Wool unveils the secrets of captivating children with feltboard pictures "painted" with colored unspun fleece. There is nothing more magical to a child than to see a story spring to life as a parent or teacher "draws" it in wool during the telling. Because of the texture and nature of the fleece, these pictures invite the young child to enter the activity of the scene - it springs to life in their imagination. You'll love it, too!

Also include are instructions for making figures from fleece to grace your nature table or for your young ones to play with.

Gardening with Young Children

Beatrys Lockie



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I have personally been waiting for over 20 years for someone to write this beautiful book. It is a joy to see it and to recognize in it everything I've ever wanted to see on this topic placed between two covers.

Beatrys Lockie is a passionate organic gardener who taught in a Waldorf kindergarten for many years and found a seemingly unlimited number of ways to pass along to young children her enthusiasm for gardening. Anyone wanting to do the same will love this book as much as I do.

In fact, anyone wanting to learn to garden from a master will love this book, for she includes all the basics of gardening along with her ways of sharing it with our little ones.

And, if you already know how to garden, but want to learn how to work with young children, she shows you that, too. The first part of the book is like walking into her kindergarten where she quietly shows us the rhythms and ways of what is to me a sacred space wherein children can blossom.

Gardening with Young Children answers so many needs with so much love that it simply brings tears to my eyes to read it. I hope that it becomes the seed to many, many gardens that invite children into the world of nature.

Hiding in the Green

Children Discovering the Garden in Poetry and Photographs

Nancy Free Martin and Millie Reith

Includes audio CD with 2 songs



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Sweet poems, happy songs, engaging photos all lead children and adults into the garden and into nature's magical world through the wonder packed between the covers of this dear little book.

This is not a didactical discourse on how to teach children about nature - Hiding in the Green is simply a collection of songs and poems paired with beautiful photos of children in a vibrant garden.

You can use this book for story time, you can learn the poems and use them for garden circles, games and joy. I predict that the poems and songs will become a part of daily life for you and for any children in your care. What a lovely celebration of nature!