Summer Stories and Summer Nature Table

Sometimes it is hard to know what to do with summer and the small child under the age of 7:  is it better to keep the Circle Time/Story Time intact and going or to take a complete break?  Some mothers decide to stick to one or two seasonal songs and fingerplays and not do a full Circle Time, and to still tell a story a few days a week.  They leave the other days open for outings in berry pickings, lake swimming, creek exploring or beach fun.

There is one festival coming up to prepare for, and that is St. John’s Tide.  You can read more about  summer and  that particular festival here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/07/01/celebrating-summer-with-small-children-a-waldorf-perspective/  and here:   http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/06/09/midsummers-day-st-johns-tide-day/

To me, this is a very important festival.  It is the day in which the sunlight hours begin to actually decrease, and exactly a half year later we celebrate Christmas.  The book “Festivals With Children” by Brigitte Barz has many interesting suggestions regarding how to celebrate this special day and its significance.  She recommends a festival table set with a picture of St. John with a white lily to the left of the picture and a rose to the right of the picture to represent the beginning , the innocence of man versus the earth, the transformation of man into the future.

This book makes a beautiful comment about the Feast of St. John on page 74-75:

John the Baptist was the one who prepared the way for Christ.  He serves this function still today…”The way in which the inner soul of man is to be prepared is indicated by Luke’s invocation of the prophet Isaiah:  Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.  Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth.” (Luke 3:4f)  Mountains and valleys are not only external objects of nature, they are also images of conditions within the soul.  We experience them in the life of feelings, as we swing between the heights of jubilant ecstasy to the depths of depression and despair.  The task of John is to hold the balance between these two extremes…..Of course, we cannot present the powerful words of John to children, at least not their content.  However, we can provide an image for them of the path of  inner development, in the form of the lily and the rose.”

Here are some suggestions for stories and songs.  Please add your favorites in the comment box!

Summer Stories:

  • For the five and a half and six year old:  “Goldener”  and “The Three Oranges” found in “Plays For Puppets” by Bronja Zahlingen.
  • “The Castle Under The Sea” for ages 6 and up – see Main Lesson
  • A simple “Midsummer’s Eve” story of half a page can be found in the Wynstones Summer book.  It may work for ages four and up depending upon your child.
  • “Holidays” – a story in the back of “All Year Round” for the pre-school child
  • Suzanne Down had a lovely story about a fish that was in a back issue of Living Crafts…Does anyone out there remember the exact title or issue?

Stories For the Feast of St. John:

  • The Six Swans by Brothers Grimm (ages 7 and up)
  • The Goose Girl by Brothers Grimm  (ages 7 and up)
  • Faithful John (ages 9 and up)
  • The Journey To The Sun, a Slovak folktale (ages 7 and up)

(These recommendations come from the book, “The Easter Story Book” by Ineke Verschuren)

  • St. John’s Gift in the Wynstones Summer book – ages six and half and up

Songs for Summer:

Song of the Midsummer Sun found in “All Year Round” – page 106

“Over In The Meadow”

Activities:

  • A St. John’s Tide walk
  • Inner work for the adult around raising our children with reverence and gratitude
  • Making Herbal bath bags, collecting and drying herbs
  • Making rose petal jam and rose petal sandwiches  – see “All Year Round”
  • Making a gold spiral or suns to hang up – see “All Year Round”

The Nature Table:

Beehive with bees and Summer Fairies for St. John’s Tide

For a more regular summer nature display, shells, a sand castle made from starch and wet sand, little boats of bark and twigs, little birds or swans with a pond are all suggested in the book, “The Nature Corner” on page 51, older edition.

Hope that helps you get planning.  For those of you wanting to read more, there is a little book entitled simply, “St John’s:  An Introductory Reader” by Rudolf Steiner where Matthew Barton has added commentary that may be valuable to you.  An important thing for Christians to do would be to attend church and celebrate this wonderful day!

Please take what resonates with you -

Many blessings,

Carrie

About these ads

16 thoughts on “Summer Stories and Summer Nature Table

  1. St Johns Tide and Summer Solstice are not the same (as Christmas and Winter Solstice are not the same), but there are common themes running between them. Look for summer solstice crafts and stories as well if you need more ideas. Circle Round, by Starhawk, Anne Hill and Diane Baker has a number of stories and craft ideas including a retelling of the Andersen fairy tale The Twelve Swans, a folktale from Central America about the creation of the sun and the moon, turning wheel folk dances, time capsules and give aways, and some sunflower and orange crafts and recipes. Its a great resource for parents with a Pagan bent, who want an alternative to a Christian perspective regardless of their personal faith, or just want some great stories and activities. Blessed summer time!

  2. Magic Pennies

    Once upon a time, when a penny was worth a dollar and a dollar was worth a great fortune, there were three poor friends.

    Being poor back in those times was very common. There were very rich people, like kings and dukes, a few wealthy merchants and landowners and almost everyone else was poor. Being poor back in those times meant that a person had to work hard to have a small house or cottage, some furniture and a few clothes and their daily bread. There was never very much left over for anything else. Even so, people managed to have fun playing music, dancing and playing games.

    One night, it happened to be Midsummer’s Eve, these three friends were at a dance. There was a full moon shining, summer stars were twinkling brightly and the June night was already warm. When the music stopped for a little while, the three friends went to the well to get a drink of cool water. There, they had a little conversation.

    The first friend said, “I am worried about my mother. She has been getting sick pretty often this past year. Each time she is a little bit sicker. I wish I had enough money to take her to see a doctor and to buy her some medicine if she needs it.”

    “I am sorry to hear about your mother.” Said the second friend. “No one in my family is sick right now, but our house seems to be getting smaller and smaller. Maybe it’s because there are new babies all the time. I wish I had enough money to get us all our own houses.”

    “I don’t know what I would do with so much money.” Said the third friend with a laugh, “But I would sure like to find out!”

    Now there happened to be a Nixie living in this well. The three friends couldn’t see her, but she saw and heard them. The full moon was making her a little bit tipsy and she thought it would be great fun to grant all three of them their wishes.

    When the party was over, the three friends said good-bye and went to their homes.

    The first friend came to his house and to his great surprise, he found a purse lying right there on his doorstep! When he opened it, he found it was full of small gold pennies!

    The same thing happened to the second friend and to the third. The next morning all three friends met again at the well. Each had a purse of gold tucked into his pocket.

    “I had something wonderful happen to me last night.” Said the first friend.

    “Me too!”

    “So did I”
    They all reached into their pockets and pulled out their purse.

    “There must have been a good fairy listening to us last night.” Said the second friend.

    The Nixie giggled, but they couldn’t hear her.

    “Let’s wait a week or two to see if anyone claims to have lost their purse. If not, I suppose we can keep them.” Said the third friend.

    They agreed to this and went on their way.

    After a few weeks, when there was no announcement of any missing purse, the first friend took his mother to the doctor. He gave her some medicine which worked very well and she got healthy and strong again. To his great surprise, after paying the doctor his fee and paying for the medicine, his purse was just as full of gold coins as it was when he found it.

    “Well, it surely must have been a good fairy who gave me this purse!” he thought. “But I better not be foolish. I will put it away in a safe place in case there is another emergency.”

    So he put the purse away in a secret place and went on as before.

    After a few weeks, the second friend began to give his relations money to buy their own houses. He noticed that each time he gave away a few coins, there were still the same number in his purse. He was very pleased with this and he was happy to give his family money to buy whatever they needed.

    The third friend kept the purse in his pocket in case he wanted to buy something. But there was nothing he really wanted or needed for himself or his relations.

    Time went by and life became a little more difficult. There was a drought that summer and very little rain fell. The wheat did not grow and food was harder to come by.

    The first friend had put by some extra food for his mother and himself, so he continued to keep his magic purse in its secret place. Since he never opened it, he couldn’t see that the coins inside began to disappear slowly, one by one.

    The second friend bought food for his relations when they needed it. Each time he took out a coin, another appeared to take its place.

    The third friend began to see people in the town who were having a hard time getting enough to eat. He thought of a way to help them. He took a journey and came back with bags of flour and good things to make soup. He made a great big kettle of soup and baked loaves of bread each day and fed all of the hungry people who came. He was so busy that he didn’t notice that every time he bought more flour and food, the purse grew a little heavier than it had been before.

    One day, a family came into the village. There was an old man with a young wife and a beautiful child. They were dressed in rags and they had no shoes. They all looked like they had not eaten in many days.

    The family knocked on the door of the first friend and asked for a little help. The young man had become so fearful about losing his money that he had not bought any food for a long time. There was almost nothing left for his mother and himself, so he had to turn the family away.

    The family knocked on the door of the second friend and asked for a little money to find a place to spend the night. The young man felt sorry for them, but he thought to himself, “I already have so many relations I am taking care of. Who knows if the purse will keep refilling itself? I better be careful.” So he refused to help the beggars.

    Finally, the family knocked on the door of the third friend. He invited them in and gave them his own bed to sleep in. Of course, there was plenty of food to share and when they were ready to go on their way, he gave them a big handful of gold coins to take with them.

    After the beggars left the town, the first friend decided to use just one coin to buy bread for his mother and himself. But when he took the magic purse out of its hiding place, it was completely empty!

    The next time the second friend looked into his purse, it was also empty.

    But the third friend never even had time to notice that his purse kept getting fatter and fatter with magic pennies. Luckily, it was a magic purse and it grew bigger each day. Otherwise it would have burst and those magic pennies would have rolled all over the floor!

    Christine Natale
    July 1, 2010

  3. MAGIC PENNY

    Love is something if you give it away,
    Give it away, give it away,
    Love is something if you give it away,
    You end up having more.

    It’s just like a magic penny,
    Hold it tight and you won’t have any.
    Lend it, spend it and you’ll have so many
    They’ll roll all over the floor, for

    (Chorus)
    Love is something if you give it away,
    Give it away, give it away,
    Love is something if you give it away,
    You end up having more.

    Money’s dandy and we like to use it
    But love is better if you don’t refuse it,
    It’s a treasure and you’ll never lose it
    Unless you lock up your door, for

    (Chorus)
    Love is something if you give it away,
    Give it away, give it away,
    Love is something if you give it away,
    You end up having more.

    So let’s go dancing till the break of day
    And if there’s a piper, we can pay
    For love is something if you give it away
    You end up having more.

    (Chorus)
    Love is something if you give it away,
    Give it away, give it away,
    Love is something if you give it away,
    You end up having more.

    Words and music by Malvina Reynolds.
    Copyright Northern Music Co. 1955, 1958

  4. Related to the herbal bags – we used to make “Dream Pillows” – the children sewed small (6″ x 8″) squares of cotton flannel then stuffed with wool and lavender and rose petals.

    I had a little boy in one of my summer programs who had cystic fibrosis. He told his mother that if he died, he wanted to be buried with his Dream Pillow. Difficult to hear, but beautiful.

  5. Lovely suggestions. We also bring projects to do with nursing home residents. One year we did suncatchers to hang in their windows, another year we made little garden fairies to place in window plants. We always sing seasonal songs with them. Everyone knows You Are My Sunshine.

  6. I have to tell you I am falling in love. . .we are new to the Waldorf-inspired way of life. I really am enjoying this new world of pure, magical childhood. I have made a couple a play silks for my 4 year old and will be making more this week. Thank you for the ideas for this Summer. (all of the ideas from everyone are wonderful!) We created our nature table in the foyer of our home just this week, so I appreciate the ideas!

  7. Pingback: Discovering “What is a Nature Table” on Summer Solstice with Monica Ashley Designs

  8. Pingback: Summer Rhythm | The Parenting Passageway

  9. Pingback: Learn to Create a Nature Table on Summer Solstice with Monica Ashley

  10. Thank you Carrie for reminding me how peaceful and beautiful summer can be. Thank you for the adult inner work links.
    Love,
    Melanie

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s