This was our first real attempt at having a seasonal nature table on display. While he didn’t work with the table terribly often, my son did enjoy it when he did, and we had some thoughtful conversations about Holy Week and Pascha while he worked with the material. I enjoyed having it in the house. The stone path idea was inspired by this Advent calendar. The Pascha items were inspired by these wonderful Holy Week lessons. The wooden cross is apparently a traditional Romanian style, given to me by a friend. I found the tree/cave on etsy, and I loved using the air plants as vegetation!
My son measures days by how many ‘sleeps’ it will be until a certain event. He also asks the days of the weeks but has a hard time keeping track of them. I adapted this idea of a color-coded calendar by using the liturgical colors (this liturgical color wheel is fabulous) that we’ve been discussing all year in our pre-k class. I tried to use what seemed like the most appropriate color for each day based upon the seven day weekly commemoration (Sunday- White for Resurrection, Monday- Gold for Angels, etc.) I’ve been surprised at how quickly he has latched onto this idea. Of course, the calendar would go perfectly with the songs from the Garden of the Theotokos CD (if I can ever find my copy amongst my many piles). I hope to find a way to improve this calendar when I have time and am open to your suggestions! To make it, I opened a new calendar in Word, selected each column and filled with the designed color, and typed the commemoration at the end of the column. I’m sorry I don’t have a printable to offer you, but it’s quite simple to do!
My son’s talented grandma made this small play censer for him. She wove a small basket and lid from reeds, spray painted them gold, and then added gold beads as embellishment, jingle bells, and a gold plastic chain. My son is using a black duplo block as charcoal. It is absolutely delightful to watch him censing his icons and our home. Sometimes we take it to our weekday church class and the other little boys also love to use it. (The girls haven’t been interested!)
We are preparing for Theophany tomorrow, and I’ve finally assembled a simple album of our baptisms and our godchildren’s baptisms (as well as weddings and churchings) to share with our son on Theophany and throughout the year. I used Fotor’s collage tool to assemble simple pages (one for each event) and then printed them on photo paper. I found the idea in Elizabeth White’s book. A second set was sent to godchildren and godparents – baptisms and weddings from California to Wyoming and South Dakota to Texas and Pennsylvania… It’s quite beautiful and touching to gather all of the memories into one special album!
My son has also been greatly enamored of drawing in and creating little homemade booklets the last few days. I suggested we do a Theophany booklet and he chose to draw grass (ie, basil for house blessings), an empty bowl, a censer, a bowl with water and ‘grass’ in it, and an altar cloth. It’s quite adorable. We may do another one of small paper icons pasted into a booklet. I’m astounded at how the new format of a booklet has ignited his desire to draw and then tell the stories of the booklets.
I’d love to hear any of your Theophany traditions and activities as well!
Kids love to plant things, don’t they? This fall as I’m beginning my very first pre-k catechism class (based on this beautiful, deep curriculum), we have been focusing on seeds in preparation for learning about some of Christ’s parables. Forcing paperwhite bulbs to grow in mere water is so easy to do and provides quick gratification. I bought mine at a local garden center. The little white pointed roots appeared within a few days and quickly entangled the rocks they sat upon. I also have crocus and hyacinth bulbs hibernating in the fridge and will try forcing them in water later this winter.
I also saved the seeds from our Halloween pumpkin (I’m not a big fan of creepy Halloweens but it is fun for little ones to cut open a pumpkin and see all the seeds!). We planted them right along the side of a clear cup and had a wonderful view of the sprouting process. Now we are watching the roots grow.
I’m enjoying this seed and root work quite a bit!