Focus: To create awareness of evergreen trees, bird songs, and bird coloration.

This is a beautiful story for the winter season. Its original version is about Joseph and Mary and the Christmas story, but I have changed it in order to be all-inclusive, while still keeping the essence of the tale intact.

Playing with the story:

  • Find evergreen trees. Then notice trees in the dead of winter that are not evergreen.
  • Notice how trees change throughout the seasons.
  • Do some trees have branches that bend over? Do others have branches that point up to the sky? What else can you discover about trees?
  • Make a collection of leaves.
  • Create a simple ceremony of bringing gifts to the animal and plant people.
  • Look for Robin Redbreast. Does he really have a red breast? Are there any birds that are only brown?
  • Watch Robin Redbreast to see what he eats.
  • What birds sing in your area? Go out at different times of the day and listen to the birds’ voices. Listen at night for the birds singing.
  • Where safe and appropriate, and with adult supervision, make a fire. See if you need to fan it to get started.

Song:

The North Wind Doth Blow

The North wind doth blow and the rain it shall flow

And what will the Robin do then, the dear thing?

It’ll cuddle with its friends in the tree as it bends,

And wait till the Sun it does glow, the dear thing.

American Robin

Here is a very simple game that first you play with yourself and, if your child is old enough, you can play it the way it is shared here, with them. You then take this outside to all of your nature adventures and see what arises from doing something a little different.

And, I have a wish too for us all: May we all allow ourselves to soak up Summer’s warmth and slower pace so deeply that we can lean into it during the darker times of the year when warmth and ease are not always so readily available.

Playing with noticing

  1. Below are some photos of summer fun, summer sun, summer treasures. Before you take a full look at these pictures:
    • Sit still and take a moment to breath 1 to 3 easy breaths
    • Breath without thought
  2. Then, take your time, look at one photo at a time:
    • Notice what thoughts, sensations, feelings, memories arise
  3. Do the same for each photo
  4. Then, take another set of 1 to 3 breaths allowing your experience to settle in and then go about your day.
  5. Now, when you are having fun with your child outdoors, watch them experience their way of being with the sand, water, grass, pool, or any other adventure you are taking outdoors. Notice how they think, feel or sense their time with sand, wind, water, earth, stone, grasses, etc.
  6. Do you notice their presence in their experiences? If they are complaining can you slow them down a little bit by inviting them to really feel, smell, taste, and hear what they are having fun or no fun with???

Reason behind this?

  1. To create more ability to be in the present and to notice what feels good, what doesn’t, and what you like, don’t like and are neutral about.
  2. To develop a deep relationship with nature, with anything, requires slowing down and truly experiencing it. To really be with something is no longer so common, yet, it is REALLY FUN when we give ourselves freedom to take small moments to do so.

This can be done anywhere, anytime, with anything. It is a Door Way to fun for you and fun for your children. It is about slowing down just a bit and truly receiving the simple pleasures of a moment, of a season.

starfish on sand

beach cave

starfish

sandcastle

 

I heard this story told by Patrick the Storyteller from Sedona, Arizona

Focus:

  • To bring awareness to The Story in all things
  • To develop good relationships with spiders
  • To develop a curiosity and desire to get to know the natural world

This is a pourquoi (por-kwa) tale. Pourquoi is French for “Why” and these tales are old legends told to explain why certain events happened. They often start with the past and end when all explanations are complete.

Personal Comments:

I use this pourquoi tale at the beginning of a storytelling session, at the beginning of a new school year or at the beginning of a new season. Any new beginning can be enhanced with the telling of this tale. It can lead you to discover the story that wishes to be heard, for all things have a story to tell.

Playing with the story:

  • Whatever treasures you and the children find can lead to questions. “What is the story here? How did these leaves get so green? Did the fairies come and paint them in the early morning?” “NO!” a child might say. “They got green because…” Write down the children’s stories to read and reread together.
  • When you are outdoors, invite the children to sit still, even if just for a moment. Ask if they can “hear” a story — in the wind, in the trees, in a bird singing. (I do this a lot, just settling down in a quiet place. After a time, one by one, the children come and sit by me. Soon we are all sitting there, being still. Always, some magical event takes place; a hawk flying directly above our heads, a snake slithering out of the bushes, a spider spinning its web. It is delightful to watch children suddenly see something that has been there, unnoticed, all along.)
  • Find places where spiders live. Ask: How many spiders can you find? What kind of web does it make? How many different webs can you find?
  • Look up at the clouds. What do you see?
  • Find coyote tracks or look at birds and how they fly.
  • Find nearby ponds or puddles. Ask: Can you see your own reflection?
  • Make up stories and names for the plants, bugs and trees you discover. Have the children tell a story or choose their own name for trees or plants. Make a picture map of where all these things are, and walk to all the places on your picture map while telling the story of each one.

frog in a child's hands. Photo by Wendolyn Bird.