Circle and Movement Games

Transforming Circle Time for Mixed-Age Groups By Rahima Baldwin Dancy

Transforming Circle Time for Mixed-Age Groups

By Rahima Baldwin Dancy

The Play's the Thing: "Spontaneous Theater" with Mixed Ages By Faith Collins

The Play's the Thing: "Spontaneous Theater" with Mixed Ages

By Faith Collins

What can we do to promote imaginative play in young children?  How can we encourage and facilitate children playing together in ways that everyone enjoys?  How do we help integrate the play of mixed-age groups?  How can we increase our enjoyment of spending our time with the children?  There are many answers to each of these questions, but one way I’ve found to affect all of these is to engage in what I call "spontaneous theater" with the children.

Thoughts About Circle Time By Sharifa Oppenheimer

Thoughts about Circle Time with Older Children

by Sharifa Oppenheimer

Sharifa shares from her extensive work with kinder-garten-aged children:

Circle Time has always been one of my favorite times of the day.  What I love is that Circle Time incorporates many of the elements we strive to bring to young children throughout the day, all in one lovely and lively experience!

May Day and Maypole Dancing, by Mara Spiropoulos, Sarah Baldwin and Max Alexander

Editor's Note: To kick off May, albeit a bit late, I asked members of the LifeWays community to share how they celebrate festivals with chidlren. Sarah Baldwin, owner of Bella Luna Toys and author of Moonchild Blog, and Sarah's husband, Max Alexander, were kind enough to contribute pictures.

May Day and Maypole Dancing

We celebrate May Day to commemorate the beginning of spring, a renewal of energy and life, and a rejuvenation of our spirits.  A popular way to celebrate is through creating and dancing around a Maypole. The Maypole is a tall pole decorated with flowers and greenery and festooned with ribbons that the dancers will then weave as they dance. This dance has been performed to celebrate spring and ensure the fertility that comes with the season.

Autumn Story Poem (with Finger Puppets!)

Here is a little autumn story poem for autumn harvest days.  I make apple finger puppets to help make this visual.  Just draw a small fingertip size apple – cut 2 out with red felt, add a brown stem and green leaf…easy!  Sew around it, leaving room for your finger at the bottom.  This one is so easy you can make many!!  You will need 3 apple finger puppets for this puppet poem story.

          One little apple hanging on a tree,
          It fell down and bumped my knee!
          Another little apple as rosy as a rose,
          It fell down and bumped my nose!
          Another little apple, ripe and sweet,
          It fell down and bumped my feet!
          It rolled and rolled nearly to my house,
          Where it was spotted by a tiny little mouse.
          “This yummy apple will make a fine meal,”
          And he munch munch munched it, even the peel.

The First Hike of Spring, by Esther Leisher


Some celebrations can be so fun and so simple-- not much more than the highlighting of a special day. One of the simplest at our house was celebrating the first hike of spring. All we did was to make a hobo bag for each of us, then go off on the first hike of spring, celebrating Nature’s awakening, and delighting in the increasing light and warmth. We used bandanas (but you could use large cloth napkins) to wrap our lunch in and knotted each onto a dead branch or old sunflower stalk sanded where you hold it. These were our hobo sticks, which each person carried over their shoulder. I carried the extras -- water bottles or whatever -- in a backpack.

The Art of Re-Direction, by Faith Collins

Taming the Wild Beasts

          What I want to talk about here is the art of re-direction. That’s a large part of what positive discipline is: instead of saying what NOT to do, say what you DO want your child to do. This can be very straightforward (“Please talk in a soft voice”), but it can also be creative, and here is where you can really learn to enjoy being with young children in a whole new way. My first exposure to this was when I was first considering working in early childhood, and I was observing a kindergarten class at a Waldorf school in Colorado. It was a class of 18 children, and during the free-play time there was a group of four 5-year-old boys who were playing that they were a pack of wild dogs. They roamed wildly around the classroom, growling and barking and wreaking havoc on the games others were playing. 

Turning On the Heater--A Dragon Ceremony, by Esther Leisher

Here in Colorado, Autumn swept in with a snowy Bang this week!  I love this idea of making a fabulous ritual out of turning on the heater for the first time in the fall, with its imagery of the dragon warming us!        -Faith


Part I, The Dragon/Heater Celebration
from Esther Leisher
Family life, and life in general, is enormously enriched if we remember to create special moments. Those moments can be festivals or holidays that much of the world is celebrating, or they can be unique to your family. Some may be so simple that you hardly know what to call them. Here are some of the ideas I had for the celebration of everyday things--turning on the heater for winter, the first hike of spring, pulling the first carrot out of the garden, celebrating an abundance of sunflowers.

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