“King Winter is now in the land He reigns with cold and freezing hand.
He makes Jack Frost touch nose and toe, and brings us bright and shiny snow.”
We have found poems and verses – a rich activity to share together as a family is to follow the seasons of the year. But not only us, Waldorf classes all round the world know the fun of exploring them in verse, poem, activity and song and usually begin their day with this as a focus.
Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we are in the cold and often grey days of January when we long for the magic of some frost and snow. Coloured hats, gloves and scarves all lend themselves to the joy of being outside and reading what the season has to tell us.
This month we only have one festival to celebrate and that is ‘Three Kings Day’ – or ‘Epiphany’ as it’s also called. Three Kings Day marks the end of the Christmas season. It’s the day following the last of the 12 Holy Nights. This is the day that celebrates the Magi’s part in the Christmas story where they set out to follow a star that led them to Bethlehem where they saw the newly born baby Jesus. On this day the tree is taken down and the last of the decorations put away for another year. Rooms suddenly feel bare and seem larger.
From there we begin slowly moving towards February and Candlemas Day when we await the gradual re-awakening of the earth. But that’s moving on too quickly. For now, we must do this journey of darkness and bareness and focus our gaze inwards to see what we can learn.
How to make fat balls for birds
A lovely craft activity you can do in this month is… taking care of our birds. We just LOVE giving nature a home and encouraging wildlife into the garden. Making homemade fat balls for garden birds is a great nature craft for children which, not only keeps them fed but also goes to help sustain wild birds and other creatures over the cold winter months.
What you’ll need:
- 1 cup wild bird seed
- 1/2 cup porridge oats
- 1/2 cup peanuts – make sure they’re unsalted (natural peanuts)
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 150g lard
- 3 silicone muffin cases (or use empty yogurt pots)
- 3 lengths of ribbon for hanging the fat balls from the trees
- Mixing Bowl
How to make fat balls for birds:
It’s really easy to make our bird feeder ball or bird cake – it’s a great nature craft for kids to help out with.
Prepare the muffin cases ready for the bird cake Pierce a small hole in the muffin cases (or yogurt pots) and thread through a loop of ribbon – tie it in a knot – this will hang the fat balls from the trees.
Mix up the bird seed cake recipe. Melt the lard in a small saucepan over a low heat (children will need supervision with this part). Put the seeds, porridge oats, peanuts, and raisins into a mixing bowl. Pour the melted lard into the mixing bowl (again supervise young children with this part). Mix the seeds and lard together with a spoon – if the mixture seems to sloppy add in some more seeds – however be careful it’s not too dry or it won’t set well.
Step Three: Put the birds cake mixture into the muffin cases or yogurt pots. Pack the seed mixture tightly into the muffin cases/yoghurt pots, pressing it down so that it sets well and stays stuck together.
Step Four: Chill the bird cake in the fridge Put the fat balls into the fridge and allow them to set overnight.
Step Five: To hang the fat cakes for birds from the trees remove the fat balls from the fridge, pop them out of the cases (or cut off the yogurt pots with scissors if you used them instead) Hang them from the trees in the garden.
Have fun and enjoy watching the baby birds who will come to visit.
Why not reflect on the past month, by listening to Wilded Family’s – January’s affirmations for the soul. Use this song to meditate, reflect or in circle time to bring the feeling of the season home.
All our love, Helen.