Spirit Message of the Moment for Kids! – Fun Litha Crafts & Activities

CELEBRATE THE PAGAN HOLIDAY LITHA – THE SUMMER SOLSTICE 2013

Celebrate Litha With These Small Children Activities 
Litha is a Pagan Sabbat honoring the Goddess as the Mother, the God as the Father, and tlitha_enhancedheir children or the child in all of us. Here are some activities to help Pagan Parents include their small children in the celebration. Head out into the back yard and enjoy the day!

Earth Puppets
Materials: Use natural items found in the yard, tape, and glue.

The easiest kind of puppets can be made from a twig. Select a twig that forks. You now have 2 arms and a handle to hold the puppet with. Find a fallen flower, and tape the stem to the handle for the head. You can also tape the stem of a fallen leaf to the handle for the head. For clothpinecone funing, wrap a leaf around the handle, and your puppet has natural summer wear.

Another puppet can be made with a pine cone. Glue the pine cone to the forked twig, for the head. Dried and fresh grass make loads of hair styles, beards, and mustaches. Use seeds or small rocks for eyes, nose, and mouth. Make clothing out of leaves and bonnets out of flower petals or acorn caps. Use a large box or table for the stage, and enjoy the show.

Vegetable Tray Puppets 
Materials: Large carrots, popsicle sticks, cream cheese, raisins or olives, celery, parsley, green beans, radishes, cauliflower buds, broccoli buds, cucumber spears, any other desired vegetable, and cheese slices.

Having trouble getting the younger children to eat their vegetables? Let them play with their food! Peel several large carrots and cut off both ends. With a paring knife (adults only) cut a slit in the bottom of the larger end. Place several carrots on a plate. On a serving tray, in the middle place a small bowl of cream cheese, and surround with “garnishing vegetables”. Cut cheese slices lengthwise to strips of hair.  Insert popsicle stick in the slit in a carrot. Using the cream cheese as glue, attach raisins or olives as eyes, and other assorted vegetables as arms, legs, hair, etc. Let the child(ren) put on a mealtime play before eating the characters. Lots of fun for the whole family! 

Treasure Boxes 
Materials: Sturdy cardboard box, natural items for dSHOEBOXecoration, white glue, med-size paint brush.

This little box is for the youngster to collect “treasured” memories from summer. Start with a large shoe box and lid. Let the child collect some items from the yard, the park, and/or the beach. Glue flat items to the box, and place the non-flat items inside. To give the box a more durable finish, brush on a coat of white glue diluted with water. Encourage the child to tell stories of where the different items came from, or make up stories about the contents.

Wheelbarrow Planter 
Materials: 1 plastic detergent scoop, 2 large brightly colored buttons, white glue, 1 cup potting soil, seeds.

Take the plastic detergent scoop and poke a couple of small holes in the bottom (adults only!) with a nail or a needle. Let each child pick out two brightly colored buttons for the wheels. Glue wheels onto the sides of the scoop so that it sits at an angle. Once the glue has dried, let the child pour 1/2 cup of potting soil in the scoop, place in a couple of seeds around the sides of the scoop, and pour in the rest of the soil. Slowly add water to the soil until soaked through. Place on small dish in sunny spot. Watch the new life grow from the seeds and spring forth from the soil just as life springs forth from the Goddess.

Litha Spiral Candles 
Materials: Decorating wax strips or preprinted wax logs, plain ball or short pillar candle(s), craft or butter knife.

Have your child choose a couple of colored wax strip combinations. Cut each strip into 2 pieces 2 3/4″ long and on piece that is 2″ long. Lay a short length of one color over a longer length of another color and roll them into a tight spiral log, 1/2″ in diameter by 11/2″ long. When you’ve got eight logs use the knife (adults or older children) to cut each log into as many slices as you can. Firmly press the wax slices all around the outside of the candle, starting at the base and working up. Continue placing the slices as close together as possible until the whole candle is covered.

Stained Glass Sun Catchers
Materials:Wax paper, crayon shavingsSTAINEDGLASSFISH, colored string, yarn, or thread, lace, leaves, flower petals.

To begin, have the child empty crayon shavings from their sharpener, or (adults only!) use a paring knife to create shavings. A cheese grater works great for large crayons. Arrange shavings, and any of the accessory items the child chooses and sandwich between two sheets of wax paper. Iron (adults, of course) the whole package on low setting, just until the shavings melt. Cut the “stained glass” into shapes and hang them with stringcrayonleaves, in a sunny window.

Fairies’ Feathered Friend Feeder 
Materials: An empty milk carton, nontoxic paint, glitter, white glue, popsicle sticks, 10″ wooden dowel w/ 1/4″ diameter, wire hanger (cut bottom of hanger for inserting into milk carton), birdseed.

Rinse out milk carton thoroughly. Do not completely open top, rather glue open spout bBIRDFEEDER2ack together. Cut 3″ wide by 4″ long arched openings on “spout” side and opposite side of carton, with base of opening approx. 3″ from bottom of carton. Let the child paint the outside of the carton in Litha colors of red, yellow, orange, white, green. Before the paint dries let child sprinkle colored glitter all over the carton, (birds are attracted to shiny objects). Let carton dry. Glue painted or non-painted popsicle stick shingles onto the top of the carton as a roof. For the peBIRDFEEDER1rches, poke holes in the carton just below the openings, and slip the wooden dowel through the holes. Poke two holes in the top of the carton just under the roof, insert one end of the cut hanger into each hole. Fill the bottom of the carton with wild birdseed. Hang in a spot that is easy to view, but far enough away from fences or other objects to thwart predators. Tell child how fairies, brownies, and sprites ride on the backs of birds to get from one place to another if it is too far to walk.

Excerpts from: Akasha Ap, The Celtic Connection

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Spirit Message of the Moment for KIDS! Tips for Pagan Parents

Raising Pagan Children
As more people embrace earth-based spiritual paths, it’s becoming more common to find Pagans who are rearing children in their faith. Learn tips and tricks for raising Pagan kids, and living as a Pagan 68494_393338574078814_641511651_nfamily — how can you celebrate the Sabbats in a kid-friendly fashion, deal with teachers who may be insensitive to your beliefs, and raise well-adjusted kids in a non-mainstream religion?

How to Keep Your Kids Included in Pagan Practice
As the modern Pagan movement progresses and evolves, the Pagan community has grown to encompass people of all age levels. Those who discovered Paganism as teens or college students two or three decades ago are now raising their own children, and so the demographic within the Pagan community is constantly changing. It’s not uncommon at all to meet families in which one or both parents are Pagans or Wiccans, and they may have kids who follow a variety of religious paths.

One of the questions that arises, though, is that of how to include children in Pagan practice. After all, it’s not as though there’s a Pagan version of Sunday school for us to send our kids off to. Don’t worry, though — there are a number of different ways you can include your kids in your Pagan beliefs, and get them involved. Although the type of activity you do with them may vary based upon age levels, you can always find some way to incorporate Pagan values and beliefs into your kids’ lives.

Activity:
Do a hands-on nature project. Take a hike in the woods, gather found objects like pinecones and fallen twigs. Bring them home and put them together in a glass vase or some other centerpiece.
Teaching moment:
Talk about the cycles of the season, and how all of nature is tied together. Depending on the time of year, discuss the phases of life, death, and rebirth in the natural world.

Activity:
Make a wand. Even a small child can decorate a stick with glitter.
Teaching moment: Use this opportunity to help your child learn about directing energy. Help him or her visualize energy as something they can control using the wand to direct it.

Activity:
Create a felt board. Cut out shapes of Pagan symbols, gods and goddesses of your tradition, or magical tools out of scraps of craft felt, and help your child place them on the board.
Teaching moment:
Encourage imagination — your child can use the felt board and pieces to illustrate a story of her own about the deities, magic, or the world in general.

374988_504680596258235_1741713014_nActivity:
Let your kids have an altar. Allow your child to create an altar space of his own, with the gods and goddesses of your family’s tradition. If you don’t follow a specific path, let him put things on their altar such as found items, natural goodies, and items of comfort.
Teaching moment:
Letting your child have his own altar shows them that their needs are valued as much as anyone else’s in the family. It gives them a space that is private and sacred of their very own.

Activity:
School-age children can often participate in rituals, if they have a decent attention span. You know your child better than anyone, and if you think she is capable of taking a ritual role, then encourage that.
Teaching moment:
This helps your child develop a feel for ritual procedure, as well as proper behavior in a ritual setting. Equally important, it lets her know that her participation in family activities is valued.

Activity:
Encourage your child to learn about the deities of your family’s tradition. There are countless books about the mythology and legends of the Greeks, the Celts, the Romans, the Egyptians, and others. Keep a good library of Pagan-friendly books on hand, and spend some time reading together as well.
Teaching moment: You’re never too young to do a little research. Giving kids the tools to read and grow can’t hurt at all, and it allows them to take some ownership of their spiritual education.

Activity:
If your teen is up to the task, ask him to write a ritual of his own, with only as much help as he needs. Teenagers are surprisingly inventive, and can come up with some amazing ideas. Pick a Sabbat or other event, and have your teen create a ceremony that the whole family can participate in.
Teaching moment:
Not only does this encourage creative thinking, it helps develop leadershi429114_518114268218987_1052501254_np skills. It’s never too soon to get a chance at being in charge.

Activity:
Kids of any age can get involved with Sabbat-themed craft ideas. Try some of our different Sabbat crafts to celebrate the ever-changing Wheel of the Year, and use these to decorate your home and altar.
Teaching moment:
By doing hands-on projects related to the various Sabbats, kids can get a better feel for what the Pagan celebrations really mean. Depending on your tradition, incorporate craft projects into stories, legends, and mythology.
Finally, remember that the best way to set a good example of Pagan practice for your kids is to show them yourself. If you want to stress values such as being kind to others, respecting the earth, and living a magical life each day, then do so. Your kids will see your behavior and emulate it themselves.

Ten Activities for Pagan Kids
For many Pagans and Wiccans, it’s hard to find kid-friendly activities that celebrate our spiritual path. Believe it or not, sharing your beliefs with your kids is easier than you think. After all, you’re the parent, so you can lead by example. Show your children what you do, and they’ll emulate you in their own way. Teaching by doing is the key. By living a Pagan life, you’ll show your kids what it means to be Pagan or Wiccan or whatever your family’s path is. These very simple activities are easy enough that you can do them with nearly any child, so have fun with them!

1. Make a Wand
What’s not to love about making your own wand? Take your kids out in the woods for a nature walk, and ask them to keep an eye on the ground for the “right” stick. The wand should be about the same length as the child’s forearm. Once your child has a stick, bring it home and decorate it with flowers, ribbons, glitter, even crystals. Hold a consecration ceremony so your child can claim the wand as his or her own.

484096_450647788315882_526427266_n2. Drumming
Everyone likes to drum, and the louder the better. If you don’t have a professional drum, don’t worry — that’s why the gods made coffee cans. Let your kids experiment with containers of different sizes and shapes, and see which ones make the most interesting sounds. Fill an empty water bottle with dried beans to make an impromptu rattle. Two thick dowels tapped together make a percussion instrument as well. Have a family drum circle night, and let everyone bang away to raise energy.

3. Meditation
Sure, the idea of teaching a toddler to meditate sounds crazy, but you’d be surprised what kids can do if they’re interested. Even if it’s just two minutes lying in the grass looking at trees, it’s not a bad idea to start your youngsters meditating early. By the time they get to be adults with stressful lives, meditation will be second nature to them. Use breathing as a way of teaching counting to small children. Elementary-school age kids can usually handle a ten- to fifteen-minute guided meditation.

4. My Very Own Altar
If you have a family altar, that’s great! Encourage your kids to have an altar of their own in their bedrooms — this is the place they can put all the things that are special to them. While you may not want a tribe of Ninja Turtles on your family altar, if your son says they’re his Personal Guardians, give him his own place to put them! Add to the collection with interesting things your child finds on nature walks, shells from trips to the beach, family photos, etc. Be sure that young children don’t have candles or incense on their altar.

5. Moon Crafts
Kids love the moon, and they love to wave at it and say hello to it (my oldest claimed the moon as her own when she was five). If your family does any sort of moon rituals, such as an Esbat Rite or New Moon ceremony, have the kids decorate a mirror with lunar symbols, or make a Moon Braid to hang in a window, and use it on your altar during family moon celebrations. Bake a batch of Moon Cookies to use during Cakes & Ale ceremonies.

6. God’s Eyes
These are an easy decoration to make and can be adapted seasonally, simply b522290_552860944740192_1779391917_ny using different colors. All you need is a pair of sticks and some yarn or ribbon. Make a God’s Eye in yellows or reds for solar celebrations, green and brown for an earth ceremony, or in the colors of your family’s household deities. Hang them on a wall or place on an altar.

7. Salt Dough Ornaments
Salt dough is one of the easiest things in the world to make, and you can create just about anything from it. You can follow our easy Salt Dough recipe, and use it with cookie cutters to make your own Sabbat ornaments. After your ornaments have cooled, paint them and decorate with your favorite Pagan and Wiccan symbols.
After you’ve painted them, seal them with clear varnish. If you’re planning to hang them, poke a hole through the ornament BEFORE baking them. Then after you’ve varnished them, run a ribbon or thread through the hole.

8. Wheel of the Year Journal
Get your child a blank notebook, and have them keep track of the patterns of nature. Note the dates that the first buds appear in spring, when birds begin to migrate, and when the weather changes. If your child is old enough to surf the Internet, have him predict the weather for the next few days and then compare it to your local weather forecast — and then see who’s right! As the Wheel of the Year turns, your child can help you prepare for upcoming Sabbat celebrations.

9. Mythic Tales
Many parents aren’t really sure how to incorporate their Pagan beliefs into their children’s upbringing, so story time is a great way to do this. Teach your child the myths and legends of your pantheon. Storytelling is an age-old tradition, so why not use it to educate your kids about what you believe? Tell them tales of gods and heroes, fairies, and even your own ancestors.

541919_10151168294597477_1096741949_n10. Singing and Chanting
There are a ton of great songs out there for Pagan kids, and most of them are really simple. You can make up your own with some simple rhymes and a little bit of ingenuity. Clap your hands, stomp your feet, and celebrate the gifts of the earth. If you want to find pre-recorded music for your kids, read some of the Pagan and Wiccan magazines; there are nearly always ads for Pagan musicians and their work.

Recommended Reading for Pagan Parents
• Madden, Kristin: Pagan Parenting. Madden’s book focuses looks at the development of kids from birth onward. She includes tips on how to encourage your children’s psychic and magickal abilities, as well as teaching them rituals and meditation skills.
• Serith, Ceisiwr: The Pagan Family. Serith looks at raising a family in non-mainstream religions, and offers dozens of excellent suggestions on how to incorporate Pagan beliefs into day-to-day living. This book is presently out of print, but it pops up a lot on used-book lists, so keep an eye out for it.
• Starhawk: Circle Round – Raising Children in Goddess Traditions. Starhawk and fellow authors Anne Hill and Diane Baker include numerous ideas for each Sabbat, life milestones, and craft and recipe ideas. This book offers some excellent suggestions for families trying to instill Pagan beliefs into their children.

Excerpts from Patti Wigington

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Spirit Message of the Day for KIDS! – Sunny Garden Crafts

A CHILDREN’S GARDEN: 7 Sunny Garden Crafts

Treat your backyard as an extension of your home and decorate it with these clever family craft projects.

BUMPER CROP
Create a children’s garden in old toys. Bonus feature: You can wheel them in and out of the sunlight when necessary. Use a metal drill bit to create drainage holes about 6″ apart, and cover with screen mesh to prevent any loss of soil.

LIGHT BRIGHT
Paint plastic jars with outdoor craft paint and create a handle with colorful wire (12-gauge colored wire, $6; jamaligarden.com). Use a battery-powered candle to illuminate the lantern at night and explore your backyard’s wildlife

WHEELY CUTE
Use vinyl sheeting to make a classic lawn ornament that can survive the elements. What You’ll Need: Thick plastic or vinyl sheeting (available at fabric stores), scissors, 1/4″ hole punch, skewers, glue, 2″-long nail (shank should be less than 1/4″ in diameter), hammer, hot-glue gun, 1″-thick dowel, button.

Make It

1. Cut two 8″x8″ vinyl squares and stack with one on top of the other.

2. Cut 4 1/2″ slits from each corner toward the center through both squares. Punch a hole to the right of each slit near upper edge.

3. Trim four skewers to 5″ and glue between the layers of vinyl to the left of each slit. This keeps the points of the pinwheel from folding in.

4. Punch a hole in the center of the two stacked squares using a nail. Fold all hole-punched flaps up to the center hole, line up the holes, and insert the nail through all four holes.

5. Hammer nail into side of the dowel, then hot-glue button to nail head.

SET IN STONE
Use rock-garden markers to label plants and herbs. What You’ll Need: Large, smooth stones, fabric scraps, pinking shears, letter stamps, VersaCraft ink pad ($8; rubberstampplace.com), iron, craft glue, outdoor matte or glossy varnish (Delta Ceramcoat Protect Exterior/Interior Varnish, $4; sears .com), brush

Make It

1. Cut fabric with pinking shears so that it mostly covers the top of the stone.

2. Stamp name of plant on fabric and let dry. Iron to set ink.

3. Put 3 to 4 small dots of glue around the edge of the back of the fabric and set on top of the stone.

4. Brush a thick coat of varnish over fabric and down and around edges of the rock. Let dry completely. Repeat with a second coat and let dry.

TWEET TREAT
Feed the feathered friends in your yard with this cool canopy bird feeder. To watch a how-to video, download our tablet edition at parents.com/digital or go to parents.com/bird-feeder. What You’ll Need: Bamboo bowl (Bamboo Studio 7″ square bowls, $7 for eight; internatural.com), bamboo plate (Bamboo Studio 11″ round plates, $9 for eight; internatural.com), outdoor craft paint, paintbrush, 1/8″ hole punch, colored twine, scissors, colored beads, sharp tool, tacky glue

Make It

1. Paint the bottom of the bowl and the bottom of the plate. Let dry.

2. With a hole punch, punch holes in the corners of the bowl. Cut four lengths of twine (2 to 3 feet long) and thread twine down through the holes; knot securely underneath.

3. Thread small beads onto each strand to rest at each corner of the bowl. Tie all four strands together with a knot about 6″ above the top rim of bowl.

4. Poke a hole in the center of the plate with sharp object. Make sure hole is big enough so that all strands of twine can feed through it. Insert strands into hole in plate and let it rest on knot.

5. Glue beads in desired pattern around the twine, with one bead in the center; thread strands through center bead.

JOY STICKS
Paint 14″- to 18″-long sticks and hammer them into the ground about 3″ apart with a rubber mallet. Weave thin nylon rope through them to create a colorful border for your garden.

INTO THE WIND
Listen to the tinkling sounds of buttons, bells, and bottle caps with this outdoor chime. What You’ll Need: Bottle caps (crown bottle caps, $3 to $4 for 50; amazon.com), outdoor craft paint (optional), paintbrush (optional), fishing line, scissors, bells, tacky glue, buttons, 4″-tall flowerpot (plastic or ceramic) with a hole in the bottom, hot-glue gun

Make It

1. Paint bottle caps in the colors of your choice. Let dry. (Skip this step if buying colored bottle caps.)

2. Cut seven 18″ pieces of fishing line. Tie a bell to the end of each strand.

3. Put a dot of tacky glue on bottle cap, set the fishing line in the glue (starting about an inch above the bell), and sandwich it with a button. Repeat five or six times per strand, about 12″ up the piece of fishing line. Let dry.

4. Feed the ends of all strands through the holes of a large button (it must be bigger than the pot’s drainage hole) and secure with a knot about 4 1/2″ above the top bottle cap. Feed the strands up through the drainage hole.

5. So that the strands don’t cluster in the middle, hot-glue fishing line to the inside edge of the pot, evenly spaced around the circumference.

6. Tie another piece of fishing line in a tight knot to the top to hang.

Article by Amanda Kingloff