Lammas is a great sabbat. Traditionally, we honor the first harvest and often the Celtic God, Lugh. Mama Stacey likes to honor the sun, the garden, and the sea. Corn, grains, berries, honey, herbs, and anything overflowing in the garden (like tomato and zucchini) are traditional for this holiday.
One can know all of that and still have no idea how to honor the holiday with young ones. My advice for parents of Pagan toddlers is that babies need to experience a holiday, not hear about it. You can try and teach the names of gods and the magickal properties of wheat and basil, but there is very little chance that it will stick. Knowledge like that takes time, exposure, and repetition. What toddlers need is music, food, and to work with their hands.
Here are 8 suggestions for celebrating Lammas with infants and toddlers.
1. CORN SHAKERS - These honor the corn aspect and make a pretty cool noisemaker. These can be used in a family ritual to raise energy, around the drum circle to add some zest to the rhythm, or shaken to cheer on your team at the Tailteann Games. You will need 6oz water bottles, harvest colored ribbon, and popcorn kernals. For full instructions and other needed materials, visit Pre-K Pages.
2. MAKING CLAY SUN DISKS - The golden rays of the sun are bringing the harvest to fruition. It is because of this yellowing of fields and the heat of August that we honor the Sun. Use the salt dough recipe found on Twig and Toadstool, or use your favorite bake-able dough. You will need salt, flour, acrylic paints, and a coat of varnish.
3. YARN-WRAPPED HONEY BEES - These honor the labor of the honey bee. Honey's golden color makes it the perfect sweetener for Lammas. It also blends wonderfully with berries and bread, two traditional Lammas foods. Talk to your children about the importance of bees and leave out some honey on your altar to acknowledge their sacrifice. To make these, gather up yellow and black yarn, cardboard, and googly-eyes. The tutorial at Housing a Forest uses old book pages for wings, but I'd personally use parchment or wax paper.
4. CORN STALK FOOTPRINTS - These are cute and seasonal. This flexible craft is easy to do with newborns on up through adults. You could even make a cute "family stalk" starting with parents on the bottom and children on up to the top. You will need yellow art paint, construction paper, and a little patience to get this one done. Check out the tutorial at House of Baby Piranha for full instructions.
5. SUMMER FLOWER PRINTING - Wild flowers are all in season at Lammas time. Take a walk, pick some late summer blooms, and sit down to create some sacred art. You will need some art paint, white paper, and lots of space to get messy. An art smock wouldn't hurt. Find out all about this project from Learning 4 Kids.
6. BERRY PICKING - Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries... there's probably a pick-your-own farm near you. Give your toddler a basket and let them go nuts. This is a great exercise in learning where our food comes from, but also one in farm etiquette. Help your child stick to the rows, pick only what's ripe, and know beforehand that they WILL get dirty and sticky. Check Me Plus 3 Today's tips for going berry picking with toddlers before you head out.
7. LAMMAS SENSORY BIN - This is easily my children's favorite. They will play in it all day long. To steer this away from Halloween and make it more Lammas-y, try exchanging the fall leaves for star-shaped pasta (for the sun god), shell-shaped pasta (for the sea goddess), and perhaps throw in some green lentils for color. When you purchase the corn for this, DO NOT use feed corn as it is not intended for human consumption and if I know anything about babies... they WILL put this in their mouth. The pictured bin comes to you from CBC Radio Canada.
8. BAKING BREAD WITH KIDS - This is a timeless Lammas tradition. While I promise that your kitchen will have seen better days, nothing beats the pride a child feels after "helping". Even 2 year olds can enjoy pouring, stirring, and kneading. If you want to save yourself a little hassle, use frozen dough from the store. Get a little encouragement from Kids Activities Blog.
Bonus: PRETEND BERRY PICKING - If you can't find a berry patch, or don't revel in the the idea of dirty, sticky children, try this clever little backyard activity. It reminds me of egg hunts, and we know children love those! You will need ball-pit balls, child-sized baskets, and lots of ingenious hiding places. Get the low down from Play Learn Everyday.
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