My mother always made a big to-do over the holidays- the Christian and the Pagan! So for us, while Easter meant Jesus Rising from the Dead, complete with multiple-hours long Easter Vigil Mass, easter baskets, and excessive baking; and Spring Equinox was the moment for fairies and flowers.
I love keeping my mother’s traditions alive, and making our wheel of the year magical for my children. And Spring Equinox- with its chicks, eggs, bunnies, and flowers- is a wonderful time for that kind of magic.
Why it’s important to explain the Equinox to Children
The Spring Equinox, is the date in between the Winter and Summer solstices, and is the day when the hours of daylight are equal to the hours of nighttime. This is a big deal- from here on until Summer Solstice, the days will keep getting longer!
For kids this is a really big deal. Just a couple of weeks ago bedtime was in the dark, and wake-up was in the dark. Now, they are waking up in the light, and maybe even going to sleep in the light if they have early bedtimes (mine are!). Explaining this with the reassurance of the sun’s return is a wonderful way to help children feel connected to nature and understand the world around them.
How We Celebrate the Spring Equinox with our Children
When we were young we would leave offerings out for the fairies on the eve of the Equinox. Usually some little cookies or flowers. We always had a special fairy area in our yard where we would do this. I remember at least one year the fairies left crystals for us!
I don’t think my mother ever used the word “Ostara” or got heavily into the pagan notions of the spring equinox. It was just a special moment to recognize the season.
For us, in our home, we mark the equinox in several ways. One way is by observing the earth’s changes, and by reading books about it! Just like we do everything in our little, quiet, nature-based homeschool, we read about the world around us. And, we watch it.
For weeks prior to the Spring Equinox, we’ve been watching the earth change. We’ve been talking about the seeds and bulbs asleep under the ground. And we’ve been talking about the return of the Sun since the Winter Solstice, of course!
At Imbolc we started singing to Brigid to bring the spring back- and now, on Equinox, it is here!
We live in Virginia and we’ve been tracking the signs of the season- daffodils coming up, other bulbs pushing through, blooms on trees, and of course- the birds returning!
Books on the Spring Equinox
We LOVE books in our family. We spend a lot of time sitting and reading, and I swap out books from our little library each Sunday evening. The week of Equinox is filled with two kinds of books- some specifically about the Spring Season, and some about planting. Because, in Virginia, we are able to start our vegetable garden the week of Equinox!
Although we prefer living books with stories, my children also love science and nature nonfiction. Here are some of our favorite books about springtime that we are enjoying:
Abracadabra, It’s Spring!, by Anne Sibley O’Brien, especially for our youngest
The Sun Egg, by Elsa Besko
The Reasons for the Seasons by Gail Gibbons
Eggs for the Hunting by Reg Down- our current favorite read-aloud, my almost 6 year old is OBSESSED with the Pine Cone & Pepper Pot books!
The Sunshine Makes the Seasons by Dr. Franklyn Branley- my youngest is obsessed with this
Pele’s New Suit by Elsa Beskow- an adorable spring story
Planting a Rainbow, by Lois Ehlert
The Tiny Seed, By Eric Carle
A Nest is Noisy, by Dianna Hutts Aston
A Seed is Sleepy, by Dianna Aston (her books are so beautiful!)
Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, by Kate Messner
Spring Equinox Activities with Children
Here is a list of ideas for fun activities for the Spring Equinox with your small children :-). We’ve done some of them already before Equinox, and are saving some for the day of!
- Leave out gifts for the fairies. Small cookies, or flowers put by your fairy tree, house, or that little mossy patch that looks magical. Maybe they will leave a gift in return!
- Go on a nature walk and look for signs of springs.
- Start your garden! If you live in a warm enough climate, get your hands in the dirt, prep the garden, and plant! If not, start some seeds inside!
- If you have spring flowers growing, pick a few and bring them in for your table.
- Make a spring nature table with treasures found outside.
- Dig for worms- my daughter loves to do this!
- Start a book of Nature “Firsts”- first daffodil, first robin, etc., and mark down the date when you saw them. Then you can compare the next year!
- Read books about the Spring Equinox (see my list above!)
- Read poems, sing songs, and do fingerplays about spring (see my favorites below).
- Decorate Eggs- unless you are saving that for easter!
- Make floral art- with real flowers, or with any kinds of crafting favorites.
- Have a fire (or light a candle), and talk about what you will miss from winter and what you are looking forward to in the spring.
- Bake Hot Cross Buns- a traditional equinox and Easter treat, these are great for getting those little hands kneading!
Poems, Verses and Fingerplays for the Spring Equinox
Winter goodbye, winter goodbye.
You may no longer stay.
Springtime is on its way.
Winter goodbye, winter goodbye.
Spring is Coming (look up this song on YouTube, its lovely!)
Spring is coming, spring is coming,
birdies build your nests.
Weave together straw and feather,
doing each your best.
Spring is coming spring is coming,
flowers are waking too.
Daisies, lilies, daffodillies,
all are coming through.
Spring is coming, Spring is coming,
all around is fair.
Shiver, quiver, on the river
joy is everywhere!
Spring is Here
Spring is here, said the bumble bee
How do you know, said the old oak tree
I see yellow daffodils
Dancing with the fairies on the windy hills.
Spring Home Fingerplay
This is a house for a robin
(make a nest with hands)
This is a hive for a bee
(two fists together to make a hive)
This is a hole for a bunny
(thumbs and pointers on both hands to make hole)
And this is a house for me!
(Arms and hands form roof overhead)
The Little Brown Bulb
A little brown bulb
lay asleep in the ground,
In his little brown nightie
he made not a sound.
King Winter he roared
and he raged overhead,
But the little brown bulb
never stirred in his bed.
But when spring came
tip-toeing over the leigh, (or sea)
With fingers to lips
as soft as can be,
The little brown bulb
just lifted his head,
Slipped off his nightie
and jumped out of bed.
Radiant Sun from his throne in the sky
Looked down on earth where sleeping seeds lie
And thought to himself, “I think it’s time
For flower babies to wake up and play.”
So with his rays of gold he knocked and knocked
At each and every flower family’s door,
“Wake up! Wake up!” he chuckled with glee,
“Time to wake up and color the earth’s floor!”
The snowdrops were first, then crocus and rosies,
Daffodils, violets and all sorts of posies
Yawning and stretching under radiant sun,
Yes, all flowers create springtime fun!
Hymns and Folks Songs about Spring
I’m trying to introduce new hymns and folks songs at least each month, and there are so many lovely ones for spring! I’m including the YouTube videos so you can listen and learn them!