How we Celebrated This Year’s Harvest Moon- Even though we didn’t actually get to see it… I’ll get to that!
The Harvest Moon took place last week and we spent the week learning about the importance of this event and everything it signals.
Harvest Moon Activity Sneak Peek:
- Pumpkin Patch Harvest
- Started a “Thankful Pumpkin”
- Read books related to the moon, thankfulness, and the night sky (See below)
- Made “Moon Phase Crispies”
- Created Harvest Moon art with aluminum foil
- Enjoyed end of the season activities (shared below)
As you have learned previously in my posts, we are following the Exploring Nature with Children nature study. This past week was Harvest Moon Week, which we explored with our toddler and baby. If you are new here, be sure to check out last week’s post 8 Absolutely Awesome Ways to Discover Bugs with Toddlers.
So, what exactly is the Harvest Moon?
The Harvest moon is the full moon that occurs nearest to the Autumn Equinox. This year it fell on Thursday October 1st, but the moon remained “full” for 3 days.
Okay, but what exactly is the Harvest Moon?
The harvest moon is very bright and rises early in the evening allowing for a moonlit sky shortly after sunset. The brilliant sky in the evening traditionally allowed farmers to harvest their Fall crops later into the evening by moonlight- hence the name “Harvest” Moon.
That’s a quick summary- you can learn more by reading The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
Beyond the definition, The Harvest Moon signals the end of the growing season, the showing of gratitude, and preparation for Winter.
I’ll be sharing how our family celebrated the changing of seasons initiated by the Harvest Moon with activities, artwork and more, and I would love to hear what your family does this time of year (comment at the end of the post).
How we Celebrated This Year’s Harvest Moon
Pumpkin Patch Harvest!
With the majority of this season’s harvesting and preserving behind us, we pulled the last of our squash and pumpkins from the garden this week.
We like growing sugar pumpkins because they are dual purpose- decorative and delicious!
Amelia has helped all season with tending to the plants in our garden… in between snacking on tomatoes and beans… what can I say? She has learned from the best (tomato snacker that is).
Enjoying the Fall harvest can be done even without a garden of your own. With pumpkin patches, apple orchards and sunflower fields all around, harvest time can be experienced everywhere!
Started a “Thankful Pumpkin”
In the spirit of the season, we wanted to incorporate gratitude into this week’s theme. Our Thanksgiving is approaching, and we have been expressing our gratitude towards this year’s garden harvest.
After choosing a favourite pumpkin, we decided to make it our “thankful pumpkin”.
How to make a “Thankful Pumpkin”
- Get a pumpkin!
- Each day write on the pumpkin one thing (anything!) you and your family are thankful for.
- Continue each day until you have a glorious, gratitude-filled masterpiece.
We decided to start our pumpkin on October 1st. It is so cute and will make the PERFECT centerpiece for Thanksgiving dinner.
Snuggled up with a few books
Each week I gather a few books related to the theme for us to read and explore. We haven’t made it out to our local library since its reopening but have a nice little collection at home that is well loved.
A few books we enjoyed this week:
This classic children’s book is a lovely bedtime story featuring a bunny saying “goodnight” to everything around, including the moon.
Throughout the book you can see the full moon through the window, but also a picture on the wall of the cow jumping over a crescent moon allows for a simple discussion on the different shapes (and phases) of the moon.
A rhyming book showing different ways of practicing mindfulness with each principle beginning with a different letter of the alphabet. Kindness, compassion and gratitude are some of the book’s themes.
T- What is it you are most thankful for? Be sure to tell your family and friends. Being grateful never ends.ABC Mindful Me
This playful book explores the journey from sunset to sunrise showing different elements of the night sky and some creatures who come out at night.
Interactive text prompts your child to point to the brightest star on the page, trace the big and little dipper with your finger and more.
Amelia loves the page where you rub the owl’s heads and hoot with them!
We Made “Moon Phase Crispies”
We were over the moon for these treats.
This was such a fun and easy recipe to do with Amelia. She was able to do most of the pouring and mixing of the ingredients herself!
Moon Phase Crispies
- 2 cups rice crisps
- 1/2 cup nut butter (we used peanut butter this time but have used almond butter with success!)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- Combine nut butter and maple syrup in a sauce pan and heat on medium heat until melted together.
- Remove from heat and stir in rice crisps.
- Pour mixture onto cookie sheet, compress, and chill in fridge in 30 minutes.
- Once firm, remove from fridge and use a circular cookie cutter or cup to cut out circles.
- Use a knife to cut some of the circles into different moon phase shapes.
Created a Moon Art Masterpiece!
This week we painted the night’s sky!
Amelia really enjoyed painting with something other than a paintbrush and discovering the different patterns that would result.
Using a cotton swab, she made dots on a black sheet of paper to resemble stars in the sky.
On a white piece of paper, we used a balled-up piece of aluminum foil to dip into paint and dab on the paper, creating a moon-like texture.
Once the paint was dry, I helped Amelia trace a Harvest Moon from the white paper using a bowl and she glued it onto the black paper.
Voila! It’s so pretty, I plan to leave it up on the wall for while!
End of Season Activities
The Harvest Moon is associated with the changing of seasons and for our family, means preparation for Winter. Why not get the kids involved!
No matter what your Winter preparation looks like, I’m sure you can find a way to involve your children and explore nature in the process.
Here are a few seasonal clean-up/preparation activities we did this past week with our little ones:
Amelia helped pull out the last of the frost-stricken plants from the garden and helped turn them into the compost pile.
She also got to see our farmer neighbour graciously offer and bring over a tractor load of manure to dump into our garden.
With a few windstorms recently, we had a lot of brush to burn. We had a nice fire and once the brush was burned down, were able to enjoy some toasted marshmallows.
I’ve been making our own marshmallows for a while now and the Wellness Mama recipe is my favourite!
Apple picking and Apple-saucing
We picked apples from trees on a friend’s property and after a long night of peeling, coring, cutting and cooking, have a boat load of applesauce to (hopefully) get us through until next Fall!
Amelia and Brooks had a blast picking and sampling apples and because we have already had a few hard frosts, the apples were nice and sweet.
Some years I add a little maple syrup to the apples and cinnamon to cut the tartness, but this year it was not needed.
Harvest Moon Night!
The night of the Harvest Moon (and the following few nights) was very stormy here, and therefore we were unable to actually see the moon in all it’s glory (bummer!)
Regardless, it has been a wonderful week of playful learning and new experiences for our children.
I; myself discovered that although the main theme for the week was the Harvest Moon, we were able to explore more than just the moon itself, but also the importance of the season we are experiencing.
Signaled by the Harvest Moon, we were able to
- Thank the Earth for helping us grow food for our family
- Show gratitude for everyone and everything important in our lives.
- Learn about the night sky and all its wonders.
- Experiment and get creative with artwork.
- Allow our children to experience how we prepare for Winter.
I hope you found inspiration reading How we Celebrated This Year’s Harvest Moon. Happy Thanksgiving to all of my Canadian friends!
Let’s hear from you!
How do you celebrate the changing of seasons with your family?