How we Celebrated This Year’s Harvest Moon

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.

illustration of moon showing during sunset
Photo by David Besh on Pexels.com

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?

How we celebrated this year's 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.

Harvest Moon Art-
Harvest Moon Art- see below

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).  

Snacking on beans from the garden.
Snacking on beans from the garden.

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”.

Amelia with our pumpkin harvest and "Thankful Pumpkin"
Amelia with our pumpkin harvest and “Thankful Pumpkin”

How to make a “Thankful Pumpkin”

  1. Get a pumpkin!
  2. Each day write on the pumpkin one thing (anything!) you and your family are thankful for.
  3. 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:

Goodnight Moon

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.

ABC Mindful Me

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

Touch the Brightest Star

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
Moon Phase Crispies

Moon Phase Crispies

Serving Size:
12 moons
Time:
10 min
Difficulty:
Easy

Ingredients

  • 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


Directions

  1. Combine nut butter and maple syrup in a sauce pan and heat on medium heat until melted together.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in rice crisps.
  3. Pour mixture onto cookie sheet, compress, and chill in fridge in 30 minutes.
  4. Once firm, remove from fridge and use a circular cookie cutter or cup to cut out circles.
  5. Use a knife to cut some of the circles into different moon phase shapes.
  6. Enjoy!
Helping to shape the Moon Phase Crispies
Helping to shape the Moon Phase Crispies

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!

Harvest Moon Artwork
Harvest Moon Artwork

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:

orange pumpkins on hay field
Photo by Ekaterina Belinskaya on Pexels.com

Garden Clean-up!

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.

Bonfire

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.

Toasting Marshmallows
Toasting 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.

Our applesauce haul
Our applesauce haul

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.

Racing home before the storm hits
Racing home before the storm hits

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?

Be sure to follow play and pinecones on Instagram and Pinterest!

Why Fall is the BEST time for exploring seeds with Children

Why Fall is the BEST time for exploring seeds with Children- The air is crisp and the leaves are dropping off the trees like crazy. Its safe to say that Fall is in full swing, yay!

selective focus photography of person holding brown acorns
Photo by Leah Kelley on Pexels.com

Fall is a wonderful season for partaking in many different family outings and activities. From pumpkin patches to apple orchards, and brilliantly colouful hikes- there are countless opportunities for learning about nature with your children during this time of year.

But seeds?

Why Fall is the BEST time for exploring seeds with children

In our house, seeds make a huge appearance in early Spring as we start our garden veggies indoors. And by huge I mean temporarily-relocating-our-dining-room-set-to-the-living-room huge, to give the indoor greenhouse access to prime window space.

So although our daughter Amelia is just under 3 years old, she’s fairly familiar with seeds and their importance in our lives.

Planting seeds, sowing seedlings into the garden and nurturing them as they grow into plants has been a fun experience for our family. And although Spring is a great time for your children to learn about seeds, Fall offers an entirely different (but equally important) aspect of seed exploration.

Seedlings in the indoor greenhouse
Checking in on the growing seedlings

In Fall, many plants make and disperse their seeds so that new plants can grow the following year.

Seeds are the theme of the first week in the Exploring Nature with Children nature study, which we are following along with our children. My youngest is 9 months old, but you are never too young (or old for that matter) to learn about the natural world and all it encompasses.

Exploring seeds this past week with my little ones has been fun and educational. We learned so much about the seeds in our own backyard and would like to share our experience.

Picking wildflowers who's blooming
 days are through
Picking wildflowers who’s blooming
days are through

Why Fall is the BEST time for exploring seeds with Children

Cooler Weather

The season of heat and humidity has ended and we are welcoming a much appreciated break from the mosquitoes. Fall is the perfect time to go out on a nature walk to discover the different types of seeds that are present in your neighbourhood.

Picking crab apples for seed collection
Adding crab apples to our seed collection on our nature walk

From acorns to maple keys, it isn’t difficult to find a variety of seeds right now. We went on a few nature walks and collected as many different seeds as we could find. Amelia loved running through the forest with her collection bag, adding to it as we went along.

By the time we made it back home, we had an impressive collection of nuts, berries, apples, cones, milkweed, and all kinds of seeds from wildflowers.

Stunning Views

Here’s an obvious one, but something that literally cannot be overlooked! The colours that have painted the landscape in the way of deciduous leaves are incredible, and something that should be experienced by all.

While out on our nature walks collecting seeds, the Fall colours were all around and served as a great way to incorporate colour identification with our toddler.  

Discovering the Fall colours
Discovering the Fall colours

They’re Everywhere!

Seeds are all around us. It doesn’t matter if you live in a rural setting or in a large City, seeds are everywhere during the Fall season. Squirrels carrying nuts outside your window, dandelion fluff floating on the Autumn breeze.

Discovering seeds with your little ones is easy to do and can be done anywhere!

blossom blur close up dandelion
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Another interesting point is that seeds found in your backyard are likely different than the types found in your neighbour’s yard. We primarily have deciduous trees on our property, but while walking down our road we found many different conifer cones.

All Shapes and Sizes

After collecting an array of seeds from our neighbourhood, we laid them out on a table and examined what we found. There were many different shapes, sizes and textures!

Amelia helped sort the seeds into similar groupings and then we used cardstock and glue to display the treasures we found. We then got a little fancy and made a “seed bird”. I drew the outline of the bird and Amelia helped to fill it in with the different seeds.

Displaying our seed collection and making artwork!
Displaying our seed collection and making artwork!

It’s Harvest Time!

With Fall comes the season of harvest! We’ll be exploring the Harvest Moon in an upcoming post but have started to enjoy Fall harvest foods already.

We used a freshly picked apple to make a fan favourite around here- apple donuts! It’s just a sliced, cored apple with some sort of topping. We went for classic cinnamon this time, but sometimes we level-up with peanut butter frosting and hemp heart “sprinkles”.  

After coring the apple, we worked on fine motor skills by removing the apple seeds from the core using tweezers and counting how many seeds there were.  (7 by the way).

Making apple donuts and removing the seeds with tweezers
Making apple donuts and removing the seeds with tweezers

The Season of Snuggling

If you ask me, Fall is the coziest of the seasons and a great time to snuggle up with a good book. Each week as I plan for the upcoming week’s theme, I set aside books from our own collection that correspond with the theme. A few books we read this week are

Dispersal is Happening

Seeds are dispersed in 4 different ways: By the plant itself, by animals, by water and by the wind. Many of these dispersal methods are occurring in the Fall. We noted different methods of seed dispersal happening in our yard.

  • We watched a squirrel bury a nut
  • Pulled a few burrs off our pant legs and identified the plant responsible
  • Blew the fluff off a couple dandelions and cat tails
  • Noticed the tomato plant growing in the compost pile…
adorable animal autumn claws
Photo by Mike on Pexels.com

Hearty Meals and Tasty Treats

Fall is probably one of the best food seasons (hello, pumpkin spice). With squash and apples in an abundance, there are lots of opportunities to explore seeds in the foods we enjoy in Fall.

We love to cook and bake, and Amelia loves to help with our creations. We harvested our squash this week and made a bomb curry butternut squash soup. Amelia helped to scoop the “guts” out of the squash and prepare the seeds to save for planting next year.

As a treat, we made chocolate chia seed pudding. This recipe is so easy that my almost 3 year old was able to make it with little assistance. (The hardest part is waiting for it to be ready to eat!)

Measuring ingredients for Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding
Measuring ingredients for Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

Serving Size:
2
Time:
5 minutes
Difficulty:
Easy!

Ingredients

  • 4 tbs chia seeds
  • 1 cup milk of your choice (we used homemade coconut milk)
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbs cacao powder

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients into a jar and shake!
  2. Let sit for 2 minutes, then mix or shake again until chia seeds are clump-free
  3. Cover the jar and place in the fridge overnight (or at least a few hours)
  4. Top with your favourite toppings if desired and enjoy!
brown liquid in cup
Photo by Madison Inouye on Pexels.com

So, there you have it. You now know why Fall is the BEST time for exploring seeds with children! Its been fun learning about seeds with my little ones this week and I’m happy to be able to share our experiences with you. Be sure to check out my first blog post if you haven’t already How to Make Exploring Nature with Little Ones Fun!

Amelia’s quite interested in the world of seeds, so she seemed to really enjoy the activities we did over the week.

We’ll find out in a couple weeks if her interest remains after she helps us plant 300 garlic cloves for next year’s harvest!

braided garlic harvest
This year’s garlic harvest!

What is your family’s favourite way of discovering seeds in the Fall season?

Be sure to follow play and pinecones on Instagram and Pinterest!