The Joy of Work in Early Childhood

I am so excited to be writing this post! My child has officially entered this stage and I couldn’t be happier! We spend so much time together because my son will come up to me just to imitate my actions. “Do you want to help mommy,” I will ask and then hand him his own copy of what ever I am doing. He will sit and work with me until he eventually wanders off into something else.

Work is his play and play is his work! What I mean by that statement is that when children work with you, this is play for them as well as great quality time with mom or dad. When they play this is the work that will develop their growing motor skills and mental capacities. I highly recommend reading Freya Jaffke’s book, Work and Play in Early Childhood for more wonderful information and tools on this concept. Freja Jaffke was born in 1937. She worked at Reutlingen kindergarten in Germany for many years and now lectures throughout the world in teacher training colleges. She provides tried and tested advice on this important stage of development.

On this great Parenting Passageway Post on chores, Carrie writes “I remark here that rhythm in the practical work of the home and working TOGETHER in joy is what lays the foundation of wholly independent work… IMITATION is also another way to help children learn about chores when they are young.” Here, she lists a great number of chores that can be done with your children, including (for your toddler) “wipe tables and counters with damp sponge, wash vegetables or tear lettuce, help provide water and food for pets, help clean up after play and meals, water plants outside, pick up toys and books, throw things out for you, help clean up spills and messes…” and many more on the post!

Your little ones LOVE to help you and love the time with you in this way because all they want is to learn to do what we do as adults. So here is the amazing thing: you CAN get your housework done with small children in the house! Don’t wait until they go to nap because then they miss all of the fun! Do your work around them and they will come to you to help. Include them. “Do you want to help mommy wipe the counter? Here’s a rag for you!” “Do you want to help mommy fold laundry? Sit on my lap and we will do it together!”

I am so enjoying this part of my sons development and everyday I think of all of the fun housework we can do together. For those of you that do not love housework, you may think I’m nuts. But if you try housework with your little one, you may find that there is a level of enjoyment that you never thought possible.

What are your thoughts on housework with your child? What are your plans for implementing chores with your young family members?

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Autumn’s Eve: Sharing the Joy of the Season With Our Children

I LOVE AUTUMN! I find that this is one of the most active and vibrant times of the year, more so than the lazy, hot summer or quiet and gently blossoming spring. IN the fall we have the wind and rain and leaves flying all about; we have the fascinating decay of the plants we have nourished over the past year; and we have the dusk coming closer and closer to our days, slowly wrapping us in quiet security. I LOVE sharing this time with children! There are SO MANY great folk songs, cooking activities and projects that we can share with even the littlest of people!

We all know about the common festivals of Autumn, but there are more than you think. As the season goes on, I will be posting about these specific festivals, but first I want to mention Michealmas Time! Just after the Equinox (on the 22nd this year) Michealmas time comes to us on the 29th of September. Your local Waldorf School will most likely have Michealmas Festivals open to the public and I urge you to go. As shared on the Parenting Passageway: “Michaelmas is an autumn festival that to me really opens up the season for the awakening of our souls as the weather gets colder, the light recedes, and we look toward strengthening our own inner reserves, our own inner strength. Michaelmas, as you can probably guess, is named for Saint Michael.  Michael was one of the four archangels, and is the angel who threw Lucifer out of Heaven.  He is the Angel of Courage, the Angel of the Fight Against Evil.  Take courage for the long, cold winter from Saint Michael!” To me, this is a time to focus deeply on my inner work and share in the strength building activities with our friends and family. This is a time for meditating, writing poetry, dancing and sharing the joy of Autumn with our children. These heart-warming activities will build our joy reserves for the harsh winter and Michealmas Day is a time to remember out work for this time.

There are so many great Autumn activities we can share with our children. Meditation and Inner work is not something we do WITH children, it is something we do for our children as a spiritually strong parent is essential. provides a good foundation for their own strength. On The Magic Onions Blog, I have found a treasure chest full of brilliant ways to share the joy of Autumn with your little ones. Here you will see great books to read, lovely nature table decor, finger games and songs and recipes to make with our children. Here’s a poem that she shares with us to share with our children, I find it lovely!

October gave a party;

The leaves by hundreds came –

The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,

And leaves of every name.

The Sunshine spread a carpet,

And everything was grand,

Miss Weather led the dancing,

Professor Wind the band.

~George Cooper, “October’s Party”

I would love to hear your thoughts on how to you celebrate this season, as you can never have enough ideas in your pocket on how to bring the joy of mother nature to your children.

Felted Flowers – Perfect Activity for Little Ones

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and I have been working on these felted flowers with some of the children I work with. This is a simple activity that even the littlest of children can do (though my 9 month old ‘helped’ mostly by chewing on them.) Not only is this a great gift idea, there are many benefits to young children engaging in sensory activities with natural materials.

Supplies Needed: 

Wool Roving – Can be purchsed at most yarn stores. If you live in Seattle, Weaving Works is the best place that I have found .

Muffin Tins

Natural Soap – You can use Dish Soap or a Castille Soap (like Dr. Bronners)

Directions:

First you roll up the roving and place it into the tins, much like you would roll a cinnamon roll in a little spiral. You can do one color or multiple layers.

Add a tiny bit of soap and water. You want it to be fairly soapy in the beginning.

The felting process begins with a patting motion. Gently pat the soapy felt down into the pins until they feel fairly felted. You can do the whole process with this patting motion, flipping the flower a few times to get both sides. After this is done you can felt them in your palms a little bit to give them a more rounded look, they felt fast this way so check often.

(This is my son helping, he liked the sound the pan made on the cement when he hit it. He receives all of the benefits of playing with the wool and the pan, the product will come when he is older. Art with children is mostly about the process anyways.)

Now you have some lovely little flowers to use for pins, bracelets, additions to clothing or any other creative ideas you can think of.

Please comment if I have left out any information or if you have any fun additions to this activity. Enjoy!