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Meaningful Ways to Celebrate Autumn with Kids

I love celebrating all the seasons here in New York's Hudson Valley. When I lived abroad, I really missed American seasonal traditions. We always have something fun to look forward to celebrating, and it brings a richness and rhythm to family life.

"The fall equinox marks the time of waning sun, a time to harvest what we've sown and also gather the seeds that will blossom in the new year."

Beyond the pumpkin spice and cozy scarves and layers, fall always feels like a crisp and sunny new beginning. And it's not just the weather. The fall equinox marks the time of waning sun, a time to harvest what we've sown and also gather the seeds that will blossom in the new year.

I'm going to try an old tradition with my kids once temperatures drop and the flowers go to seed. We will gather seeds from our Black Eyed Susans, Coneflowers, etc. and spread them to new places in our yard, visualizing or talking about what we'd like to create in the coming year. The ancient prayer is: "From this life, life to come." We do this ritual whenever our fall planting bulbs come in the mail, making intentions with the kids and then see the flowers we planted sprouting in the spring (and perhaps our intentions beginning to take shape then, too).

In traditional Europe, people displayed the fruits of the season to celebrate each cycle. Most of us still do this by arranging gourds, pumpkins and ornamental corn by our front doors every fall. It was traditionally seen as a way to invite the gods of good fortune into people's homes, and I think that welcoming, abundant energy is one of reasons fall is such a revered season. Additionally, apples, the traditional symbol of the divine, are ripe for the picking this time of year.

Apple picking at Ochs Orchard. Warwick, NY

Gratitude Leaf Prints are great for bringing in the renewal energies of the autumnal equinox. This project was fun and didn't take long. Best of all, it brought our focus to gratitude and our dreams.



Leaf cookie cutters (ours are pie crust stamps from Williams Sonoma)

Orange, red and yellow tempura paints

Paint brushes

Large paper (we used 12x18 in.)

Gold glitter


Have the kids brainstorm a gratitude list plus one special wish for 2021. On a large piece of paper, write the wish in the center and the things they are grateful for around the paper, leaving room for your leaf stamps.

Cut your potato in half with a large knife so the cut is smooth and level. Push the leaf stamp down as far as it will go. These stamps go about 1/2 inch into the potato. Trim around the edge 1/2 inch and peel away the excess.

Stamp away!

Sprinkle with glitter before the paint dries.

And display!



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