Shannon has a M.S. in Geology, is a teacher in a Waldorf School and has background as a children's yoga teacher.

She is passionate about connecting children to themselves and to the natural world.

About Backyard Mama

Backyard Mama's mission is for every child to spend time outside every day.

The intention of this blog is to offer inspiration to do that. Take this tips and tools and use them, or contact me and I can run a program at your center.

Our programs take many forms:
* classes in your school or childcare center
* classes for camps or nature centers
* professional development through conferences and workshops
* professional development designed for your staff
* community workshops at libraries and agencies

We're always excited to design something special just for you!


Take Two: Ready, Set, Fall: Ten Ways to Enjoy the Season!

This is a reposting of last years blog about 10 ways to enjoy fall. I hope you enjoy it this year as much as folks did last year! ~ The Backyard Mama


Fall is the season of the Harvest! September brings the Harvest Moon; a time to celebrate abundance. I enjoy recognizing the abundance around me: it fills me with gratitude, appreciation and contentment.

Here are a few ways to share this season with the children we love.

1) Make Pumpkin Muffins; here’s a healthy recipe from The Waldorf Kindergarten Snack Book:

Dry Ingredients:
2 c. unbleached white flour
1 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 Tbs. baking powder
Wet Ingredients:
1/2 c. corn oil
1 c. maple syrup
1/2 c. soymilk
1 c. apple juice
1 c. pumpkin or butternut squash (cooked)

  • Cut pumpkin or squash and dice into medium sized pieces. Cook in a small amount of water.
  • Using a food processor, puree the pumpkin or squash (make sure it’s not too wet) set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Oil the muffin pans with corn oil or set paper muffin cups in the pan.
  • In alarge bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and mix well with a whisk. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, combine all the wet ingredients and mix well with a whisk.
  • Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture. Using a whisk, stir them until just mixed. Do not over mix.
  • Fill the muffin cups and bake for 50 minute to 1 hour, or until the edges of the muffins are golden brown.

(Shared by Diane Prusha Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School, Mass.)

2) Make Leaf Prints

  • Collect a variety of colorful leaves.
  • Cut two pieces of wax paper.
  • Place leaves artistically between the two pieces of wax paper.
  • Gently place the “wax paper leaf sandwich” into a folded towel.
  • Iron the towel (with the leaf print inside) to melt the wax paper.
  • These make wonderful window decorations!

3) Go on a scavenger hunt for:

  • Maple leaves
  • Oak leaves
  • Acorns
  • Pinecones
  • wildflower seeds
  • Deer Tracks
  • Kindling (for an autumn bonfire!)
  • Puddles
  • Any thing else you are excited to look for!

4) Take a walk early evening of the full moon (October 22nd this year) watch the moon rise!

5) Feed the birds.

  • Make a backyard feeding station by covering pinecones with suet and birdseed, hang with strings or light weight wire from a tree.
  • Use a pie pan (or bottom from a flower pot) and place on a stump or rock, fill with bird seed and watch the birds enjoy!
  • Take a square(ish) piece of wood (1 foot by 1 foot piece of plywood is perfect) drill holes at each corner; using sturdy twine hang the board from a tree limb. Sprinkle bird seed on the “bird plate” each day.
  • Buy a window bird feeder and attach to the outside of a window.

6) Find an orchard near to home, go apple picking. Come home and make apple sauce, apple butter or just slice ‘em and enjoy.

7) Outside Circle time (for young kids) sing this song to the tune of “Here we go around the mulberry bush” – at the end fall down like leaves from the trees!

“The leaves are green and the nuts are brown.
They hang so high, and will not come down.
Leave them alone till the frosty weather
Then they will all come down together.” (Author unknown)

8) Rake leaves together; save ‘em up as mulch for the garden. Be playful- have a leaf “fight” or play hide and seek. (Remember there might be ticks in the leaves- so do a tick check when you’re done!)

9) Find a special place in nature. Take some time each week to sit and observe the sounds, what you see and hear, the temperature, or which animals visit the spot. Take a picture of your special place each time you visit. Make a nature journal and place the pictures in it with the dates visited. Keep this record as a special way to remember this season.

10) Hike to the top of the highest mountain in your area. From this birds-eye-view, look out and enjoy all the colors of the leaves.

Please share your ideas! Maybe we can get to 100 things to do in the Fall.

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