Autumn in the garden πŸ

The wind whispering
Through chilly trees
Sounds like sand on shore
After a wave hits.
One dry yellow leaf
Swiftly falls from its
mother tree’s branch
And an apple clumps
Softly on the lawn.
A toad hides under
A fallen leaf,
Alert for danger.

The labrador jumps,
Trying to catch him:
But misses by miles, Settles instead for
Chomping a spider.
Her web-smeared black
Nose sniffing loudly,
Hoping for more snacks.
She smells wood fire
On the breeze. Shivering,
Heads back inside to
Her humans’ sofa.

6 October 2022 is National Poetry Day.

Why don’t you write a poem? It’s easy to do and doesn’t have to rhyme. Write about what you like, or how you are feeling. πŸ™‚

For more info, go to:

https://nationalpoetryday.co.uk

The National Literacy Trust helps children and families to develop a love of reading and writing. They have great resources and a local site for people from Swindon, called Swindon Stories.

https://literacytrust.org.uk/communities/swindon/

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September

September’s first sunset

Is candyfloss fluffy 

Pink on watercolour 

Azure. The drought-cracked ground

Thirsts desperately for rain.

Yellow, salmon, crimson

Roses scent the cool air.

Perfectly formed, like

Fragile, living sculptures

Too good for this world.

Sparrows fly overhead,

Heading for lofty nests.

Juicy soft blackberries

Are waiting to be picked

And cooked in jams and pies,

Just like when we were kids. 

The nights are creeping in,

I can breathe again.

Autumn has arrived.

Autumn and Fluffy’s forest adventure

Autumn was a fox. She lived in Swindon with her friend Fluffy the hedgehog.

They loved playing in the forest, especially in Autumn when they could collect conkers and stamp in the crunchy leaves.

One morning, Fluffy and Autumn set out on Autumn’s tricycle to the forest. Fluffy sat in the basket, cosy in a blanket that Autumn’s Granny had knitted.

Just as they got to the forest, they ride over a sharp stone and the trike got a puncture.

“Oh no!” Cried Autumn. “How will be get back home now? It’s such a long way home, with lots of hills.”

“Yes, it will be very tiring walking the trike back, and carrying me!” Sighed Fluffy.

“Oh well, let’s just play for now anyway. We will worry about getting home later. Luckily I brought some snacks to keep us going.” Said Autumn.

So the friends left the tricycle by a tree and went into the forest. They stomped on crunchy leaves, played hide and seek and collected paw-fuls of conkers.

Fluffy dropped one of the conkers, and it rolled down the hill into a dark cave. He ran after it, straight into a big brown bear!

“Who woke me up?” Grumbled the bear. “I was sleeping.”

His tummy rumbled loudly in the cave. It sounded like thunder.

“Oh, I’m so hungry.” He said. “I can’t find my favourite blackberries this year, and now I have naughty mice waking me up.”

“I’m so sorry to wake you, it was my conker. And I’m not a mouse. I’m a hedgehog.” Replied Fluffy.

“And I am a fox.” Added Autumn.

“Are you? My eyes are so bad these days. Now get out of my cave. I don’t feel so hungry when I’m asleep.”

“So sorry to disturb you, Mr Bear,” said Fluffy. “We will go now.”

The bear followed them out of his cave, to make sure that they really were going. He felt tired and hungry, and didn’t have any patience for young animals.

And the two friends scampered out of the cave as quickly as they could. They were so scared that they ran up a nearby tree and hid in a hole.

“That was frightening!” Trembled Fluffy.

“Yes, I am shaking all over.” Agreed Autumn.

Suddenly a voice from just behind them made them jump.

“What are you doing in my tree? Get out! I am sleepy and cold.”

Fluffy and Autumn turned around to see who was talking. It was an owl.

“We are sorry, we didn’t know this was your house. We were hiding from a bear.” Said Autumn.

“Oh that would be Brownie. He is very grumpy. Now leave me to sleep. Brr, isn’t is chilly?”

The friends climbed carefully down the tree and went back to the trike. In its basket, underneath the blanket, were some snacks which they enjoyed. Fluffy slurped up some slimy slugs, while Autumn chomped on a chicken sandwich.

“Phew, what a busy day.” Said Fluffy.

Autumn looked at the cosy blanket in the basket. She had a thought.

“Maybe we should give the blanket to the cold owl as a way of saying sorry for waking her up. I know that Granny would be happy to knit me another one.” She said.

“Ok that’s a good idea.” Said Fluffy. “My mum says we should always try to be kind.”

So the friends took the blanket to the owl as a gift.

“Thank you so much!” Smiled the owl. “Now I will be nice and warm. People aren’t usually kind to me. Is there anything nice that I can do for you in return?” She asked.

Fluffy had an idea.

“Well,” he said, “Brownie bear is extremely hungry because he can’t see well enough to find any blackberries to eat. I know that owls can see really well…”

“Yes we can.” Replied the owl.

“So I was wondering if you might be able to find the blackberry bush,show us where it is, and we could take some berries round to Brownie’s cave.”

“Hmm, well I don’t usually go out in the daytime, but I suppose that I could, just this once.” Said the owl.

She she showed the friends where the best blackberry bush was. Fluffy and Autumn collected as many berries as they could in the basket. They took them to Brownie in his cave. Autumn quietly set the basket down in the bear’s cave and started to tiptoe away.

But Brownie had excellent hearing, and woke up.

“Not you again!” He sighed. “Why do you keep waking me up?”

His tummy growled loudly.

“We just brought you some berries,” replied Autumn. “We didn’t want you to go hungry.”

“How did you find these lovely berries?” Asked Brownie. “I have looked everywhere in the forest for the this year. But I just couldn’t see well enough to find them!”

“The owl showed us where they were.” Said Autumn.

“Oh, that would be Olivia. She doesn’t usually help others. She is a bit grumpy.” Said the bear.

“We gave her a cosy blanket,” answered Fluffy. “That warmed her up so she wanted to do us a favour.”

“And you chose to help me?” Asked Brownie, looking surprised. “Creatures aren’t usually nice to me. They just run away. I am not sure why.”

“My dad always says to try to be kind to others.” Answered Autumn.

“Thank you so much!” Replied the bear gratefully. A happy tear rolled down his furry face.

He ate the whole basket full of blackberries surprisingly quickly.

“I would like to be kind too. Can I help you with anything?” He asked.

“Actually, my trike got a puncture earlier… would you mind giving us a lift home? We would be awfully grateful. There are so many hills, you see.” Asked Autumn shyly.

“What, you expect me to leave my cosy cave, walk out of the forest, and carry you too and your trike all the way home?” He asked in a gruff voice.

“Y… yes p.. please.” Stuttered Autumn.

“Of course I will. You two are very kind friends!” Brownie smiled.

So he helped Autumn and Fluffy to climb onto his back, and picked up the trike.

“Hold tight!” He said, as he walked them home: out of the forest, over the hills, and back to their house in Fox Close in Swindon.

They did get a few funny looks from the neighbours. They had never seen a bear in their road before!

“Thank you so much.” Said Fluffy and Autumn, as they waved their new friend Brownie goodbye.

“What an adventurous day!” Laughed Fluffy. “Let’s ask my mum for some hot chocolate. I think we have earned it.”

The End.

….

My daughter Bethany and I wrote this story together one chilly Autumn morning. She did the illustrations too.

It’s fun writing a story with your child with some simple steps:

  1. Name your main character/s and think about how they look, and some things they like. This can be a hobby or favourite food.
  2. What is the setting? Where does the story take place? It can be a home, school or up a mountain. Let your child come up with as many ideas as they can.
  3. What goes wrong? There is usually a baddie, danger or problem to overcome in a story. It doesn’t have to be anything that will scare your child, keep it age appropriate.
  4. How is the baddie taught a lesson, danger faced and overcome or problem fixed? Ask your child for ideas, and you can narrow them down. It doesn’t have to be realistic. πŸ™‚
  5. Are there any things that you would like to talk about? There doesn’t need to be a moral though, and a story can just be fun or silly. But in this one, I decided to focus in being kind. It could be something simple like sharing toys, or more serious like facing grief.
  6. Your child can do the writing if old enough, or you can do it. Remember to keep asking them what they think happens next, what the main character would say if that happened, etc. Let them input their ideas as much as possible while keeping to the storyline.
  7. Have fun! πŸ™‚
  8. Encourage your child to do some drawings, because art is fabulous. It also improves their fine motor skills.

For more resources and ideas on encouraging children of all ages to read and write in a fun way, see the National Literacy Trust’s website:

https://literacytrust.org.uk

Autumn writing activities with kids

Autumn is my favourite season. Nature is showing off and trying to lure us away from our TVs and phones and get us outside.

If you have a child, you probably spend some time every Autumn collecting treasures such as crunchy leaves, conkers and acorns.

You can use this as a chance to do some literary activities. Children engage better with reading and writing if it’s fun.

Some ideas:

Make a list together of words that describe what you see. For younger kids, you can do the writing, or it can just be a chat. With school age children, encourage them to do some writing too.

Write a poem based on the treasures. Touch them: how do they feel? What colours are they?

Write a short story of your trip to the park. What did you see? Were there any sounds like the leaves crunching underfoot, or a dog barking? Was the sun shining or was it rainy?

You can tie this in with art: drawing a leaf or painting faces on the conkers.

My daughter wrote some descriptive words of the conkers and leaves that we collected recently.

Then we wrote a poem based on some of those words.

What Autumn literacy activities have you done?

Autumn returns

The leaves are turning yellow and orange again. The air feels cooler, and night falls more swiftly. I love Autumn because it is beautiful, but also because it reminds me about the briefness of life.

Summer seemed never-ending, and was it really that hot? But here we are at the start of a new season. And soon it will be winter, with its icy dark days and bleak trees. What could be good about winter, besides the first few hours of snow, and hot chocolate?

I think that without the reminder of our own mortality, life is all too easily taken for granted. Knowing that one day we will die, reminds us to enjoy what little time we have; to make the most of what we’ve been given; to hug our loved ones more tightly.

And after the emptiness of winter, we know that a new life awaits us. We look forward to it. Death and life are opposites, yet like two sides of the same coin. There is no need to fear winter, because one day spring will arrive.

For now, I will breathe in the scent of woodsmoke, delight in the colours, and be grateful that I am here to enjoy another Autumn.