Celebrating Beltane With Kids

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Celebrating Beltane With Kids

Want to celebrate Beltane with kids? You can!. Image by Cecelia Cartner/Cultura/Getty Images

Every year, when Beltane rolls around, we get emails from folks who are comfortable with the sexual fertility aspect of the season for adults, but who’d like to reign things in just a little when it comes to practicing with their young children. I get it, I totally do – you may just not be prepared to explain things like the erect phallus of the god to your pre-schooler, and that’s totally fine, because everyone parents at their own pace. So, what’s a Pagan parent to do, if they’d like to keep their littles involved with ritual practice, but uncomfortable focusing on the AW YEAH SEXYTIMES part of Beltane?

The first rule is: Don’t Panic.

No kidding – you can absolutely celebrate fertility at Beltane with young kids. The trick is to remember that fertility doesn’t just apply to people, but also to the earth and the soil and nature all around us. That means things like flowers, baby animals, plants, seedlings, and all kinds of other things that you probably haven’t even though of in the context of fertility.

Beltane is a time for great celebration, so there’s no need to exclude your kiddos. You simply have to find the context that works best for your family, and what you judge to be your child’s maturity level.

A quick disclaimer: as I said above, everyone parents at their own pace. It’s not up to any of us to tell you you’re Not Paganing Right just because you’re not ready to explain human sexuality and fertility to your kids. I’m going to trust that you know your kids better than anyone else does, and you’ll explain it when you – and they – are ready to have that conversation.

So, moving on. Here are five fun ways you can celebrate Beltane with your young children, and let them participate in family rituals, without having to discuss certain aspects of the season that you’re just not ready to explain yet.

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Family Abundance Ritual

A simple planting ceremony is an alternative to traditional Beltane rituals. Image by Ariel Skelley/Brand X/Getty Images

Beltane is a celebration of fertility, and despite that it's a perfectly natural aspect of the human existence, let's face it -- some parents may not always be comfortable discussing the erect phallus of the god or the open womb of the goddess with their young children. However, in addition to sexual fertility, the Beltane sabbat is also about abundance, in many forms. Don't just focus on material gains -- it's about the growth of the earth and its bounty, and it's about increasing your own spiritual and emotional wealth. This family ritual is one that you can easily include children in. Hold a Family Abundance Ritual for Beltane

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Beltane Craft Projects

Make daisy chains, floral crowns, and other craft projects with your kids at Beltane. Image by Frank Van Delft/Cultura/Getty Images

For many of us, spring is a time when our creativity blooms as well. Invite your little ones to make May Day Cone Baskets to hang around the house, Floral Crowns to wear, string together some daisy chains, braid some ribbons together to hang in a tree, build a Faerie Chair for garden guests, or even try making masks representing the Green Man.

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Get Moving

Get your little ones moving with a miniature Maypole dance. Image by Cecelia Cartner/Cultura/Getty Images

Little kids are squirmy and full of energy. Put up a small Maypole in your yard, add some ribbons, put on a little bouncy music and get them dancing around it. Don’t worry if they get tangled up, it’s probably going to happen no matter what you do to prevent it. Host a children’s drum circle to raise energy. If you’re feeling really ambitious, let them build hobby horses out of wrapping paper tubes and tissue boxes, and hold a hobby horse race. It’s hilarious and fun.

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Family Bonfire Night

With supervision, kids can enjoy the warmth of a Beltane bonfire. Image by Moretti-Viant/Caiaimage/Getty Images

For many cultures, the Bale Fire was an important part of the Beltane celebration. If your kids are old enough to understand that they shouldn’t jump into the bonfire, get a roaring blaze going in the backyard, tell classic stories around the fire, and sing some songs.

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Get Outdoors

Forests are a great place to look examples of new life in the spring. Image by Patti Wigington 2014

Kids love to be outside, so why not go on a nature hike to see what new things are growing in your local park or woods? Offer each child a small bag to bring home treasures they might find – interesting leaves, cool rocks and sticks, or other goodies. Take advantage of this to talk about the way the seasons change, and point out sights that show how life is returning to the earth once more.