Celebrating Imbolc with a Toddler

Imbolc signifies the winding down of winter and the promise of spring.  It may still be cold and frosty, there may still be snow showers to come, but the earth is beginning to stir and new life is returning. 

Snowdrops are the symbolic flower of this festival, being the first that folk tend to see poking above the ground.  I’m looking forward to taking my little dilophosaurus on a snowdrop hunt through the local woods and parks.  We’re at the ‘matching pictures’ stage, so I will have cards with pictures of snowdrops on for them to match up with ones we find.  If we find enough we could even turn it into a bit of a counting game.  If you fancy spotting other signs of spring, wildlife trust do some fab ‘spotting sheets’ for first signs of spring that you can print out and check off as you find them. Here’s a link https://www.wildlifewatch.org.uk/spotting-sheets

Another name for Imbolc is Candlemas.  This name conjures up in my mind a meeting of candles, but as this is a festival of light to welcome back the sun, I suppose it’s not far off.  I’d love to make candles with my little dilophosaurus but at 2 and a half I’ll save that activity for another year.  Instead we’ll make images of suns to hang in the window using paper plates and that really thin paper that light can shine through.  We’ll also have a mini feast of pancakes as they are round and sun like.. but who really needs an excuse for pancakes!

Imbolc means ‘ewes milk’ or ‘first milk’, it is lambing season and that first milk given to a newborn is the stuff of wonder, not just food and sustenance but also filled with antibodies to help build up its immune system over the coming months and years.  It is also an amazing source of comfort for the little one.  To honour this aspect of Imbolc I intend on drinking yummy hot chocolate (we’re dairy intolerant here but plant based milk will work just as well) and snuggling together with lots of blankets.  My little dilophosaurus has just discovered the delights of hot chocolate (in an espresso cup) so this will be a real treat.  It is also a good opportunity to discuss what we’ve done, to say thanks for the snowdrops we spotted, for the turning wheel and the warmer days to come, a time to appreciate the snugly warmth, the delicious pancakes and hot ‘milky’ chocolate, and each others company.

Deputy Families Manager