Children learn through making, and there is no better way to introduce them to major festivals of the world and the year's seasons than through the creation of masks, mobiles, puppets and cards.
Wayland's Seasonal Crafts series is cleverly conceived with a description of the seasons at the start of each book providing the background to explain why festivals occur at certain times. The simple craft projects that follow serve to engage children's interest in major events from our own as well as other cultures and to enhance their understanding.
For example, in Spring we are told that Easter comes from the ancient celebration of thanksgiving to Eostre, the goddess of Spring. From that we move into major spring celebrations from around the world, such as the Muslim Ramadan; South American and Caribbean Carnival; Mardi Gras and Shrove Tuesday. In Winter we have Thanksgiving, Advent, Hanukkah and others.
At the back of each book is a useful calendar as well as a glossary of unusual words and terms relating to the seasons and celebrations.
Each project, linked to a festival or season, is clearly illustrated and structured for simplicity and effectiveness, with a short list of material, much of it recycled.
In Autumn, for instance, Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights to mark the beginning of the Hindu New Year, is marked by a project that entails decorating paper, punching holes in it, wrapping it round a jam jar, making a string handle and placing a night light inside for an effective lantern.
Do-able, easy to follow but impressive. This is an invaluable series for the home or classroom.