The Root Children Circle Play

This circle is based on The Story of the Root Children by Sibylle von Olfers (there’s also a wonderful updated version called When the Root Children Wake Up by Audrey Wood). Oh, how we love this story! The text in quotes is pulled from the von Olfers book; the circle play and audio recordings are by Kelly Ehrman. I hope you have fun with this one!  

“Under the ground, deep in the earth among the roots of the trees, the little root-children were fast asleep all winter long.”

Now that King Winter has come to stay All the trees are bare Little birds must fly away To find their food elsewhere

Little seeds lie hidden In the quiet dark earth, Waiting till they’re bidden, To rise above the earth

{Anonymous; set to music by Kelly Ehrman}

King Winter

Stretch up tall and spread your arms like a bare tree; flutter hands like birds flying and walk around. Pinch forefingers and thumbs all together to show a little seed; Sink gently and quietly down to the ground and pretend to go to sleep.

“When at last winter came to an end and sun began to melt the snow, Mother Earth came along with her candle to wake them up again.”

Wake up children, Time to get up now, Wake up children, Spring is coming!

{Adapted from Story of the Root Children}

Light a candle if you wish; touch each child on the back to wake them up.

Wake up children

“The children yawned and stretched. Then they jumped up merrily. Hurray, spring is coming!”

Act this out together.

Spring is coming, spring is coming, Birdies build your nests. Weave together straw and feather, Doing each your best.

Spring is coming, spring is coming, Flowers are coming too. Crocus, lilies, daffo-dillies, All are coming through.

Spring is coming, spring is coming, All around is fair. Shimmer, quiver, on the river, Joy is everywhere.

{Traditional Waldorf}

Skip around in a circle. If you like, stand and use hand gestures to show a bird’s nest and a flower sprouting. On “joy is everywhere” open arms through a circle up and over your head.

Spring Is Coming

But wait, there’s still work to be done! “Mother Earth had pieces of lovely coloured cloth in her basket.”

Snow-white for the snowdrop Sky-blue for forget-me-not Yellow for the buttercup Bright red for the poppy

{Adapted from Story of the Root Children}

Mime passing out cloth all around from a basket and sit down in a circle.

Snow-white for the snowdrop

The thread follows the needle, The thread follows the needle, In and out and needle goes, While the root children sew their clothes.

{Traditional song, adapted to fit the story}

Sit down in tailor position and pretend to sew.

The Thread Follows the Needle

As the root children busily worked, the sun shone brighter and warmer and melted all the snow away. Then came a gentle rain….

The silver raindrops patter upon the earth today, Tap tap! Their knock is gentle, And this is what they say:

O little flowers waken and open wide your door, Come out in pretty dresses for spring it comes once more.


Silver Raindrops

On your knees, arms and fingers mimic the rainfall. Then slowly stand up and use arms to open wide like a flower growing and blossoming.

“At last it was really springtime! Mother Earth opened the door. Then out into the lovely warm spring sunshine came the stately procession of beetles, ladybirds and root-children with their blades of grass and flowers.”

You may go up now Play in the sunshine I’ll put you to bed When the autumn winds blow

You may go up now

Hug goodbye and send the root children on their merry way….

It’s spring, it’s spring, the root children wake! They march towards the sun With their new dresses on, It’s spring, it’s spring, the root children wake!

It’s spring, it’s spring, the root children wake! In beautiful dresses The colors of rainbows, It’s spring, it’s spring, the root children wake!

{Traditional song adapted for the story - the original is here}

Dance around with colored silks!

The root children wake!