Earth Day 2015Apr. 15th

Earth Day is next Wednesday, April 22nd, but what does that really mean?

Aside from being a day to remind us to care for our beloved planet, there are a lot of ways that Earth Day Network makes it possible to get involved.

Like A Billion Acts of Green, which at the time of this writing has reached

1,123, 950, 223 and is moving to reach a new goal of 2 billion!

This call to action provides people with simple ways to help and make a difference by signing a climate petition, supporting environmental education, or make a mark on reducing energy consumption…

and the Earth Day Canopy Project, “which plants trees that help communities – especially the world’s impoverished communities – sustain themselves and their local economies. Trees reverse the impacts of land degradation and provide food, energy and income, helping communities to achieve long-term economic and environmental sustainability.” (quote from the Earth Day Network website)

For every dollar that is donated, a tree is planted, through the Earth Day Canopy Project.

These are just two ways to do something to make a difference on Earth Day, and there are plenty of Earth Day celebrations, events, and activities happening across the globe. A google search for your area is a great way to find an event near you.

Peace.

Grateful MondayApr. 13th

A man walked in to the quaint café where I work, all smiles. He beamed like the weather was not, with its rain coming down and washing my outdoor chalkboard clean of the written specials.

He asked what we all ask,

How are ya?!

I said, Oh, I’m okay...because I’m still getting over some sickness, and I’m tired of clouds.

Well, Heather…you woke up this morning, didn’t you?

Yes, I did!

Okay, then…it’s a good day.

The truth. And now, a few days later, I’m still coughing, but the sun is out and there is food next to me on the table. My kids are healthy, or on their way there, and I get to pick them up from school and daycare and spend the rest of the sunny day with them, outside.

I came across more proof, too, on Twitter, that our lives are better for gratitude. Our actual physical hearts are healthier, and our figurative hearts too.

So we woke up this morning, and if we pay attention, there are thousands of reasons to answer the constant question, I’m well. It is well. I am well.

Peace.

Grateful MondayApr. 6th

April showers bring May flowers.

It’s the first day back to school after spring break, and it is raining. The house is darker than it should be for this hour, and turning on the lights doesn’t seem to help. Everyone is worn out, tired from running all week, tired from the weather.

We need the rain.

Finding our way back to routine feels a little like groping around in the dark. We so quickly lost the rhythm. But here we are, filling the backpacks and finding the shoes, putting on jackets and grabbing lunches. Like foreigners. And by week’s end it will all be old hat, and the rain will have washed away the grime of winter for the new beginning.

Before we know it, we’ll look up to see those May flowers, grateful.

our latest news!Apr. 2nd

We are happy to announce that our award-winning children’s yoga video, Storyland Yoga, is now available for the hearing-impaired!  Amazon.com has a download of Storyland Yoga that includes closed captioning, making it easier for hearing impaired children to play along and learn yoga!  We are so grateful for 3Play Media’s expertise and careful technical work in completing the closed captioning so quickly and making Storyland Yoga available for more playful kids.  We appreciate Melissa Kinnunen for calling us with this wonderful opportunity. 
:::
Also in this week’s news, Playful Planet is growing and changing once again! We are expanding our reach to serve after-school and daycare programs with the Storyland Yoga Books and Curriculum.  Currently, samples of our curriculum are being distributed to get feedback from teachers and daycare providers.  Stay tuned for more on this coming soon.  Meanwhile, if you are a teacher, or know someone who’d like to test the new curriculum materials, please e-mail us at info@playfulplanet.com.

 There’s more to come, friends! Thank you for being on this journey with us…

Grateful MondayMar. 30th

The littlest things can be noted, even on paper, at the end of the day.

The way the wind blew away the cloudy day, the curtain pulled back, the sun warming us up. And then I stood in the doorway and let the warmth settle in, soaking through my vitamin D deprived skin. I stood there a good long while.

The way I had time to set aside the to-do list(s), for just a little while, and watch Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

And finding new-to-me music accidentally, to love like crazy, even though I wonder how I missed it when everyone else discovered it.

It really is about the little things…let’s look at them, maybe even write them down.

Grateful MondayMar. 23rd

The first day of spring arrived on Friday. It always shows up, on the calendar, and that feels like a promise even if parts of the world are still battling snow. (Like my part of the world.) I look out the window at the fresh layer that arrived overnight, at the way it settled on branches and the railing around the deck, inches of it.

snowrailing

I want to yell at it, but instead I am trying gratefulness.

The farmers needed this, for its sure-to-come melt, the way it will seep into the earth and bring up spring like a tricky gift.

And it is beautiful. It will always be beautiful, like most disguised blessings.

The kids will play in it while it lasts, boots and snow pants back out of the closet and pulled on to small legs. It is thick and bent toward snowmen and snowballs. Have at it, I tell them. It won’t last.

5 of the greenest US companies (and what they’re doing right)Mar. 18th

It seems most companies struggle to remain environmentally conscious while fighting for a successful bottom line. But there are many brands, businesses, and people behind them, fighting just as hard to remain eco-friendly with future generations in mind, and doing an amazing job of it. Kudos to them, and congratulations on the success they’ve lived without cutting sustainable corners. So to speak.

What can we learn from them?

Let’s take a look at one (oh okay, or maybe two) fun and inspiring fact(s) about each company!

1. SEVENTH GENERATION:

We love the Seventh Generation products! There are about 14 things I want to tell you about this company, but I said there would only be one fun fact each, so maybe if I try to say it all in one sentence? Seventh Generation (which got its name from the Iroquois law that demands “in our every deliberation we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next 7 generations) has an employee bonus program that awards workers who come up with ways to make the company’s products even more sustainable, which may be part of the reason Seventh Generation lands on the top of the list when companies are recognized for their diligence to sustainability.

2. NEW BELGIUM BREWING COMPANY

These makers of popular ales like Fat Tire are leaders in providing a workplace with sustainability in mind. This company tracks and records all of its energy use, waste production and emissions, and recycles, reuses or composts more than 75% of the waste it produces in manufacturing, while also making bikes and a Prius available to employees to run local errands.

3. Method

Many of us are familiar with the Method brand from Target stores. We recognize the pretty bottles in an instant. The guys behind this company knew what they were doing with marketing, AND they continue to show true diligence in remaining eco-conscious as a brand. Method’s appealing bottles are consciously and carefully recycled and NOW, get this: Method teamed up with local beach clean-up groups and volunteers to collect plastic debris from the beaches of Hawai’i to use for ocean plastic bottles, the first of their kind.

4. IKEA

IKEA makes a lot of earth-friendly in their manufacturing. Now they’re doing their part to help refugees. For every LEDARE light bulb purchased between February 1 and March 28, the IKEA Foundation will donate $1 to refugee camps. This company is almost always up to something good, and continues to show leadership with its sustainability-focused choices overall.

5. Patagonia

It’s no surprise that a company started by surfers and climbers would continue to focus on the environment. What might be a surprise is the success of such a grassroots start. But maybe the lesson here is that if you focus on quality and simplicity, you reach your goals. And to date, 75% of materials used at Patagonia are environmentally preferred (organic, recycled, etc.) when making their awesome outdoor clothing wares, etc.

5greenest

Grateful MondayMar. 16th

We took a walk around town, the new puppy on a leash for the first time. He didn’t even try to eat the leash all that often, and the oldest child pulled the wagon, every once and a while asking the little one, Are you having fun in there, with kindness lilting.

It was late in the afternoon and the breeze was light, the sun out, the temperature still up for the time of day.

Truth be told, life has not been kind lately. It has not turned back to ask if I’m having fun, no not at all. But I am, I can, if only I tell myself the stories of hope and light.

So we walked, drinking in each other and the beautiful day, we stared it down until it was us.

yoga and mindfulness for kids: 8 best websitesMar. 12th

There are so many websites focused on mindfulness and so many focused on yoga, and then there are those focused on BOTH. Some are geared toward adults and some are geared toward children, and some are geared toward BOTH. 

We are narrowing it down for you! (You’re welcome)

YogaMindfulness

Here is a list of some of the best websites for resources, inspiration and products, classes, and more, focused on children, yoga, and mindfulness: 

Cosmic Kids Yoga

Little Flower Yoga

Yoga Kids 

Left Brain Buddha – tips, activities, and inspiration

mindful.org – mindful magazine – tips and more

mindful kids – resources and activities 

mindful schools – curriculum, resources, training, online and in-person courses

Annaka Harris – tips on teaching mindfulness to children

And don’t forget! Playful Planet has Storyland Yoga, our award-winning children’s yoga DVD and Condor Trek, the accompanying yoga storybook. Enjoy! 

Go check these out, friends! Pin them, bookmark them, learn from all the great content.

Have a playful day!

small thingsMar. 4th

Last night I sat in a quiet diner and ate a late dinner after working a very long day. There were only a couple of other tables filled in the whole place, until a grandfather and granddaughter walked in and sat in the next booth. I couldn’t help hearing them, and was moved by their kindness toward one another. 

From generation to generation we have this opportunity to put each other first. 

He told her about his years as a sheriff, and she beamed at him, telling him that his stories are amazing and she’s so proud of him. It’s her first year of college. He asked her if her major is decided and she said she’s torn between teaching elementary or middle school. He assured her she would figure it out. 

He had liver and onions. 

He promised to take her shopping the next day. 

She told him she can’t drink coffee this late at night or she won’t sleep. He ordered milk. 

This young lady was on a break from school and she came to stay with her grandfather. She came to spend time with a man that led her family through time and supported her mother. I was reminded of the importance of giving back, not only to work toward a sustainable future for generations to come, but to honor the generations before us. 

The generations before us may not have known what we know now–about recycling, the environment and other global health issues–but here they are, many of them willing to learn. Many of whom have paved the path toward educating ourselves about the issues we face as a whole.

No matter what, the people before us raised us up and let us go, and we have the choice to take the good, and run with it, to better this place, simply because we can.

Showing up is key, friends. To Grandpa’s house. To spending time having fun with our children. To making small efforts to improve the health of our families. Even if we feel overwhelmed by the issues that face us and the pace of life, we can do small things.

Visiting grandpa, taking a loved one out for dinner, recycling, helping our neighbors, taking a walk, playing, noticing the fall colors all around, cleaning up the streets, planting gardens, giving back… 

“Do small things with great love.” Mother Theresa