How do we inspire our kids to be more grateful?Nov. 4th

PP Question_NOVGratitude rock

So, in today’s modern world, how do you inspire children to grow up with an attitude of gratitude instead of an “attitude”, if you know what I mean? Many psychologists have studied gratitude and its effects on our well being.  People who are more grateful seem to lead more satisfying lives and are more resilient in a crisis or under pressure. I for one definitely want that for my whole family! Rudolf Steiner, known for creating Waldorf Education, said this “Gratitude is the basis for love. When children deepen their appreciation for the natural world, they deepen their love for all of creation.”  An easy way to start is to simply as your kids,  “What are three things you are grateful for today?”  Or, for younger ones, try a rhyme or a song that appeals to you. Giving thanks before a meal is another powerful way to inspire gratitude. Here’s a sweet one for the younger kiddos:



The eagle gives thanks for the mountains,

The fish gives thanks for the sea

We give our blessings for the food
We are about to receive.



We’d love to hear your ideas, as different ideas appeal to children as they grow and develop into adults.

For more resources, check out “G=Gratitude Attitude” in our Simple as A-B-C’s.

Guest Post: 5 ideas to get us out of a lunchbox rutOct. 12th


When we think of school lunches normally food items such as a sandwich, mini pizza, cookies, a pack of juice come to mind. These are what usually form the lunch box of a child. Why is that so? Mainly because they are convenient and children like them too. No preparation time is required, saving you time and effort, and all you have to do is pop them in your child’s bag. Children also love you for that. But are parents really doing a favor to their kids by giving them such items for school lunch? Not really. Not only are these highly processed but they also contain high levels of sodium, preservatives and sugar, making them unhealthy. School canteens also do not always have a variety of healthy options available. Besides, it is better for you to pack homemade lunch for your children rather than giving them money to buy something from school. Not only will that ensure that the food is hygienic and nutritious but it will also save loads of money over time. Since most kids are unaware of the health hazards of unhealthy food, it is up to you to provide them with nutritious meals and help them eat healthy.

Last night’s leftovers

No, there is no hard and fast rule that school lunches can only include chips and cookies. Last night’s leftovers will work just fine. Did your child love the meatballs from last night? You could make some extra and maybe add some rice with it. There you have a healthy lunch ready and something that your child would be eager to have. You could prepare chicken chunks, make chicken and egg spread for a sandwich, fry or bake boneless fish. There are plenty of options for you to consider. Just make sure to pack everything properly to ensure freshness and safety. You could use a thermos for warm food. Include reusable utensils and cloth napkin for ease.

Fruits and vegetables

Pack them such that they can be eaten easily. A child would prefer sliced apples and oranges rather than a whole one. The downside is that they would turn brown by lunch time and your child would rather skip them. Use lemon juice on them to avoid that. Bananas could be given as they are. A bag of grapes is also a good idea. Rather than buying jams and jellies from the stores, you could prepare these at home. The ones available in the supermarket contain very high sugar levels plus preservatives. Some children tend to prefer smoothies over eating fruits. If your child is one of them, you could skip on whole fruits and instead prepare a fruit smoothie, with maybe just a small portion of some vegetable, like spinach. Believe me they would not be able to spot the difference. The best part is that this could be prepared the night before and frozen.

Dairy products

Smoothies are a good way for your child to consume dairy. If not, you could give them the small tetra packs of milk available in the market. Another option is yogurt that you could freeze at night and it would be ready to be eaten by lunchtime. You could add fruits to the yogurt to make it more appealing to a child’s palate. But while you are working on adding dairy to your kids’ diet, think about choosing organic dairy products. You will be doing a favor not only to your children but also to the environment. Factory farms are still injecting artificially produced hormones into cows that make them give more milk. This is not natural and definitely not healthy for you, your children, or the cows. Opt for organic milk even if it costs slightly more.


How can you incorporate grains in your child’s lunch? Whole grain or whole wheat bread should be preferred over white bread. Prepare rice cakes at home and sprinkle them with fruit syrup or maybe peanut butter to make them more appealing. Whole grain crackers are also a good idea and you could also include cheese in the lunch box to go with them. Making cookies at home of whole grains, such as oatmeal raisin cookies instead of the usual chocolate chip, will add nutritional value to their desserts. 


Meat does not necessarily have to be a part of your child’s diet to get them to take in protein. If they do not like it, do not fret. There are alternatives. Egg is a great source of protein, and packaged perfectly for on the go. Hard boiled eggs are easy to prepare and eat. Nuts are also good for lunch or snack time. You could prepare chicken salad or a tuna sandwich if they are into these.

Final thoughts

Children who have healthy, well balanced lunches are better able to concentrate in their class than those who go for the less variations. So there is another reason you should ensure that your children are being supplied with a healthy lunch box. There is also the issue of food allergy to consider. If a certain kind of food does not suit your child, it is best to have their lunch packed from home. Kids may not be as careful about their food choices even if you have instructed them about it beforehand. It is better to be safe.

Author Bio:

Batool Ali is an international blogger who loves to write on different disciplines such as Health, lifestyle, fashion, finance and education.

A More Sustainable Lunch Continues….Oct. 8th

Today’s entry focuses on how to reduce waste and packaging when it comes to the lunchbox. In our featured video, Lily shows us not only what the contents of her lunch look like but how it is packed.

  • reduce, reuse, recycle may be words that seem over played but they really cut to the basics and are in the right order of operations. If you are striving for a more whole foods diet for health reasons for example, you will have the bonus of reducing plastic and cardboard packaging that are ubiquitous in the processed food aisles of the grocery store. You may also be using more bulk foods, which will prompt you to have glass or tin containers to hold your bulk foods, and nearly completely eliminate plastic containers and throw away boxes. Instead of grabbing a box of “insert comfort food here” you may learn how to make more things from scratch, one recipe at a time replacing such things as granola bars and cookies and turning them into secret power foods with nut butters and coconut sugars instead of processed sugars and empty calories.
    • DO THIS MORE: Bulk foods are now widely available



AND LESS OF THIS: health food stores have attractive and tempting packaging!



Sometimes it is easier to get kids on board than to “sustain” sustainability, so we want to hear about your “reduce” and “reuse” hacks, including containers, bento boxes, lunch bags, etc… especially home made and low cost options. Here’s a great read on high quality sustainable and safe lunch boxes, Here’s some wild ideas from a sustainable restaurateur to cut your food waste, including how to tell if your eggs have gone bad, and some pretty wild ideas on how to eliminate packaging in your kitchen or pantry.

Coming soon, a guest blog on healthy lunch ideas, organic and humane products, local and home grown produce, and recipes galore!!

Gratitude Monday: The Gift of the Magi by O’HenryDec. 9th


The Gift of the Magi by O’Henry. As a child I heard or read this story, I can’t remember which, but it has always stayed with me as a reminder of the joy of giving. Maybe it was the twist of tragedy intertwined with the message of love and giving in this story that made it so poignant to me as a child, but regardless, it’s a beautiful classic that everyone should read, especially as we come closer to Christmas. It’s a sweet reminder of what it truly means to give and receive. You can download the MP3 link here The Gift of the Magi and listen with your family or cuddle up with a warm drink and read the story out loud yourself with the text version. Stay cozy and enjoy!

Gratefully yours,

Playful Lisa


Grateful Monday ~ Healthy, Abundant Food!Nov. 11th

Grateful Monday ~ Healthy, Abundant Food


For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson


As parents we naturally want our children to be grateful for what they have.  However, living in a privileged society it may be understandably challenging for children to wrap their heads around gratitude for things they simply take for granted…like plentiful food, clean water, abundant clothing and cozy shelters. 


As we head into the holidays we are surrounded with food (some healthy, some not so much…) at every turn, treats, feasts, baking, parties, there seems to be no end to the amount of food available to us.  Most of us, that is.  So the question begs, how do we help our children know the pain and fear and shame of hunger without actually withholding food? 


Reading and telling stories about these topics is a great place to start… through storytelling and rich characters children can sneak a peek into the lives of others and can connect and empathize in a way that preaching will never accomplish. 

Here is a good one…


Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan (Ages 4-8)


One of the stories my mother told us growing up (and now my kids) was how her class- mates would eat lunch at school but she would walk home because all they had to eat were turnips, fried, boiled, you name it, just turnips.  She was too embarrassed to have friends over, or to bring such a meager lunch for everyone to see, so she would slip away, trying not to draw attention to herself.  It still breaks my heart every time I hear it.  


Acts of service are another way to help children become mindful of the plight of the hungry in our community.  There are so many ways to do this… anonymously leaving a grocery store gift card for someone you know is struggling,  passing out restaurant gift cards to the homeless, volunteering with Meals on Wheels or local community or church food banks… opportunities for service abound this time of year.


A Kids’ Guide to Hunger & Homelessness: How to Take Action!                           by Cathryn Berger Kaye M.A. (Ages 12+)                               

This season I am definitely grateful for food.  We are beyond blessed here on the Central Coast with year round, fresh produce and an abundance of farmer’s markets, CSA’s and a variety of well stocked grocery stores.  That is something to give thanks for at least three times a day!

How do you teach your kids about hunger and helping others in need? Share your stories, experiences and great ideas with us!

Gratefully Yours,

Playful Lisa


What is the Key To Raising Healthy, Balanced Kids? Grateful Monday-What is Inspiring you?Dec. 10th

Hi again from Rani! I’m back with a Grateful Monday Post and asking What Inspires You?

The other day I was perusing Playful Planet’s Playful Tube Videos and was simply in awe by the genuine words of caring that came from these celebrity and expert interviews. Here is a quick screen shot of their front Playful Tube Page.

There are some fantastic people being interviewed! Please take some time to listen to what they have to say….about the environment, our children, our future!

One of them is Cesar MIian…yes..the Dog Whisperer! In this piece he discusses the need for children to have and find balance through exercise, discipline and affection. The idea is not to work against the nature of things…be it a child, a person or an idea.

I was struck by the simplicity of this notion and yet how meaningful and real it is. Applying it to my own girls means finding time to play, be outside and making that a natural part of our everyday living!

Please share what inspires you? A cool video? Nice art on Facebook, nature itself….or a person….

Thanks for reading and sharing!

-Playful Rani!

Back To School Already?Aug. 24th

Back To School Already?


It is so hard to wrap my mind around the fact that school started up this week! Wow. It feels just like it did when I was a kid and the last week of summer was clouded a bit by disbelief. These days, however, I look forward to the consistency that the school year brings. I like the free-flow of summer, but I am ready to have a little more structure come back in.

I was thinking of ways that I can help Lily to regain some focus and think that using our yoga-play time might help. So here are the Top 5 ways to improve your child’s focus and social behavior through ‘story yoga':

1. Pair Actions with Story– ‘Story Yoga’ works best when you introduce body action moves that pair with the story. For example, by engaging a child’s imagination in a story to help endangered species, they learn the yoga poses by imitating animals and gain interest in the planet — an award winning approach offered in the Storyland Yoga DVD.

2. Stay with Your Calm Energy– When your child is acting out or they get chatty when you are trying to show them yoga or tell them a story, just let most of the chatter go by, and keep teaching, staying with your energy. Children will often model calm behavior if they see it is consistent and safe. This is a great way for them to learn how to keep themselves calm in social situations.IMAG0130

3. Routine Brings Security- security also can mean more focus for a child when they know what to expect with their day to day routine. If they know that it will be time for ‘Story Yoga’ at a certain time every day or even a few consistent days each week, they will not only come to expect it but the thought of it can bring them to a calm space when they think about it.

4. Involve them in the Story- get the child to come up with the next pose or piece to the story you are sharing. This will help them develop better communication skills as well as teach them to become comfortable and confident with their body. They can create their own character, name them and be them, and of course you can pose along with the fun. This is an excellent confidence builder.

5. Create the Image- After you do the ‘Story Yoga’ with your child, have them color or draw the story to bring it to life. They can then share this with family and friends as they show them the poses that go with the story. It is important to not correct them in this creation process, just let them flow with the crayons and pose them on the paper however they would like so that they can tell the story from their view and experience.

Tips provided by Playful Planet, creators of the Award Winning- Storyland Yoga DVD

Family Fun Day Benefit EventJul. 9th


Family Fun Day Event

to Benefit



Playful Planet, Harmony House Yoga and Honeymoon Cafe

join together to support an amazing project
that gives grade school kids in New Orleans, whoare still feeling the
unfortunate effects of Hurricane Katrina,a Community Garden project called The Garden of Eatin’.
The children have the opportunity to learn about the importance of healthy foods and a healthy environment,
to prepare the soil and plant seeds, to nurture growing fruits and vegetables throughout the year,
and then harvest their crops!
Some of these kids have never left the inner city district of the Lower Ninth Ward,
but the Garden of Eatin’ brings them outto the countrywhere theylearn more
about the multitude of benefits of growing food, eatinghealthily,and being in nature.
Aid Still Required (ASR) based in nearby Santa Monica, CA refocuses
the spotlight on people who have been left behind after natural disasters.
ASR is proud to collaborate with community partner New Orleans’ nonprofit Common Ground Relief
on behalf of the children and to support wetlands restoration.
The effects of Katrina have been out of the news for years, but they are very real on the ground.



Help us support this effort by coming out on July 30th

3:00-6:00 pm at Harmony House Yoga and Honeymoon Cafe

911 Price Street in Pismo Beach

Suggested Donation: $10/adult $5/child
no one turned away for lack of funds!

Special Guests Include:

Hunter and Andrea Herz Payne, Founders Aid Still Required
Michelle Stern, Author, The Whole Family Cookbook
Meet Michelle Stern as she makes her way from her home in Northern, CA all the way to San Diego for a book launch tour of her fabulous new family cookbook. The Whole Family Cookbook offers time-saving strategies for shopping and cooking, along with the resources you need to cook healthy, local food in any season. The delicious recipes will please discriminating adults and will tickle the taste buds of your children, getting them excited to eat healthy meals for their bodies and for the benefit of the planet.
Michelle runs What’s Cooking with Kids, a certified green company that offers healthy and seasonal
cooking classes and birthday parties in the San Francisco area. Michelle is a former high-school teacher,
a recipient of Scholastic’s 2010 Parent Blogger Award, and a mom.

Featuring Musical Offerings By:

Super Crooner and Kids Entertainer
Chad Schmidt of Wadsworth Bluff Rats
Other Fun Stuff Includes:

~~~ A LIVE Storyland Yoga Class ~~~
~~~ A ‘hands-on’ healthy snack for kids ~~~
~~~ Nature Crafts (Sea Kelp Shakers) ~~~
With Special Thanks to:
Clark Valley Organic Farm will be donating mounds of farm-fresh organic strawberries
for our ‘Hands-on Healty Snack’ project. Taking a recipe out of The Whole Family Cookbook,
kids will build their own Berry Yogurt Parfait. Delicious and nutritious!