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:

Umbrella

 

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.

TOP 5 TIPS FOR LESS SUGAR ON HALLOWEENOct. 22nd

Halloween-Witch-1

Here are 5 Tips for saving our kids from Scary Sugar Stories on Halloween, without being a bad “Witch”. Truthfully, I’m dreading bringing this up, talking about SUGAR on Halloween? The most poorly received public presentation I ever made was talking to a corporate group about office culture and nutrition, bringing up how sugar creates health problems and how the office should not allow employees and solicitors to populate the break room with sugary delights. Not only were there crickets in the room but the glares I got for the rest of the week drove home how sugary rituals are part of the joy people took in their workdays. So, please allow me to spare you the details of why we want to limit the sugar in our diets for another day (or by special request) and merely provide a small pitch and resources to help make Halloween time a less sugary event, should that be on YOUR list of priorities.

Events

EVENTS – Many community centers, churches, and organizations have events designed to be fun alternatives to trick or treating. Having the kids wear themselves out in bounce houses, bobbing for apples, playing games for prizes, etc… may just wear them out enough to make Trick or Treating a smaller part of Halloween rather than the main event, or eliminate it altogether. To find events in your area, google Halloween events in your city or county, or contact a local news provider.

Switch WitchSWITCH WITCH –  If “trick or treating” is the absolute favorite activity and does produce prodigious amounts of candy, consider using a “Switch Witch” approach Just remember to set up the story some days before Halloween. You can also call it the “Candy Fairy” if your children are scared of witches and don’t like the thought of her creeping into their houses while they sleep. You can either dump all the candy or let your child keep a few of their favorites and get rid of the rest.

Candy Trading

 

 

CANDY TRADING   some dentists offices accept candy trade-ins for little prizes and send the sweets as little gifts to our troops overseas. My 5 year old did ask the question “if sweets are bad for us, why are they good for the troops?” I think my answer mentioned that they’d only be getting a few pieces each so it wouldn’t send them to the dentist’s office straight away with a cavity, but it would nicely remind them of being a kid again.

Sugar Substitues

 

SUGAR SUBSTITUTES – If you are motivated to bake, there are many sugar substitutes that taste great hidden in cookies and other treats, and are far less harmful than refined white sugar. Also, if you are supplying treats for your community party or for trick or treaters, consider giving out glow sticks or other party favor toys instead, most small children will like them even better than edible treats and you and your kids won’t be tempted to sample the goods.

Learn MoreLEARN MORE about the effects of refined sugar on children’s bodies and why too much candy can be harmful to their health. Do it together and make a game of learning more, and let them teach you, too, so everyone will respect the decision to limit sugar in the family diet. For small children short and sweet explanations work best, like “it gives us tummy aches or gives us tooth aches”, and as children get older, invite them to watch a documentary like one that we recommend: Katie Couric’s “Fed Up”. 

A More Sustainable Lunches Continues… the HORROR of ziplock bagsOct. 15th

ziplocksI have a confession to make: I use ziplock bags, a lot of them. Before my son started kindergarten, it would take at least 6 months to go through the box of ziplock bags, but suddenly, with packing school lunches for a picky eater, I have been going through 1 box every month. I hate to think that I’m contributing to the giant trash gyre of the pacific, or to my family’s exposure to endocrine disruptors released by plastics. Plastic, a ubiquitous part of modern life, is very hard to eliminate from the household. I remember one playdate I went to where the house was pretty much plastic free. I was so envious of the amount of jars and pretty ceramic containers that they had. So, I’ve tried to start, with one container at a time, one less processed food at a time. After all, my cupboard used to be full of Teflon non-stick pans  and one by one I replaced them with safer (and more expensive) options. One step at a time, I CAN do this!! I’m not much of a seamstress, so luckily there’s Etsy with lots of options for hand-made reusable bags.handmade bags When choosing fabrics, you want to look for BPA and phthalate free material as the liner, as some are made with cheaper PVC plastic that is not safe for packaging food. When I googled “do it yourself sandwich bags”, the first link was to a better homes and garden article which says to use the PVC fabric because it is easier to sew than ripstop nylon. If you are handier at sewing than I am, you can look at do it yourself materials on the internet like this. Your kids will enjoy picking their own fabrics and you can teach them how to sew with this really easy first project. You can even sell them for your PTA fundraiser instead of candy or other junk food popularly used as fundraiser fare. So, who’s with me in dumping plastic ziplock bags?

Guest Blogger: Rebecca Wolthers, parent educator and aspiring green mom

Question of the MonthOct. 2nd

PP Question_Leaf

How do you pack a more healthy, sustainable lunch for your kids?

lunch bentos

With everyone caught in the Back to School frenzy, our October topic is all about our desire to explore how to pack our kid’s lunches in a way that aligns with our values regarding keeping our planet and our bodies clean and sustainable. With many modern parenting issues, there are often more questions than answers that come up, and we are all about taking ideas and putting them into action. For some, sustainable may be about organic, for others, about going vegan, or even dabbling in urban permaculture. In the end, we all have to make it work within our family’s budget and time constraints. It isn’t a contest to see who is the greenest parent, but comes from a desire to put good things in our children’s bodies so that they can feel healthy, happy, and energetic. We want to show our kids how to be stewards of the earth and make good choices for themselves and their future families. The resources that come out of making these inquiries will hopefully help you come to terms with the lunchbox struggle in a way that fits your values.

This month we will be sharing ideas, recipes, and yes, PLAYING around on Youtube! Stay tuned!

Play EverydayJul. 14th

Weekly Health & Green Tips

Each week, a new letter of the alphabet is introduced that represents a simple idea – a reminder of the small things we can do to make a big difference in the health of our families and the well-being of our planet.

 

P=Play Everyday

Playing is an important part of childhood and when you have kids an important part of adulthood. Children can learn so much through play and its very easy to make playtime learning time too. From simple activities such as sidewalk chalk drawing of shapes and writing numbers to play hop scotch to board games such as monopoly and candy land that encourage counting, taking turns and colors as well as numbers. 

  • Its also important for children to use their imaginations and have open ended play. Playing with a giant cardboard box a package came in or items found outside can really fulfill a child’s imagination and also help our planet and teach recycling. 
  • Its also important as a parent to show your children that your playful spirit never fades. If parents can be playful and have fun with their kids and encourage that playful-ness constantly children will grow up and never lose that playful way about them. That is so important for their imaginations as they get older. Kids should stay kids as long as possible. 
  • Setting aside time to play everyday is great. So many things in life can get in the way and just like its important to set aside time for ourselves encouraging children as they are growing up to set aside playful time is just as important. 
  • Also encourage outside play as much as possible. Local parks, your own backyard or front yard, bike rides, building forts and tree houses are all great ways for kids and adults together to have playful time and be in the fresh air. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learn More: This article from Scholastic on open ended play also encourages using items you could easily throw out to turn a playroom into a room for children to explore. 

A New BeginningJan. 6th

We here at Playful Planet hope your year is off to a great start! We have been taking time to spend time with our families and make plans for this year and Playful Planet! We hope you will join us on our journey this year as we hope to bring you new and exciting things as well as share with you resources that will help with your family lifestyle towards a greener, and wiser planet!

Join us on facebook and twitter and be sure to catch our weekly Simple as ABC updates, along with our library of Playful Tube Videos that will open your mind and heart and propel you to take action! Be sure to come over to Playful Planet often as we enjoy all our guests!!!

May your year be filled with new journey and new ways of looking at the world!
Forever Stay Playful!

Our hearts filled with sorrowDec. 14th

With the events that happened today in Connecticut, we are filled with extreme sorrow and sadness. Any time is a bad time at hearing such news, let alone around the holidays. Our hearts go out to those families who lost loved ones. I admit, I have had tears most of the day thinking about this.

There are no quick answers to this…only time. But we can pray, send our thoughts, and take the agonizing time to heal. Please send your thoughts to Connecticut. Send your thoughts for peace. Light a candle….do something to not only heal their hearts, but ours as well.