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.
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!!
Traveling as a family is a great way to encourage your kids to explore the world around them and embrace the differences they find. But traveling the world in an effort to better understand it can cause environmental damage to the places you visit. It has the potential to damage fragile environments and destroy local cultures if managed poorly, but the exciting news is that travel can also provide many economic, environmental and social benefits when done thoughtfully. When you make travel plans with your children, it’s fun to talk about the impact of your travels on the environment so they can see that green thinking is always a part of the planning process. According to the UN’s Commission on Sustainable Development, Travel & Tourism is the single largest industry in the world.Simple Tips For Green Travel
Book your stay at green hotels. Look for hotels that have received the LEED certification or the EPA’s ENERGY STAR. Talk with your children about the green practices you observe when traveling for ideas to implement at home. Or notice together where green practices are lacking, and write to hotels together with ideas on how they can improve.
Use public transportation. Take advantage of trains and buses when visiting cities. Ask about group shuttle services to and from major attractions. Children naturally love public transportation and typically find it exciting to travel in a diversity of large vehicles. Use their excitement to help you break from the car habit, and you’ll find it’s a fun way to explore a new area without the stresses of driving and parking.
Rent a hybrid vehicle. If you have to drive, look for the greenest rental options. When possible, rent bikes instead!.
Conserve energy in your room. Shut off the lights and lower the air conditioning when you leave your hotel room for the day. Help your children remember that even though you aren’t at home, travel is an extension of your home and each location you visit deserves just as much care.
Pack light. Remember that the heavier something is, the more resources required to move it from one place to another.
Practicing many of the same green living strategies while you travel that you use at home can help ensure that the places you love to explore on vacation will remain beautiful escapes for future generations of travelers. Imagine your own child taking his or her children on a family vacation someday! Learn More/ For more great tips on eco-friendly traveling, check out the Go Green Travel Green blog and the Green Traveler Guides website.
It’s often said that “we are what we eat”, but many of us don’t really know what we’re eating. Sure, we can see meats, vegetables and whole grains on our plate, but what we don’t see is often cause for alarm. Processed foods are usually loaded with additives designed to increase shelf life and change the taste and texture of food. While processed foods are generally healthier options, many have still been produced with pesticides and other toxic chemicals. Many of these invisible ingredients are known carcinogens and can cause extensive damage to both our bodies and our environment. In the United States, more than 3,000 substances can be legally added to foods for the purpose of preservation, coloring, texture, or increasing flavor.Simple Steps For Choosing Healthier, Sustainable Foods
Read the ingredient list. The best way to avoid additives in your foods is to check the label. In general, if you can’t pronounce it, you shouldn’t eat it. If you’re unsure about an ingredient, look it up before you put it on the table.
Buy organic. The organic label can only be applied to produce raised without chemicals and pesticides and meat raised without the use of hormones and antibiotics.
Grow your own. The best way to know what’s in your food is to raise it yourself. Strawberries, blueberries, bell peppers, potatoes, and spinach are good choices for produce to grow on your own because of the high amount of pesticides found on grocery store varieties.
Its the end of Summer and most people have taken a trip, be it a road trip, a plane trip or a camping trip. Trips are fun for the whole family and you can always find something educational about them which is great. New areas offer great places to explore, learn and grow as a person and as a family in general.
If you are driving a car on a lot of your trips have you ever looked into hybrid or fuel efficient cars? Remember a few years ago people thought it was a fad? That they were so hard to come by and it was something all the celebrities are doing? Now today only 4% of the population in 2013 has hybrid cars. While that number doesn’t sound staggering its actually grown 73% in the last 2 years. That is because more and more car manufacturers are making these cars. Toyota started the craze and now everyone else is jumping on board. This is a great way to help the environment if your family takes a lot of road trips.
If you are a family that fly’s a lot of places consider this take what you actually need. I know crazy right? I am the queen of overpacking. But teaching your kids at a young age to pack what they actually need on a trip is a great lesson. One great thing about traveling with young ones I heard is this: Take your kids clothes put them in gallon size ziplock bags everything from hair bows, belts, hats, under garments, shirts, dresses whatever. Say you are gone for 7 days you have 7 bags. Lets the kids pick a bag each day. Not only does it save you time but that way they still feel like they get a say and you don’t feel like you have over packed or like you are doing crazy amounts of laundry post vacation. Also be aware that every mile you fly on vacation each passenger is equal to driving an SUV the same distance fuel wise. Which is not very earth friendly.
Also don’t forget about great local vacations and travel spots. Camping is a wonderful way to spend time with your family and if most areas have camp grounds not far from home. So not only are you traveling lite but you are teaching your kids so many valuable lessons about living on less.
Try to keep in mind responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well being of local people.
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.
Do you need an emotional pick me up? Are you feeling drained, tired or stressed out at the end of your busy weeks? Are your children seeming to need a little help in chasing away “poor me” feelings of self-centeredness. The answer may be to bring the family together to helping someone else out.
How can adding one more thing to your to-do list make life better? Research has shown being kind to other people actually makes us feel better. It can improve your self esteem, reduce stress, and help you feel more connected to the people around you. Kindness is a self-perpetuating energy, like anything else. The more kind you are, the more you see kindness, the more it seems to find you.
Children can be naturally kind and compassionate, but sometimes it can take a prompt to let them feel free and safe to share with kindness. Modeling ways to help each other, simply to be kind, is an easy way to help them internalize the goodness that blooms when kindness rules. Making service to others a way of life is a great way to keep your energy reserves up and your stress levels down. The key is finding simple ways to fit helping out into your everyday life.
People who volunteer an average of 2 hours per week throughout their lives have a 40% lower mortality rate than those who don’t.
Simple Ideas for Making Kindness a Daily Practice:
Celebrate Kindness. Cheer each other on by sharing stories of kindness while you eat dinner, or by posting drawings of your volunteer activities on your fridge door. It’s okay to feel good about giving of yourself to others—in fact, it’s a great motivator!
Volunteer as a family. Double up on family time and volunteering time by spending an afternoon at a local soup kitchen together or sorting clothes to give away. This is a great way to teach kids about the importance of helping others.
Send a card. Create a weekly habit of mailing one “I was thinking about you” card to a friend or family member. You can get the kids involved by having them draw pictures or write their own notes. Include a pressed flower from your garden or a silly snapshot. Have fun simply thinking “what would give this person a smile?”
Cook extra. If you’re already preparing a meal, why not make a little extra for an elderly neighbor, a friend battling an illness or just someone who needs a lovely surprise?
HelpOthers.org has even more ideas for kind things that are easy to add to your daily family life. Serve.gov can help you locate volunteer opportunities in your local community.
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!
Some of the simple steps made total sense to me….and challenged me! For example, “Grow your own organic produce.” We started a garden over the summer. It wasn’t too hard or costly at all! Everyone can do this, even if ti’s out of a ceramic pot…it can be done…
With fall here, I am enjoying the cooling weather trend. Living here on the Central California it’s sometimes hard to get to the essence of all the seasons. We try our best to enjoy the sun, but also embrace the cold. The latest Simple as ABC discussed Nurture Nature. Meaning getting out more into nature. My girls took this on through a nature walk they did with their grandparents when they were here visiting. Simply taking time and also a camera, to enjoy a simple walk made for a wonderful experience that they shared together.
Together they explored, laughed, had fun, and created memories….all out in nature!
The latest installment of Simple as ABC had me thinking! I really do need to get rid of plastic! But as I look in my kitchen cabinets, it seems that is all I have. But my story with plastic goes further back….My mom was a Tupperware manager. Yes…she was awesome at her job of selling Tupperware…so much so that it got us to Disneyworld, a new station wagon and one of those huge stereos with an 8-Track player in it! OK, so I’m dating my self, but I grew up on loving this stuff! And I still do! So when I first heard the title, ZAP Plastic Crap…I was like…no way..not mine. BUt as I read more, I understood what the article was really try to say….not to waste plastic (by throwing it away), but instead buying and using wisely. So banish the plastic bags and use containers that are safe for food. I have plenty of that!
It was hard at first, to be using containers for the girls snacks and lunches, especially since plastic bags are so convenient. But after a few days, it became easier.
And it simply made more sense! And really I had just a few more dishes to do, but nothing that the girls can’t rinse out themselves. Little changes really do make all the big difference. It’s not as hard as I thought it would be…and I’m passing on a great lesson to my girls too! How are you doing with zapping the plastic???
Storyland Yoga is a nationally recognized, Award-Winning kid’s yoga video that features easy yoga poses for beginners and a story that engages children by motivating them to do yoga as they imitate animal poses and other kids. Whether you’re a concerned mom, teacher or grandparent, this video is a wonderful investment in your child’s future health and development. When practiced regularly, yoga benefits children and has proven to increase concentration, clarity, calmness and even grades.