BOOK LOOK – The Mitten by Jan Brett


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 The Mitten

by Jan Brett


Karen’s short + long of it with P.L.A.Y.ful story preview & P.L.A.Y.-filled activity adventure suggestions.


P.L.A.Y.ful story preview (short):

See How A Story Can Stre-e-etch and Keep You In Stitches!

Elbow Room for Everyone

A Winter Wonder P.L.A.Y.scape

P.L.A.Y.-filled activity adventure suggestions (long):

  • Challenge: Set-up a tent in your backyard or make a fort in the woods and guess how many people can fit. Test your theory!
  • Super Challenge: Have you ever worn something with stitches and watched it stretch and then shrink back when you wash it? Try knitting or crocheting a square to see how the mitten really could expand and if you can help it retain the original shape by washing it.
  • Super-Duper Challenge: Knit a mitten and see how many stones can fit inside and at what point can it no longer expand and will it really go back to the original shape once it has been stretched.

Capkins LOVE to be read to – especially P.L.A.Y.-filled nature themed story books!

❤ ❤ ❤

  Be sure to visit and support your local library!


 

BOOK LOOK – Red Sled by Lita Judge


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Here’s to celebrating the 1st big snow storm of the year that dropped a whopping 20+ inches of fluffy white sledding stuff on WMass!

Time to P.L.A.Y. – Snow Day!

Then curl up with some cocoa, mini-marshmallows, and this sweet book.

Red Sled

by Lita Judge


Karen’s short + long of it with P.L.A.Y.ful story preview & P.L.A.Y.-filled activity adventure suggestions.


P.L.A.Y.ful story preview (short):

A “Scrinch, Scrunch, scrinch, scrunch,” Surprise in the Snow with a Sled – Sweeeeeeeeeet!!!

Winter Wonders & Animals in Action

Childhood Charm

P.L.A.Y.-filled activity adventure suggestions (long):

  • Challenge: Sledding is P.L.A.Y.  for ALL AGES, big hill and little hills, will add some “weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee” time into your life!
  • Super Challenge: While you are out there make some tracks and create designs, or mazes, or fanciful artwork to simply enjoy or take a snapshot to share your P.L.A.Y.-filled day.
  • Super-Duper Challenge: Write your own sled adventure and answer the question “Who would you like to see out your window to go sledding with?”
  • Super Spectacular Challenge: Create a friends and family event to be out in the snow under the full moon with thermoses of hot cocoa and marshmallows too!
  • Super-Duper-Spectacular Challenge: Can you spot any “smooth sled like” tracks near your home in the woods or at the local nature sanctuary? Who made these sled-like tracks? Are they near a brook, stream, or water source? What did they make this track with? Hint: Perhaps it was a Castor Canadensis that did! * See The Adventures of Paddy the Beaver (here) to learn more.

Capkins LOVE to be read to – especially playful nature themed story books!

  Be sure to visit and support your local library! ❤ ❤ ❤


 

BOOK LOOK – Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman


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Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night

by Joyce Sidman


Karen’s short + long of it with P.L.A.Y.ful story preview & P.L.A.Y.-filled activity adventure suggestions.


P.L.A.Y.ful story preview (short):

Adventures included: Nectar to Nocturnal and Wax to Wane

Plenty of Nighttime Nature P.L.A.Y.-filled Poetry

Engaging with Evening Events unfolding art-fully

P.L.A.Y.-filled activity adventure suggestions (long):

  • Challenge: Watch from your window on a summer’s night or venture out your door and listen for the swish and swoop of bat’s feasting over open fields. What are they eating in the night sky? (poem p. 26)
  • Super Challenge: Can you create a ballad for a bug or critter you find in the fields or forest? Write just a few catchy lines that share the secrets of what they are up to – day or night! (poem p. 24)
  • Super-Duper Challenge: Oh What Will We Find on the Forest Floor? Look for a spot in the forest where mushrooms grow. Revisit the same spot, especially after damp days and watch for things to magically change overnight. What changes do you see? (poem p. 22)
  • Super Spectacular Challenge: Did you solve who is the Dark Emperor? Have you seen one? or heard WHO-O-O it is?!?

Capkins LOVE to be read to – especially playful nature themed story books!

  Be sure to visit and support your local library! ❤ ❤ ❤


 

Simple Gift: Moments of Inner Stillness


~~~ BOOK LOOK ~~~


Mindful Movements: Ten Exercises for Well-Being

by Thich Nhat Hanh

A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles 

 by Thich Nhat Hanh


~ Review & Reflection ~


Are you seeking simple steps to have moments of daily inner stillness?

Is this challenging to envision when life seems to keep you in motion day and night?

Well look no further than these two calming and family friendly books by Thich Nhat Hahn that will help you and your loved ones begin a set of simple mindful practices that can be done anywhere in your day – indoors or outdoors, all together, partnered up, or solo!

I like to begin my day with Mindful Movements: Ten Exercises For Well-Being just as the morning sun begins to peek over the top of the ridge near our home. I am also very much a morning person so be sure to select the best time for you and your loved ones to engage with these simple mindful exercises to get your circulation going and to feel more centered and focused.

<breathe in><breathe out>

The movements Thich Nhat Hahn recommends are gentle and suit most folks. I like to use this as a beginning to my warm-up and typically add either a few more repetitions or a few extra yoga style stretches to feel fully awake. Focusing on the breath throughout this practice truly makes all the difference as you connect to your “aliveness”.

Then later in the afternoon, whether I’m indoors or typically outdoors on my walk, I take a moment to practice the principles of A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles. I have a true fondness for finding what I call stripey stones down by the river that suit this practice nicely.

I’ve also adapted this practice, in addition to using pebbles, to sometimes using sticks, acorns, leaves, or gathering anything along my walk to then focus on my breath as I hold and release the items back into nature. I take care not to disturb things that are growing and typically select items that have fallen to the ground.

With each nature item I hold in my hand and I practice the in-out breath and connect to what I want to see and be in this world: peace, prosperity, and most of all love. This really creates clarity and gets to the true heart of this practice for me.

And so over time practicing these movements and meditations routinely has become an important part of my P.L.A.Y. path filling my tank with loving kindness towards myself (inward) and setting the intention to share this with everyone I meet (outward). And little by little these simple practices have created an inner stillness that I can connect to again and again, especially when the world seems to be constantly in motion around me.

Wishing you and yours the simple gift of accessing and connecting to your inner stillness throughout the seasons so that you too may find your days filled with peace, prosperity, and most of all love.


~ Recommended P.L.A.Y. ~

  For more inner stillness opportunities visit the Skyscape Simplicity posts HERE.

❤ ❤ ❤

P.L.A.Y. daily and Pass it on!


BOOK LOOK – The Busy Tree by Jennifer Ward


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The Busy Tree

by Jennifer Ward


Karen’s short + long of it with P.L.A.Y.ful story preview & P.L.A.Y.-filled activity adventure suggestions.


P.L.A.Y.ful story preview (short):

Roots and Rhyme and a very good time!

Delight-filled Discoveries from Trunk to Tree Top

Who lives Here in this busy Home?

P.L.A.Y.-filled activity adventure suggestions (long):

  • Challenge: “Come and see!” is the invitation provided on the last page of Jennifer’s book. Select a tree near your home to visit once a month and create a basic sketch of what it looks like. Record the date and season you first started watching your “busy tree”.
  • Super Challenge: While visiting your tree look for traces of insects, animals, weather, and other changes. Record your findings by creating drawings while visiting your tree or take photos and finish the drawings in your Nature Adventure journal at home by looking at the photos for details. 
  • Super-Duper Challenge: Once you have visited your tree for a year look at all the sketches you have made through the seasons and compare what the tree looks like then and now. Make one grand list of all your recorded findings to see just how BUSY the tree has been!
  • Super-Spectacular Challenge: Try this all over again with another type of tree, perhaps a fruiting tree or one in a forest vs. backyard, and swap things up to see the different types of “busyness” that takes place with various trees. Do you see differences? Similarities?

Capkins LOVE to be read to – especially playful nature themed story books!

  Be sure to visit and support your local library!<3 ❤ ❤


 

BOOK LOOK – In a Nutshell by Joseph Anthony


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In A Nutshell

by Joseph Anthony


Karen’s short + long of it with P.L.A.Y.ful story preview & P.L.A.Y.-filled activity adventure suggestions.


P.L.A.Y.ful story preview (short):

Noticing in Nature in a Nutshell

Acorn: Adventure of a Lifetime

Collecting Connections

P.L.A.Y.-filled activity adventure suggestions (long):

  • Challenge: Select one thing in nature and learn about the life cycle adventure it goes through. Example: Plant, Rock, Brook, etc.
  • Super Challenge: What are the changes or transformations this natural item goes through? Over how long – days, months, years? What does it look like? Perhaps draw the cycle in your Nature Adventures journal.
  • Super-Duper Challenge: What connections do you see to other things in nature during the transformation process of the item you are studying? Any surprises? Example: In the story the cherry tree is linked back to the oak tree and acorn.

Capkins LOVE to be read to – especially P.L.A.Y.-filled nature themed story books!

  Be sure to visit and support your local library! ❤ ❤ ❤


BOOK LOOK – The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams


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The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything

by Linda Williams


Karen’s short + long of it with P.L.A.Y.ful story preview & P.L.A.Y.-filled activity adventure suggestions.


P.L.A.Y.ful story preview (short):

Fall Season Fa-la-la Follow Along – No Fear just Fun!

Dares you to Dance in the Dim Moonlight

Surprise Story Ending – Shhhh!

P.L.A.Y.-filled activity adventure suggestions (long):

  • Challenge: What do you fear? What are you afraid of? Pick one thing to focus on.
  • Super Challenge: What if you made a song or fun phrase to chant to give you strength whenever you faced this fear?
  • Super-Duper Challenge: What if you practiced using this phrase or song for a whole week, month, or year, would your fear change? Try it!

Capkins LOVE to be read to – especially P.L.A.Y.-full nature story books! ❤ ❤ ❤

  Be sure to visit and support your local library!<3 ❤ ❤


 

BOOK LOOK – A Log’s Life by Wendy Pfeffer


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A Log’s Life

by Wendy Pfeffer


Karen’s short + long of it with P.L.A.Y.ful story preview & P.L.A.Y.-filled activity adventure suggestions.


P.L.A.Y.ful story preview (short):

Life Cycle of Tree to Log to Tree again!

Story with Sun, Storm, and Seasons

Food, Forest Friends, Hunkering Down, Home

P.L.A.Y.-filled activity adventure suggestions (long):

  • Challenge: Select a log in the woods or forest near your home to visit and revisit again and a again through the seasons for one year.
  • Super Challenge: Record (or “log”) what you see and smell and the textures you touch with each visit to this particular log. Be sure to put plenty of details about colors, shapes, sizes, so that the changes are clear when you look back through your Nature Adventures journal. Try bringing a magnifying glass to see all the fun features up close.
  • Super-Duper Challenge: For a similar adventure select one square yard (3ft x 3ft) of space anywhere in nature. Visit it often, let your senses come alive and record what you see, smell, hear, touch, on each visit through out the seasons. What changes take place? What stays the same? Look closely!

Capkins LOVE to be read to – especially P.L.A.Y.-full nature themed story books! ❤ ❤ ❤

  Be sure to visit and support your local library = All Good! ❤ ❤ ❤


 

BOOK LOOK- Look What I Did With A Leaf! by Morteza Sohi


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Look What I Did With A Leaf!

by Morteza Sohi


Karen’s short + long of it with P.L.A.Y.ful story preview & P.L.A.Y.-filled activity adventure suggestions.


P.L.A.Y.ful story preview (short):

Lots of Layered Leaves

 Adventures Assembling Autumn Leaf Animals

Collage Crafts, Contrasting Colors, Cycle of a Leaf, and so much more!

P.L.A.Y.-filled activity adventure suggestions (long):

  • Challenge: Prepare ahead by gathering many leaves of various sizes and colors and pressing them to dry AND WAITING ONE WEEK until the leaves are ready for crafting.
  • Super Challenge: While you wait a week for the leaves to dry be considering the art you’d like to make. Is it a simple collage of color? Assembling an animal like the photo’s in Morteza’s leaf work? Or creating a larger piece with seasonal scenery? 
  • Super-Duper Challenge: What other materials in nature could you use in your art work? Pressed flower petals? Seeds? Various colors of stones or sand? Experiment!
  • Super-Duper-Special- Challenge: Look up landscape art ( and the well known Andy Goldsworthy) and outdoor ephemeral art for more simple to super challenging adventures. 

Capkins LOVE to be read to – especially P.L.A.Y.-full nature themed story books! ❤ ❤ ❤

  Be sure to visit and support your local library = All Good! ❤ ❤ ❤


 

BOOK LOOK – Miss Maple’s Seeds by Eliza Wheeler


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Miss Maple’s Seeds

by Eliza Wheeler


Karen’s short + long of it with P.L.A.Y.ful story preview & P.L.A.Y.-filled activity adventure suggestions.


P.L.A.Y.ful story preview (short):

Miss Maple is Magical!

Thru the Seasons a Strong Seed Sower and Storer

Nature Nurtures ~”Take care, my little ones, for the world is big and you are small.”

P.L.A.Y.-filled activity adventure suggestions (long):

  • Challenge: Do you recognize any of the seeds in Miss Maple’s basket?
  • Super Challenge: Can you gather seeds outdoors and make a mini-mosaic? Place them on a flat stone, on a cleared dirt patch, or along the length of a log and be sure to take a P.L.A.Y.ful photo!
  • Super-Duper Challenge: Gather seeds to plant or spread them using seed bombs. Be sure to read ahead to know what works best in your area and you have permission to drop them on the property you’ve picked (field, forest, mountain, meadow, garden, etc.).

Capkins LOVE to be read to – especially P.L.A.Y.-full nature themed story books!

  Be sure to visit and support your local library! ❤ ❤ ❤