SALE – Summer Season Starter

P.L.A.Y. Nature Adventure Books now only $5.25 each!

Consider these to be your simple portable SUMMER P.L.A.Y. plans to keep everyone engaged wherever you may be!

Purchase HERE today!

Includes stories and activities for your whole family to enjoy and encourages daily connection to the great outdoors. Bonus!

See sample of a completed Book Page


Nature Alliteration Adventures: The Summer Guide

Over 90+ outdoor adventures designed for June + July + August

*Access to water is recommended for this P.L.A.Y. guide book with adult supervision for water safety as needed.


And try these P.L.A.Y. Nature Activity STORY Adventure Books too!


The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad (Annotated):

A P.L.A.Y. Nature Activity Story Book

From Old Mr. Toad’s Music Bag and The Smiling Pool Playground to Old Mr. Toad’s Odd Tongue you will find plenty of engaging and entertaining chapters in this nature story activity book created for the young and young at heart.

Thornton Burgess’ 100+ year old original characters have been updated in this edition for the 21st century family to model mindfulness and loving kindness throughout their adventures in the Green Forest and beyond.

Bonus Materials includes:

  • The opportunity to illustrate each chapter
  • Photos of the life cycle including shiny egg strands, tadpoles, and toad!
  • Curious question prompts to challenge the reader and family
  • Recommended resources to continue on the P.L.A.Y. path to discover more about toads!

Sample P.L.A.Y. TOAD stories and activities today!


The Adventures of Paddy the Beaver (Annotated) –

A P.L.A.Y. Nature Activity Story Book

From Paddy the Beaver building a home and building a new friendship with Sammy Jay to creating a winter tail trail in the snow you will find plenty of engaging and entertaining moments in this nature story activity book created for the young and young at heart.

Thornton Burgess’ 100+ year old original characters have been updated in this edition for the 21st century family to model mindfulness and loving kindness throughout their adventures in the Green Forest.

Bonus Materials included:

  • Opportunities to illustrate each chapter
  • Photos of beaver activity
  • Tree themed coloring and nature journaling pages
  • Curious questions and prompts to challenge the reader and family
  • Recommended resources to continue on the P.L.A.Y. path to discover more about beavers!

See more P.L.A.Y. Nature Adventure books for only $5.25 each!

Every Day is Mother’s Day

Sharing a note I wrote this morning in response to receiving a “Happy Mother’s Day” wish from a family friend.

Good Morning Dear Oma,

Your “Happy Mother’s Day” wish has found me in a contemplative moment as I sit here at the computer keyboard checking emails this morning.

For the past 7 years I have found Mother’s Day to be so very bittersweet. 💜
I stand in that space between what has passed and what is present. 


I think of my mom and her passing on May 13, 2014 and the great loss I have felt ever since. I think of all the Mother’s Day celebrations she hosted for her own mother and sisters for so many years and reflect on how everything has changed so much since she has been gone. I miss her so very much.


I think of my own journey from “mothering” all of those young cherubs I babysat in my teens, and then the oodles of hours spent in my 5th grade classroom from year-to-year nurturing all those kiddos, and then moving on to birthing my own two children and raising them amongst the many homeschooling families we met all along the way (including my much loved sister-friend in motherhood your dear Lisa & E & A & T).


“Mother’s Day is an odd notion to me, for truly every day is mother’s day – tending to our loved ones and letting them know how very much they are seen, heard, valued, and understood. This is the way of mothering daily. This is what I do and what I know best. It is how I am in the world – every hour, minute, year – always.


What actually makes me happy in this present moment, Oma, is to say how much I love being connected to you, your family, and to let you know how very glad I am you became a mother so very long ago. It has made all the difference in my life.


Sending love and a smile to help light the way,

Karen ;0)💜☺🐦☀🌷
PS –The sun is now up and the flowers are stretching towards the light. I think that is how I will spend my day and I hope you do too. Outside soaking up nature’s beauty. Time to P.L.A.Y.

Animal BOOK LOOK – Summary of Chapter Links

Here is a summary of chapter links for:

The Burgess Animal Book for Children (Annotated) written by Thornton Burgess and revised by P.L.A.Y. for the 21st Century Family.

The Burgess Animal Story for Children, The Burgess Bird Story for Children, and The Adventures of __________ series (Paddy the Beaver, Lightfoot the Deer, Old Mr. Toad, etc.), are all originally authored by Thornton Burgess and are now available to you through P.L.A.Y.

P.L.A.Y. has provided new online versions of these updated and annotated 100+ year old public domain classics to:

  • be suitable for the 21st century family by having the Thornton Burgess woodland characters evolve to model mindfulness and loving kindness
  • highlight and bring awareness to the New England nature settings and offer an opportunity to learn more about the fields and forests through these animal story adventures
  • create story extension moments through P.L.A.Y. suggested activities and investigations for making new nature connections generated by the reader’s own curiosity
  • encourage families to keep their own nature notebooks for drawing, writing, painting, and recording their own local daily outdoor P.L.A.Y. adventures.

P.L.A.Y. – Pass it on!

THANK YOU!

YOUR Questions for P.L.A.Y.

Hello Parents! Hello Kiddos!

Hello P.L.A.Y.-ers!

What’s on your mind?

Better yet what’s on your heart?

Parents and caretakers, kiddos and P.L.A.Y.-ers all, this is your opportunity to ask Karen, the creator of P.L.A.Y., any questions concerning your family’s learning journey.


How can I be of service?

Send your questions for FREE!

Contact: Karen@passionatelearningallyear.com


Whether you are homeschooling, unschooling, or a family that simply loves to spend time immersed in nature you’ve come to the right place!


The sky’s the limit – ASK “anything”!

This is your chance to ask the questions that keep bubbling up for you as you embark or continue to travel on this life learning journey.


ALL questions are valued.

ALL questions matter.

You matter. Period.


Just take this brief moment and send me what’s been a recent or reoccurring challenge or topic for you or your kiddos. Let’s see if we can noodle things through – together – and lighten the load!*

Contact: Karen@passionatelearningallyear.com

Love to hear from you!

Be well, be safe, and simply bee!

Busy Bee!

*Note: Your email address will never be shared. Your contact with me via email (or snail mail) is a 1:1 correspondence. I’m here as an experienced mama bear and 20+year veteran homeschool visionista ready to pass forward what I’ve learned on the P.L.A.Y. journey to you and your cubs. I’m transparent and true to my word, it is as simple as that.

P.L.A.Y. + Thornton Burgess


P.L.A.Y. and Thornton Burgess:

Nature Storytellers Past + Present


Thornton W. Burgess (1874-1965), author and longtime resident of Massachusetts, is best known for his 50 years of writing about nature conservation through children’s literature. He wrote over 150 books and thousands of daily newspaper columns bringing the forest and fauna to life for families across the United States and around the world over 100 years ago.

In so many of his books about the Green Forest, often featuring Peter Rabbit as the reader’s guide, Burgess was able to share with great detail all the wonderful magical moments Mother Nature provided in his local New England landscape. Through his nature story telling he was able to weave in factual information and his own personal observations from time spent outdoors. This was beneficial by informing his audience, both parents and children, as to what they could find just by stepping out their own door and encouraging them to immerse in their own spot of nature. This has allowed his books to be timeless and of great value even to this day.

However over the past ten years I’ve been revisiting his story books, especially looking at how the characters interact and treat one another, and knowing in my heart as a mother and as a human walking this earth a change was needed.

So for the past few years P.L.A.Y. has taken on the task to reinvent Thornton Burgess’ works for the 21st century family. Many of his stories are readily available in the public domain to be used by creatives and artists and for general public use. P.L.A.Y. has maintained the intention to keep all of the wonder and value of his nature stories intact AND to replace some of his language with new phrasing to reflect the way we’d like to see people being and connecting in this world with a primary focus on loving-kindness and compassionate communication.

For the most part Thornton Burgess’ descriptions of plants, landscape features, and basic animal behaviors has not changed in the past 100+ years since he first wrote these works. What has, and continues to change, is what is considered acceptable language and behaviors for human interactions. And since Burgess used anthropomorphizing, attributing human characteristics or behaviors to animals, as a mechanism to get messages across to the reader it is important to take a closer look at how this was written in the past and see how it could be adjusted to still be relevant now and for future generations.

In the past Thornton Burgess often had his animal characters shame and blame one another as they went about their day in the Green Forest and Green Meadow. There were put downs, name calling, bullying, and derogatory remarks cast at one another. And sometimes a characters name or description would negatively label them, for example as a thief or robber, when they were simply acting on natural instinct. For me, this does not model the change we’d like to see in this world and certainly doesn’t represent the behaviors we’d like to experience with each other. And since the intended audience of these stories is primarily children and families I felt strongly that there needed to be a change.

One example of how P.L.A.Y. has adapted these stories for present day audiences is by applying compassionate communication principles in the dialog between characters so that you will no longer hear Peter Rabbit making fun of Old Man Toad or tossing put downs at Jumper the Hare and instead Peter Rabbit gets curious and asks questions whenever he becomes troubled or frustrated or afraid.

Another example of how P.L.A.Y. has modified these stories is by apply loving-kindness concepts such as “treat others how you’d like to be treated”. These values are all woven into the story in such a way to encourage the audience to put these into practice in their own lives with family, friends, and neighbors and to experience the positive ripple effects daily.

The P.L.A.Y. annotated versions of these Burgess stories also have added bonus content for curious minds including prompts and questions to explore ideas further, lists of topic resources, and photos from locations in New England reflecting the story landscape and animal habitats.

P.L.A.Y.‘s annotated series of Burgess’ stories include free versions found here online: Paddy the Beaver, Old Man Toad, Lightfoot the Deer, Burgess Bird Book, Burgess Animal Book, or they may be purchased in book format HERE.

P.L.A.Y. intends to add future nature titles to this collection annually so be sure to check back often for more magical moments!

I have much gratitude for these century old writings created by Thornton Burgess and the focus on connecting families to nature through story telling. I also have much gratitude for the opportunity to bring this work forward with adaptations suitable for the next generation of families engaging both their curiosity for nature and connection to wholehearted living through encouraging compassionate communication and loving-kindness.


If you find the work and vision of P.L.A.Y. supports you and your family on the life learning path, please pass it forward to friends and neighbors as a Simple Gift that keeps on giving.


White-tailed Wonder of the Woods: A Deer’s Adventures

This will be my fifth winter walking in these woods and following the many deer tracks in the snow. It is such a joyful and P.L.A.Y.-ful activity to do on a cold winter’s day and it helps me to add variety to my daily walks by simply stepping alongside the hoofprints and seeing wherever the trail may take me.

On some outings I even discover coyote and turkey tracks right beside the deer tracks and I wonder at how this encounter looked or who came through first or last or if someone was being followed.

I’ve only actually seen the deer a few times up close as I approach the babbling brook and my sounds are muffled. More often I see them at a distance in the corn fields as I drive along the roadway out of town. Either way I am always thankful for knowing they are there in our fields and forest and also call this place home.



To give gratitude for the many years of awe and wonder this P.L.A.Y.-ful practice of tracking the white-tailed deer has provided I have created a new story series based on Thornton Burgess’ 1921 book The Adventures of Lightfoot the Deer.

Time to get curious and introduce your family to another four-legged friend found in the fields and forests near your home.

Look for new story chapters from

The Adventures of Lightfoot the Deer

to appear every

Tuesday + Thursday

for the remainder of 2020.

Time to P.L.A.Y.!!!

Enjoy!!!

Thank You!

A Community of Curious Capkins ready to P.L.A.Y.!

Hello P.L.A.Y. Community!

Just taking a moment to send out a big THANK YOU! to all for continuing on this journey of Passionate Learning All Year and having the courage to make connecting to nature with your family a priority even when the going gets tough.

The year 2020 will be written into the archives as a challenging time for most everyone for so many reasons.

And what I also know to be true is that the folks that were able to set an intention to connect to nature routinely discovered a sense of momentary calm, moving from their “head space” into their “heart space”, even in the midst of what felt like a succession of storms.

I found this to be true too. Taking a moment to look at the clouds passing by, gathering a “stripey” stone down by the river, tossing crisp leaves to the wind, visiting tiny tadpoles to talk to them daily and see how they’ve grown, countless curious Capkin snapshots in every season, and simply being present in the great outdoors daily has made all the difference in how I’ve experienced 2020. It has been a very important part of my resilience in such challenging times.

And as we head into the winter months, with a new year right around the corner and a pandemic still looming large, please know that by taking the time to connect to nature you and your family are making great contributions to your well being and that of this planet.

Every moment that we can stand in wonder of the nature spaces we visit provides the opportunity for calm, connection, and a great sense of P.L.A.Y. if we are truly present for this simple gift. Our children, already by their very nature, know how to do this thing called P.L.A.Y. and here’s hoping you will continue to join them on this journey. This is a gift that truly benefits us one and all.

Be well, be safe, and simply BEE (and please be in touch HERE)!

Sending hugs and a smile to help light the way,

Karen ;0)

Simply Bee!

Visit P.L.A.Y. on PINTEREST!

 

Join the P.L.A.Y. community on PINTEREST!


You will find nature videos, story read-alouds, seasonal snapshots, and oodles of  inspirational P.L.A.Y. pins for you and your family.


Try these P.L.A.Y. boards -Pass it on!


 P.L.A.Y. + Pass it on!

Forest Bathing with the Family – A Daily Simple Gift!

Have you ever stood amongst the trees in mid-autumn in awe of the wonderful canvas of color before you and wondered how the leaves change color or know when to fall?

Have you ever been in a pine forest with fog rolling in and felt the stillness of hushed sounds all around and only an echo of a bird calling in the distance?

Have you ever walked about after a winter ice storm to see the sparkling sun shine through the coated branches?

Have you ever stood under the canopy of a maple tree during a light spring rain shower and watched the water droplets roll off the tips of the leaves?

Then perhaps forest bathing may be something you’ve been doing for awhile now and the phrase is simply new to you. Or perhaps you’ve been spending a great deal of time indoors and the thought of time spent amongst the trees brings you back to childhood or a more peaceful time in your life.

Either way, now is a great time to reconnect to the idea of spending time in nature and to learn more about the benefits of soaking up your natural surroundings for a few moments each day, or as often as you can, for your health and well being and that of your family.

The bonus is you’ve come to the right place as P.L.A.Y. is very much here to help you connect and engage with this concept of forest bathing. The daily blog posts on P.L.A.Y.  are here to encourage the whole family to find the nearest nature path or patch, be present and allow for your sense of curiosity and wonder to kick in, and make the essence of P.L.A.Y.  a routine practice.


Forest Bathing For Families



Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness

by Dr. Qing Li


Dr. Qing Li, a scientist in Japan, explains in his book Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness and how the term shinrin-yoku (or forest bathing) came about in the 1980’s. He also shares the many ways spending time in the forest or in a nature setting can make a world of difference in your health and well being. As a scientist he has gathered the data over time to show skeptics why spending frequent time in the forest is beneficial for improved sleep, reducing stress and anxiety, increased energy boost, a natural way to connect with loved ones, and so much more. And as a human he has experienced these benefits first hand.

❤ ❤ ❤

I too have discovered, through simple curiosity and P.L.A.Y. , that heading outdoors daily in all seasons has had a beneficial impact on how I see and feel and experience this world. Being outdoors routinely has increased my creativity, provided a sense of calm even during challenging times, and given me the opportunity to learn so much more about my natural surroundings here in New England.

Forest bathing and nature walking have been so beneficial to my well being and that of my family that I just had to share these experiences and encourage others to join the journey. This has been the catalyst for creating P.L.A.Y. – Passionate Learning All Year and keeps me consistently returning to my neck-of-the-woods to see what new wonders have appeared right outside my door and eagerly passing forward these gifts through this blog to you and your family.


Hannah Fries, author of Forest Bathing Retreat: Find Wholeness in the Company of Trees, has also created a wonderful guide that is a great companion to Dr. Qing Li’s book and is just the right size for the whole family to engage with and be inspired by both the photos and prompts. An example of a prompt found mid-way through the book is “As you watch a tree sway in the wind, let your knees and shoulders relax. Sway a little on your own stem.” Or another example is ” Find harmony as you look closely at the natural world, you may begin to see patterns amid what seems like chaos -unexpected connections thrumming everywhere around us.” Hannah’s book is a balm in these times as we all need to find peace-filled spaces and moments to simply be present and in awe of nature which can help us feel grounded and safe on Mother Earth even in the midst of uncertainty.

Note: The foreword to Hannah’s book is written by Robin Wall Kimmerer the author of the well known and also much recommended Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants.


🙂

Time to gather up your gaggle of giggling gifts, aka kiddos + family all – Fido too, and announce you’re going for a bath in the forest – together!

It’s P.L.A.Y. Time!

Please pass forward this Simple Gift to inspire and encourage loved ones, both near and far, on their

naturally curious and creative P.L.A.Y. journey. 🙂


BOOK LOOK – Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul by Stuart Brown MD


 ~ ~ ~ BOOK LOOK ~ ~ ~ 


PLAY: How It Shapes the Brain,

Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul

by Stuart Brown


~ Review ~


Dr. Stuart Brown’s book Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul backs up with data and research everything I’ve come to know and have experienced in my 50+ years of being an elementary educator, homeschooling mom, and all around joyfully playful creative human being at every age and stage of my life.

Play is . . .

  • Play is required, on par with eating + sleeping + breathing, for the health and well being of our families, communities, and the world at large.
  • Play is the gateway for all of us to access our creativity and provides the catalyst for gathering all that we need on our life learning journey.
  • Play is where innovation comes from and has been the platform from which so many unique and very much needed ideas are launched into the world. (example: see story of Velcro)
  • Play is always an opportunity to express your most authentic self whether playing alone or together with other folks.
  • Play is engaging with books, movies, the arts, sports, games, hobbies, work you love or getting a job done more joyfully, day-dreaming, music, etc. What would your life look like without these? Yikes!
  • Play is like oxygen. So be sure to <Breathe in> and <Breathe out> mindfully and regularly!
  • P.L.A.Y. + Pass it on!!! ❤

In our Western culture where play is often written off as extra or frivolous it is helpful to be reminded of just how necessary it is for our human survival and thriving. If you’d like to see more of the data to support these ideas please take a moment to read Dr. Brown’s book. It is a game changer. 🙂


~ Reflections ~


Play and Learning Go Hand-in-Hand at ALL Ages + Stages

A truer statement could not be spoken. This is at the heart of it ALL.

This is also the very premise on which  P.L.A.Y. Passionate Learning All Year is based.

As the adult you are now, or even better when you were a child,  can you think of any situation in which there isn’t an opportunity for growth and learning? Not a chance.

Every day we have the opportunity to learn and expand what we know, how we know it, getting it into our bones, digging deeper, and playing with ideas to fully engage with the human experience.

Laura Grace Weldon says on page 1 in Chapter 1 of her excellent resource guide titled Free Range Learning: How Homeschooling Changes Everything (chapter-by-chapter reviews HERE)

“And, of course, children play. Play is generative, transforming the ordinary into something unique. It also imparts advanced social skills and a creative approach to life.”

And if you combine that with the work of Dr. Stuart Brown you will realize that kiddos AND adults have been playing, learning, and working side-by-side with each other in their families and communities since the beginning of time. Folks of all ages engaging together, indoors and out, naturally modeling for each other the skills they need to survive and thrive.

Work and play go hand-in-hand, at every age and stage of our lives, and now more than ever with the mindful and beneficial use of technology we can create lives that match our natural rhythms and earn a livelihood that allows us to be inspired and engaged daily. We can pursue our passions, play along the way, and share our hard work with the world naturally learning throughout the journey.

In other words, for kiddos and adults, both Stuart Brown’s and Laura Weldon’s books give you permission to embrace your authentic selves, play daily which gives you the space and grace to let your natural talents shine through, and bring these gifts forward to be of service throughout your lifetime.

AND if you can weave connecting to and engaging with nature into all of this work and play it will benefit you, your loved ones, and the planet ten fold.  Your authentic Work + P.L.A.Y. + Nature is a recipe for a full-filling life sharing your true gifts.

Sounds like pure genius right? That is what Laura call’s using one’s gifts – true genius.

So, what are you waiting for?

Time to experience P.L.A.Y. in action by picking up your copy of Stuart Brown’s PLAY: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul and putting it into practice today.

And while you are at it take a peek at Free Range Learning by Laura Grace Weldon (spoiler alert – it isn’t just for homeschoolers – all Life Learners are welcome!).

You and your family will be ever so glad you did.

Sending Smiles ~ Karen 🙂

Note: This was re-posted with edits and additions from my BOOK LOOK post– Free Range Learning -series Chapter 1 Review found HERE )


~ Recommended Books for P.L.A.Y. in Nature ~


Purchase these titles HERE