We’ve had quite the odd summer so far here in New England. It has been either full on hot sunshine or full on rain for most of this season thus far. There hasn’t been too many days with clear and moderate temperatures.
We began with super dry conditions and wondering if we would ever get the chance to enjoy building a campfire in the fire pit out in our community meadow. The garden seedlings needed constant tending to with frequent watering and folks adding mulch or wood chips to help retain the moisture.
There were very hot days that clustered together to make a heat wave more than once in both May and June.
Then the rains came in and everyone gave thanks for the assistance in watering the gardens and had much gratitude for the green lushness that naturally arrived too.
And now we are in the opposite situation where we are having day, after day, after day of rain. And the rain comes in quantities that have been raising the water levels in both the brook (seen above/below) and in the river adjoining our community property. A gain of 7 inches of rain was recorded in our personal gauge in just the span of a few days.
The gardens are now well watered naturally and the hoses sit all curled up wondering when they will ever get used again. The forest has mushrooms that are not typically seen at this time of year and the red efts have been seen in larger numbers on top of the leaf litter on my walks in the woods.
My daughters 6 year old goats, who are not known to thrive in rainy conditions due to hoof rot and other ailments, are tired of being penned up at the barn and eagerly await a dry day to be back out in the meadow munching on all that greenery that has been growing “like weeds”!
And that fire pit, well it has been mowed during one brief reprieve in the rain and now it sits all soggy waiting to dry out just enough to welcome our community to circle up and sit on the benches and share stories, roast marshmallows, and return to summer P.L.A.Y. time traditions.
May you and yours be taking the moment to soak in both the sun and the rain and being present for all the P.L.A.Y. nature moments in your neck-of-the-woods this summer.
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!❤
Includes stories and activities for your whole family to enjoy and encourages daily connection to the great outdoors. Bonus! ❤
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.
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!
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!
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This is a CAPKIN.
Capkins are curious & creative and are happiest outdoors on
P.L.A.Y. nature adventures with you!
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This is how you make a CAPKIN in 5 simple steps.
1. Draw a cone shape, that roughly fits in a 2 inch square like above, on a piece of paper.
2. Cut this template out and roll into a cone shape to see if you like the size.
3. Then place the paper pattern on red felt to cut out your cone.
4. Sew the cone up the back seam with roughly 15+ stitches.
5. Then add two wiggly (or felt) eyes with hot glue.
*Young children must be assisted in this craft due to sewing needles and hot glue usage.
**Children 3 and under must be supervised when playing with Capkins due to small parts choking hazard.
That’s it – all done!
Time for a P.L.A.Y. nature adventure!
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Red Capkins appear most often as they can be seen both near and far.
Rainbow colored Capkins appear
for special seasonal & magical moments.
❤ ❤ ❤ Origin of Capkins ❤ ❤ ❤
Capkins were originally created by Karen beginning in 2016 for her own outdoor P.L.A.Y. nature adventures.
She has carried them with her every day on her nature walks and is so very glad to share them with you.
You are invited to make your own Capkins and encouraged to bring them on your adventures with friends and family.
Capkins like to be handmade and put into this world with loving kindness. ❤
They are not sold or found for sale in any stores, rather they are given away freely.
Please be mindful of this practice and be willing to make a few extra Capkins and pass them forward to new P.L.A.Y.-ers.
❤ ❤ ❤ KAREN ❤ ❤ ❤
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I’d love to see your Capkin on an outdoor adventure!
Please send a snapshot of your Capkin in nature and perhaps you’ll see it on a future P.L.A.Y. Postcard post and have it pinned on the P.L.A.Y. PINTEREST boards. See the how to steps below.
If you would like to share your Capkin nature adventures with the P.L.A.Y. viewers please send a nature photo postcard providing the following:
- Your curious Capkin must be in the photo – no humans or human structures.
- Your first name and your last name initial (example: Karen W.)
- The location you took the picture (example: Yellowstone National Park or Connecticut River or my backyard in Massachusetts,etc.)
- Please send in a JPG File format as an attachment.
- You must be a follower of P.L.A.Y. with your email already signed-in (see HOME page with box to enter your email).
Send to: Karen@passionatelearningallyear.com
By sending this photo postcard you are giving P.L.A.Y. permission to post it on this blog and on P.L.A.Y. PINTEREST page and any other public forum that aligns with the mission of P.L.A.Y.
THANKS SO MUCH FOR SHARING THE P.L.A.Y.-full JOURNEY!!!
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.
- Chapter 1 – Mother Nature Knows Best
- Chapter 2 – Peter Rabbit and Jumper the Hare
- Chapter 3 – More About Rabbits and Hares
- Chapter 4 – Red Squirrel and Gray Squirrel
- Chapter 5 – Squirrels of the Trees
- Chapter 6 – Striped Chipmunk and His Cousins
- Chapter 7 – The Woodchuck Family
- Chapter 8 – The Marmot Family
- Chapter 9 – Pika and Mountain Beaver
- Chapter 10 – Pocket Gopher
- Chapter 11 – Porcupine
- Chapter 12 – Beaver
- Chapter 13 – Muskrat and Brown Rat
- Chapter 14 – Wood Rat and Kangaroo Rat
- Chapter 15 – Wood Mouse and Meadow Mouse
- Chapter 16 – Brown Lemming and Jumping Mouse
- Chapter 17 – More Mice
- Chapter 18 – Pocket Mice and House Mouse
- Chapter 19 – Shrews
- Chapter 20 – Moles
- Chapter 21 – Bats
- Chapter 22 – Skunk
- Chapter 23 – Badger and Wolverine
- Chapter 24 – Weasel
- Chapter 25 – Mink and Otter
- Chapter 26 – Fisher
- Chapter 27 – Red Fox and Gray Fox
- Chapter 28 – Coyote and Wolf
- Chapter 29 – Bobcat
- Chapter 31 – Raccoon
- Chapter 32 – Black Bear
- Chapter 34 – Opossum
- Chapter 35 – Deer
- Chapter 36 – Moose
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.
Happy Heart Day Everyone!
Time to step outdoors and go experience Nature’s Love All Around!
Open your eyes, and heart, to see the natural world through the lens of wonder without expectations and you will be amazed at what you will find. By taking daily walks you have the opportunity to experience the simple pleasures that the great outdoors has to offer. Mother Nature loves to put simple surprises in your path and you just need to be present to receive the gift.
I am sure the landscape near you is full of these magical moments too if you simply walk daily with a sense of wonder (with a heartfelt nod and much gratitude to Rachel Carson for her inspiration!)
Rachel Carson – The Sense of Wonder: A Celebration of Nature for Parents and Children
Take a look at more of the HEARTS I’ve discovered over the years on the landscape here at our hilltop home in New England.
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
to appear every
Tuesday + Thursday
for the remainder of 2020.
Time to P.L.A.Y.!!!
These two fine fellows have been greeting me each morning with a quizzical look as I care for my fellow community member’s six goats this week. For although I was given a fine tour and took plenty of notes on how to care for them before their owners left I am sure they are fully aware that I am simply the “temporary help”, doing my best, with each placement of the hay, water, minerals, and attempt to mimic their daily routines.
At times I have helped with some of this routine goat care for my daughter’s four goats as well over the years and so it is all familiar to some extent.
However what has just occurred to me, in just a few days time of doing double duty, is that our animals continue to provide that opportunity for close contact and connection while our human connections feel the strain of “social distancing/physical distancing” as the pandemic continues in 2020.
Caring for the goats requires no mask and they love to get up close in your face, nose-to-nose, to check out your minty fresh breath (or breakfast breath!). They keep their ears perked and really listen in on your morning chatter, singing or whistling too, as you go about your chores. They are also always up for plenty of scritchy-scratches on their chin, back, and pretty much most any place on their body and can get a very relaxed Zen look in their eyes if you brush their backs long enough.
And if you are lucky, as we are in our community, there are other animals that come to pay a call routinely visiting the goats and chattering amongst themselves about the latest news in the animal world. And they are probably talking about those silly “new beaks” on the humans too. What happened to their faces? What is this thing called a mask?! Why do they stand so far apart vs. getting together like they use to circled up like a gaggle of geese?
Oh what a world!
Truly, although there is a time and energy commitment beyond house pets like a cat or dog, goats are fine companions for times like these and very appreciative of human attention.
This “granny goat” is giving gratitude for the opportunity to connect to these sweet creatures, thankful my fellow community member and daughter have taken on these responsibilities all these years, and I am so happy to be a part of their larger herd!
Time to go P.L.A.Y. with the “(grown)kids”!
Sending hugs & smiles to help light the way,
Karen ;0) ❤
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,