A Simple Gift: Challenges + P.L.A.Y. As a Path Forward


Passing forward this Simple Gift to inspire and encourage everyone on their

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


There are times in our lives when our learning may not be directly chosen by us, rather it arrives at our doorstep in the form of a challenge. A challenge we’d rather skip altogether and detour around it as we can see that it may involve pain and sadness.

However, it is up to us to see it as an opportunity. To accept the challenge as difficult as it may be and approach it with curiosity, compassion, and yes even at times to approach with the essence of play to keep up our spirits and provide momentum through the darker moments.

Hidden Hearts: Love infused spring Landscape

When we are able to proceed from this place of curiosity, compassion, and play we are embracing the essence of wholeheartedness. From this place the work of this journey unfolds into a path forward and typically we are all the wiser for it.

I have had the good fortune to engage and put into practice P.L.A.Y. -Passionate Learning All Year with the intentional farming community my family lives in for the past 8+ years. We have had our share of challenges navigating tricky waters determining our path forward and coming to an understanding of what that truly means for each individual as well as for the community as a whole. And while we may not have all the answers and solutions we continue to make connections and strive to work together throughout the journey.

Hidden Hearts: Love revealed on the spring Landscape

To approach challenges with equally as much passion and effort as we can muster to see us through is the greatest gift we can give ourselves and our loved ones.

During these challenging times, when the world seems upside down, what I know to be true is that if we lean into connecting with nature, getting outdoors for fresh air and a boost of vitamin D, and include moments of P.L.A.Y. on our “to do” lists (or better yet our “to be” list) we will get through whatever comes our way and we will discover insights into our own true nature in the process and be all the wiser as we discover “What is this here to teach me?”

Sending a smile and wishing you and yours much peace and wellness,

Karen ;0) 🙂

*For more support and inspiration visit Simple Gifts & Smiles articles HERE

BOOK LOOK Spring Guide for Nature Alliteration Adventures by Karen L. Willard


Join the SPRING P.L.A.Y. adventures by purchasing HERE!


Nature Alliteration Adventures: The Spring Guide

Over 90+ outdoor adventures designed for March + April + May

*Some access to snow + ice recommended for this P.L.A.Y. guide book.

by Karen L. Willard


Spring is just around the bend with the final bands of snow coming through and the white stuff melting off the southern slopes up here in the north west corner of Massachusetts.

There are still a few ice adventures in store down at the brook and river with the melting run off beginning to raise the water levels too.

Buds and blooms are slowly appearing with a few insects taking the lead as they make their way on the muddy surfaces and taking flight.

So many new and exciting wonder and wander moments ahead as nature unfolds into the next season of renewal.


Time to SPRING into action and join the P.L.A.Y. nature adventures with family and friends!

Draw, write, color, and creatively capture your discoveries

on the pages of your Nature Adventure book!

Purchase your P.L.A.Y. guides HERE.

BOOK LOOK – Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett


 ~ ~ ~ BOOK LOOK ~ ~ ~


Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

by Judi Barrett


Karen’s P.L.A.Y. previews (short) and companion activity adventure list suggestions (long).


A SPECIAL WEATHER MOMENT

The short and long of it is we are experiencing a rare ICE storm in my neck of the woods in WMass so I have a very brief window of opportunity to send today’s blog post to you.

Our local trusted weather forecaster has labeled this as rare so I’m thinking perhaps it is almost, although not quite, as rare as meatballs dropping from the sky!

So today’s BOOK LOOK moment is in a different format and is quite simply for you to discover the wonders of Judi Barrett’s story.

Then fire up your imagination to see what kinds of things just may fall out of the sky the next time you watch the clouds roll by!

How many P.L.A.Y. adventures can you and your family come up with to match those “meatball moments”?

Sending Smiles,

Karen 🙂

BOOK LOOK – Review Summary – Free Range Learning: How Homeschooling Changes Everything by Laura Grace Weldon

Although we’ve never met I’d like to send big hugs, smiles, and so many, many thanks to Laura Grace Weldon for writing her book FREE RANGE LEARNING: How Homeschooling Changes Everything and for being a wonderful guide and mentor to folks on this P.L.A.Y.-filled journey.

And now that this Bonus BOOK LOOK review series is through I hope you and your family will keep coming back for many more daily P.L.A.Y. moments with me! Here’s how:

  1. P.L.A.Y. daily by making sure you’ve signed in your email address on the Home Page (HERE) to receive all of the P.L.A.Y.-filled posts.
  2. Please pass P.L.A.Y. forward to family, friends, neighbors, community members, quite simply anyone connected to kiddos that you think might benefit from this work and you’d love to see joining this journey.
  3. $upport the P.L.A.Y. vision by purchasing P.L.A.Y. nature activity guides and story books HERE.
  4. As always $upporting the P.L.A.Y. vision in any way is much appreciated including making a contribution on the Home Page HERE.

Bonus!!! 

Homeschool Visionista at your service! 

If you live in Western Massachusetts and you’d like to consider being a part of a small gathering of women for a Mom’s Visioning Retreat that will dive deeper into the concepts presented in this series and for the opportunity to be mentored by Karen in this group please send your name and email to: Karen@passionatelearningallyear.com . I will contact you to discuss the program details -place, time, level of commitment, etc. And in the spirit of volunteering  please know that it will be a pay-what-you-can program as my way of giving back to the homeschool community and making sure everyone has equal access to this support.


Summary of Chapter Reviews & Reflections

To revisit the topics covered in the Free Range Learning review series by P.L.A.Y.  or to continue exploring the ideas further please see corresponding books and P.L.A.Y. reviews by clicking on the chapter links below.

Chapter 1 – Natural Learning Happens Everywhere

Chapter 2 – Nurturing the Learner

Chapter 3 – Work, Play, and Other Essentials

Chapter 4 – Connecting with Others

Chapter 5 – Collaborating Benefits Everyone

Chapter 6 – Homeschooling Changes Everything

Chapter 7 – Adventure Homeschooling

Chapter 8 – Field Tripping

Chapter 9 – Full Spectrum Learning

Chapter 10 – Science & Nature

Chapter 11 – Math

Chapter 12 – Physical Education/Health

Chapter 13 – The Arts

Chapter 14 – Language Arts/Foreign Language

Chapter 15 – History

Chapter 16 – Volunteerism, Ethics, Spirituality

Fall #18 – Nature Alliteration Adventure


Purchase HereP.L.A.Y. Nature Alliteration Adventure Guide Books


❤ ❤ ❤

A November treasure quest for you & your curious Capkin

is to search in nature for. . .

“Sun Ray Rock Art”

Bonus silver + bronzegraybluebrown

❤ ❤ ❤

My curious Capkin & I found this treasure to match the description.

❤ ❤ ❤


What other natural treasures did you find in your P.L.A.Y. today? 🙂


Draw, write, color, and creatively capture your discoveries

on the pages of your Nature Adventure book!

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!


A Simple Gift: Nature Nurtures


Passing forward this Simple Gift to inspire and encourage everyone on their

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


Our family has the good fortune of living in an intentional community situated on over roughly 80 acres and the moment we step outside our door we have access to fields and meadows, both a babbling brook and a river, mountain and ridge, forest and old orchards and gardens. And there are animals too. ❤ ❤ 🙂 ❤ ❤

Goats, chickens, ducks, cats and a dog all share our homes and community spaces as well as the wide assortment of woodland creatures that visit us outdoors both day and night like wild turkeys, coyotes, deer, skunk, woodchucks, porcupines, foxes, birds, owls, and so much more.

Living up here in the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts provides daily opportunities to explore, make connections, be in awe of nature, and follow the P.L.A.Y. path.

Each time I take my daily walk I chance upon a new delight and inspiration for my work. Wandering about in wonder and being present always provides the simple gifts of creating new thoughts or connections. Nature always seems to have a wonderful nurturing effect on the mind, body, and spirit.

Looking forward to snowscape season . . . just around the corner! Hooray!

 

Nature can also bring about the playful, childlike essence in all of us like creating a dam down at the brook, stacking rock cairns at the river’s edge, or building gnome homes in the woods. Racing to see who can sled down a snow covered hillside first, frolicking about with the playful baby goats, or simply getting curious with your Capkin to see what new ice sculpture appeared overnight, are all ways that  nature nurtures that desire in us to be curious and playful and to *be a kid again* or quite simply to be a kid.

 

Exploring, getting curious, and being present out in nature daily are all wonderful and necessary parts of the P.L.A.Y. journey.

Are you in?

Time to gather up your family or a few P.L.A.Y.-mates, all ages are welcome, step out your door, and begin the adventure today!

And no worries as it is guaranteed that mother nature will have plenty of magic and mysteries, in any season and any outdoor location, just waiting for you and yours to P.L.A.Y.-fully discover if you are simply present to receive the simple gifts.

Sending smiles,

Karen ;0) 🙂


Purchase Here P.L.A.Y. Nature Alliteration Adventure Guide Books


P.L.A.Y. Rocks!


P.L.A.Y. Rocks – Pass it on!


Simply select a stone and immerse in your naturally inspiring imagination.

Found a beautiful fabulous fish “rocking it” in a local public garden!

❤ ❤ ❤


P.L.A.Y. Rocks – Pass it on!


Looking for more tips on how to paint fun and fanciful designs on rocks?

Try these family friendly finds:

Scribble Stones Art Guide: Step-by-Step Painting Techniques and Tricks

by Diane Alber

AND

The matching picture book Scribble Stones by Diane Alber tells the story of how one stone learns we all have a purpose and to encourage passing forward our simple gifts.


Be sure to select your stones and create a stash in the spring, summer, or fall  so that you have plenty of stones to craft gifts to give away throughout the winter!

🙂