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.

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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.


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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. 🙂


Potluck P.L.A.Y. – Autumn Acorn Abundance!


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


My walks this week included some P.L.A.Y.-full . . .   

Autumn Acorn Abundance!

Pausing and being present provided the opportunity to see these special striped acorns still attached to their caps.

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Curious Capkins want to know: Why do some years have more acorns than others? What impact does this have?

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“Marble Madness” ensued as the abundance of acorns made for tricky foot travel.

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Bonus Bounty!

According to the Farmer’s Almanac Folklore an abundance of acorn means a snowy winter (AND fat squirrels)!

I’ll be curious to see how this actually P.L.A.Y.s out!

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Visit my video on PINTEREST (here) for a simple snapshot of “Autumn’s Acorn Abundance” with a batch of beautiful oak leaves in the sunshine.


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!

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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