Stones of Gratitude

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Two gratitude stones made by Eloise.

We just got back from our trip to NYC and I was looking for a very simple, but not too cheesy, Thanksgiving activity for our play group.  I came across  this activity here http://www.firefliesandmudpies.com/2014/11/03/gratitude-stones/

We had the toddlers collect the stones and then pick out a pre-cut paper heart to place on the stone.  The adults pasted them on and then we let them dry as we collected more sticks for the fire.

One of the girls got upset about something and we brought her the stone she had made.  As soon as she had it in her hand she stopped crying.  Wow! Talk about grounding 🙂  We all then talked about what we were thankful for while holding our stones.

Some of the kids decided to make an extra stone for a parent that wasn’t with them – showing gratitude.

This is straight from the link I posted above…

How to Use Gratitude Stones

The gratitude stone is a physical reminder to remember your blessings! There are many ways to use them.

Family Dinner
Pass a gratitude stone around the dinner table before eating. When holding the stone, you must share something or someone you feel thankful for.

To Calm Down Strong Feelings
Thinking and talking about the good things in our life can calm down angry or sad feelings. Teach your child how to hold the stone in their hands and list everything they feel thankful for.

At Bedtime
Pass your child the gratitude stone and ask him, “What was the best part of your day?” Reply with your answer when he passes the stone back to you.

Share a Stone
Create extra stones and share them with the people you feel thankful for! Include a little note expressing your gratitude.

A Grateful Community
An attitude of gratitude is contagious! Scatter gratitude stones around your community. and neighborhood to spread joy to others.

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The stone that Eloise decided to make for her dad.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

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A walk in the rain

Our playgroup meets rain or shine. Today it was a constant downpour while the kids were here. We started the session hanging out on the porch of the cabin. The kids played with musical instruments while the parents had hot coffee and candyroaster squash and craisin muffins. (http://www.babble.com/best-recipes/pumpkin-squash-or-sweet-potato-muffins/)

Then we went for a rain walk. When I was taking my permaculture course we had to go for walks in the rain to observe the water flow in a design. Rain walks are truly amazing! Yet it seems a little weird to say “oh boy! It’s raining, let’s go outside.” Trust me, your kids will love to be out in the rain.

Observations we made today…

  • The rain makes everything shiny.
  • Look at the ripples in the water when the rain hits its surface, do you see the bubbles?
  • Can you find any mushrooms popping up saying thanks to the rain?
  • Are there any new streams in driveways or paths?
  • Do sticks, leaves, acorns, and other forest floor objects look and feel different?

Today’s playgroup was all young toddlers. For older kids, it would be fun to test the ph of the rain that is falling. Is it more acidic than it should be? How does that affect the plants and animals?

Corn Inspired Play Group

Corn Husk Dolls

Corn Husk Dolls

Tis the season for corn.  After meeting around the fire for some rock painting, it was time for an activity.  The oldest kid we had was four and this activity was a little advanced for him too, but the finished product was perfect for him and all the younger ones.  We made corn husk dolls. While the process was mostly me making them in front of the kids, I think it’s important for the kiddos to watch something being made.  It required time and work versus just appearing into their lives.

Native American Gardening  By Michael Caduto & Joseph Bruchac

Native American Gardening By Michael Caduto & Joseph Bruchac

Image from Native American Gardening  By Michael Caduto & Joseph Bruchac

Image from Native American Gardening By Michael Caduto & Joseph Bruchac

Earthways By Carol Petrash

Earthways By Carol Petrash

Image from Earthways By Carol Petrash

Image from Earthways By Carol Petrash

Yesterday we found a couple arrowheads on the paths in the woods so it was a really cool item to show everyone.  It is amazing to think that there were people roaming these woods thousands of years ago.

Later in the session I told the Native American story of Does Nothing, who finally did something by finding the corn plant and sharing it with all of the people. I got the story from a wonderful book about Native American gardening.  It was a nice story to tell after we made the corn husk dolls.

Excerpt from Native American Gardening  By Michael Caduto & Joseph Bruchac

Excerpt from Native American Gardening By Michael Caduto & Joseph Bruchac

"Sharing the Corn" Image from Native American Gardening  By Michael Caduto & Joseph Bruchac

“Sharing the Corn” Image from Native American Gardening By Michael Caduto & Joseph Bruchac

Our session ended with Hannah, another (awesome) mom, leading a song.  The kids were jumping, clapping, touching their noses, and smiling big.  Endorphin levels are running high today!

Permaculture Herb Spiral

There was a pile of old decaying wood near our cabin in the woods. I wanted to clean it up because it looked like an inviting place for snakes. I decided it would be the perfect spot for an herb spiral.

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I consolidated said logs to a smaller and taller pile, added straw, top soil, and finally potting soil.

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After collecting the rocks from the creek I made the spiral.

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I planted some perennial herbs and some annuals by seed.