Your Metro DC resource for Natural Living, Holistic Parenting and Family Wellness

Email IconRss IconPinterest IconIG IconTwitter IconFacebook Icon

1
Hundreds flock to Play-In for Climate Action
2
Climate action play-in during EPA hearings on Clean Power Plan
3
Lotus and lilies lovely in July!
4
Yoga Camp at 532 Yoga
5
Lil Omm: a haven for family yoga this summer!
6
Moms turn out in force to call for action on climate
7
Visionary Mom Inspires Play-In for Climate Action
8
Yoga camps and unique summer camps
9
Photography Camp: Spend a week enjoying and capturing the magic of the outdoors
10
One step at a time: reflections from a holistic health coach (+ giveaway)

Hundreds flock to Play-In for Climate Action

As if the July 9 Play-In for Climate Action on the Hill weren’t enough to inspire an environmentalist parent, Moms Clean Air Force, along with a host of environmental and faith allies, organized another impressive event on July 29 during the EPA hearings on its Clean Power Plan.

Sure, one result may have been for parents like me to get religion on the importance of the plan, but of course the real goal of the July 29 Play-In at Federal Triangle was to show the government how much public support there is for action to clean up the air address climate change.

The Play-In brought out more than 300 people from all around the DC Metro area and many other states besides to call on the government to support limits on power plant emissions. The plan would cut carbon pollution from existing fossil-fuel power plants by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

At the press conference, the array of speakers addressing problems with human health and the health of sea life and forests was truly impressive and included several VIPs who had just testified or would be testifying later that day. These speakers included Delaware Governor Jack Markell; Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR); Cindy Parker, MD, MPH, Board Member, Physicians for Social Responsibility and Professor, Johns Hopkins University; Senator Ed Markey (D-­MA); Cristóbal J. Alex, President, Latino Victory Project; Mark Magaña, President and Founder, Green Latinos; and Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., President and CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus. The event was emceed enthusiastically by Terra Pascarosa, Virginia field organizer for Moms Clean Air Force.

The closing speaker was New Jersey Moms Clean Air Force field organizer Trisha Sheehan with her 8-year-old son Logan, a duo that would be testifying later that day. Together, they asked, “What do we want?” to which the crowd answered, “Clean air!”

Trisha and Logan Moms Clean Air Force EPA

The bookend performances of the band Emma’s Revolution ignited the crowd at the outset and, after the speeches had concluded, sent everyone off with hope and inspiration. And with a fabulous rendition of “This Land is Your Land!”
Sunny and Erika Trippel with Emma's Revolution EPA ActonClimate rally

It was a morning to feel lucky to get to demonstrate and participate in democracy.

Trisha reports that, later that day, she delivered to the EPA the banner pictured above with another New Jersey family, Nancy Kunz-Merry and her son, Jack, and then she and Logan delivered their testimony.

Trisha Sheehan EPA testimony

Logan had his own ask that he was adamant about adding at the end: “Please help Moms Clean Air Force and bring back clean air.”

To view the hearings, go to http://www.c-span.org/video/?320725-1/epa-public-hearing-clean-power-proposal

For more on the July 29 rally, read my report on TheDCMoms.com.

I was also inspired to reflect on my own role as mother and activist on my personal blog, Crunchy-Chewy Mama, where you’ll find more photos and some of the rally quotes that moved me the most.

Climate action play-in during EPA hearings on Clean Power Plan

The DC Area gets a failing grade on air quality, but air pollution isn’t just unhealthy to breathe; it threatens our children’s future. That’s why Moms Clean Air Force is calling for government action to limit climate change.

On July 9, Moms Clean Air Force held a historic “Play-In for Climate Action” along with 200 moms, dads and kids, in Washington, DC.

It was so much fun, they’re doing it again! This time, the event is taking place while the Environmental Protection Agency will be holding hearings about the proposed Clean Power Plan to cut carbon emissions from power plants. The goal of the action is to make public support for the plan visible. Similar actions are being planned for Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Denver where more hearings are being held.

Moms Clean Air Force Play-In 2014 pinwheel

On Tuesday, July 29, Moms Clean Air Force is holding its second Play-In for Climate Action with many partners, including Virginia Conservation Network, Interfaith Power & Light, League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, American Lung Association, Clean Water Action, and Environment Virginia.

This outdoor, family-friendly protest and press conference will feature a festival atmosphere. Kids will enjoy playing with an Earth parachute, inflatable globes, pinwheels, sign-making, free ice cream, and more.

Moms Clean Air Force Play-In 2014 parachute

Activities for the July 29 event begin at 10:00 a.m. with the press conference at 10:30 and short rally to follow its conclusion at 11:00 a.m.

The location is Federal Triangle, near the William Jefferson Clinton East Bldg., 1201 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington DC.

Organizers ask that you register ahead of time so they can plan the appropriate number of red shirts (and water bottles!). Register for the Play-In at  http://www.momscleanairforce.org/play-in-climate-action and join the Facebook event .

If you’d like to testify during the public hearings, email ASAP to Terra, tpascarosa@momscleanairforce.org.

Moms Clean Air Force Play-In 2014 attendee

Questions? Want to help out in other ways on the 29th?  Contact Julie at jhantman (at) momscleanairforce (dot) org.

Lotus and lilies lovely in July!

In midsummer, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is transformed into a flower paradise. The lotus are at their peak now, and walking among them is truly a transformative experience. The ponds are filled this time of year with what seem like fields of floating flowers.

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens child with lotus

There are light pink lotus and dark pink lotus with beautiful blossoms and leaves that are bigger than a toddler’s torso and rounder than their heads. Other ponds feature different kinds of lilies including white and purple varieties.

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens purple lilies

I’m told the large “Amazon” lilies will bloom later in the season, toward late August.

A very cool (and tiny) lizard on the steps leading toward the nature center was a great find to begin our day.

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens lizard

This year, we met up with friends, and it was a completely different experience than the visits we’ve taken in the past with our children, now 8 and almost 4. Our friend’s older son, almost 8, is a true nature explorer who finds interest in the smallest spider and excitedly flips over finding a frog. He was great to have in our walking party! We spied — and heard! — plenty of frogs.

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardensfrog

The many turtles we met ranged from palm-of-your-hand small to one that appeared to be nearly two feet long that a kindly visitor pointed out to us as it swam among the lotus.

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens large turtle amid lotus

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens small turtle

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens turtle

My kids enjoyed the trip the two previous times we’ve gone, and I liked walking further out to a viewing area where we saw herons when my daughter was in a stroller. But this year, with my daughter a little older, and sharing the experience with two buddies my children’s ages and another friend a little younger, no one needed to coax the kids to do anything. It was a regular self-directed nature class, with them out-doing one another to find cool stuff.

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens looking for wildlife

We didn’t travel as far in our 90-minute excursion as we had in years past, but we certainly went a lot deeper.

The park’s website recommends you head there in the morning before the flowers close in the summer heat. The grounds open at 7 a.m., and the garden shop (where your youngster can get a Junior Ranger activity book) opens at 9:00 a.m.

For more info, see http://home.nps.gov/keaq/planyourvisit/hours.htm

Looking for more locations for lotus viewing?  The lotus flowers in the pond at Green Springs Garden Park in Alexandria (near Annandale) are reportedly blooming now, too, and Meadlowlark Gardens in Vienna, Virginia also has lotus in its three lakes. Further up north is Lilypons Water Garden in Adamstown, Maryland where I’m told the lotus are nearing the end of their peak bloom, but lilies will be blooming through October.

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens children looking at lotus

Bottom line on lotus viewing:

  • go soon (this weekend!)
  • go early in the day
  • wear hats, sunscreen or long sleeves/pants if you’re out past 10 a.m., and some natural bug repellent
  • take at least one camera! (My son got some of the best shots!)

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens lotus

Yoga Camp at 532 Yoga

Some of the best summer options for kids are the ones planned by passionate people in the promising weeks of spring, long after special issues of camp round-ups have gone to press and summer fairs have introduced hopeful parents to what seem like the only options. Not so, as I learned when I put together a list of unique camps and yoga camps for the summer, a compendium I hope to grow next year.

Last week I learned that 532Yoga in north Old Town Alexandria was offering a Kids Corner yoga camp.

532 yoga kids camp

It had been a while since I had seen owner Suzanne Leitner-Wise, the leader of a fabulous yoga retreat I went on when I was seventh months pregnant in 2010, and I hadn’t yet made it to her gorgeous new studio. Talk about light and airy! And its front room contains two beautiful couches and a lovely array of clothing, books, jewelry and art.

The camp was planned as a weeklong experience but also offered a drop-in daily option, which worked great for us since we had other afternoon commitments a few of the days this week. It’s important to me that my kids learn to see yoga as a fun and healthy way to feel centered and grounded. And sometimes, they need to see that from another person! (I hope to learn more and get inspired to integrate yoga into our home life more this fall at the first National Kids Yoga Conference on September 27).

 

My children attended 532’s Kids Corner yoga camp on Monday and had a great time. When I arrived early for pick-up, energetic and bubbly teacher Lisa Sonntag — a special education teacher in Fairfax County, a certified yoga teacher, and an experienced camp counselor — said she could not believe how quickly the time flew. “Miss Lisa” shared that the children did an early savasana after a first half of class full of active asanas, or poses,

They then moved on to snack and crafts, including braiding yarn and making and coloring a “You Can Do Yoga” booklet and an accompanying coloring book/journal to be used through the week.

532 yoga camp group

I sat with the class as Lisa closed that first day with a reading (peppered by lively discussion) of the Dr. Seuss book, My Many-Colored Days, which associates different emotions with different colors.

532 yoga camp book 2

During the class, while I enjoyed some kid-free time at the Starbucks across the street, I sent Lisa some questions for further reflection.

Mindful Healthy Life: What was your favorite thing about the first day at yoga camp?
Lisa Sonntag: I loved having the children feel comfortable and active at the studio. They talked a lot and showed me what yoga poses they could do already.
MHL: What made you want to teach a kids camp this summer?
Lisa: I have always been excited to be babysitting and teaching children either over the summer in a camp environment or during school. After getting my 200-hour yoga teacher certification this year, I just knew I would incorporate my love of yoga with my love of children!!
MHL: What are your goals for the campers?
Lisa: My main goal for the campers is to enjoy yoga and have a great time learning new things that they can do with their bodies and minds. The campers will be listening and visualizing during meditation activities, communicating their thoughts and feelings, playing games and hearing stories that promote movement with yoga poses.
MHL: What are your goals for yourself as a teacher of young children?
Lisa: My personal goal, as with all teaching that I do, is to instruct the child where they are at and help them learn to be the best that they can be. It is okay being different!
MHL: What made you decide to pursue yoga teacher training after working for so long as a special education teacher?
Lisa: I have always wanted to be a yoga teacher and as I continue to work as a special education teacher, I realized yoga would be beneficial to my students as well as for me personally. 

In addition to accepting drop-ins through this session’s final day, July 18, 532Yoga will repeat this kids camp with Lisa Sonntag the week of August 4-8. Interested parties can contact the studio to inquire about a sibling discount or register through the workshops page on its scheduling site.

Disclosure: I received a discount on drop-in tuition for my two children in exchange for writing this post and sharing information about the camp.

Lil Omm: a haven for family yoga this summer!

When an email from lil omm yoga studio recently landed in my In box listing its upcoming family-friendly classes, my jaw dropped at all the offerings! I promptly asked if I could steal the info and post it all here!

lil omm circle

If you’ve never been to lil omm, north of Tenleytown and south of Friendship Heights on Wisconsin Ave. in NW DC, it’s a truly beautiful place. There are great classes and workshops that can be enjoyed by anyone as well as classes that cater to families with young children and opportunities for mothers to refresh and renew.

Even though I have a hard time even making it to a studio a few miles from me, lil omm got me out last January to see author Katrina Kenison, in April to journal with Abundant Mama Shawn Fink, and last month to sit and practice with Zen Buddhist priest and author Karen Maezen Miller.

During the weeks my kids are not in camp this summer, I’m also hoping to get to studio for a class by myself while they are in childcare (limit of 5 kids and offered for select classes, as seen on the lil omm schedule) or for a “Yoga Flow/Playtime” class when my kids can participate or play. There are also Saturday Family Yoga classes (ages 3-8) and a new “Backyard Bootcamp” that studio owner Pleasance Silicki is hosting out of her NW home on Thursday mornings (kids welcome). We have aged out of the Baby & Me and Movers & Tots classes, but check out the Class Description page to see all those offerings and more, including prenatal and postnatal.

lil omm family

In addition to these regular offerings, here is what else is coming up at lil omm this summer and fall!

Family Partner Yoga (all ages)- Sun 7/27 @ 1pm.  Pleasance leads families with children of all ages in a playful class that  incorporates breathing, movement, creativity, and flexibility AND family connection.
lil omm hula hoop
Let it Go: Frozen-inspired Yoga (families with children 3-8 years)- Sat 8/9 @ 5:30pm.  Yoga, dance, crafts, and glitter! Costumes welcome as we celebrate the music and themes from Frozen.
Circus Inspired Family Yoga (families with children 5+)- Sun 8/17 @ 2:30pm.  Explore circus and acro-yoga poses, mindfulness, and team work!  Also offered on Sat 9/13 @ 2:30pm
lil omm fam_partner[1]

Downward Doll Yoga (ages 3-6) – Sat 10/18 @ 2:30-3:30. Drop off your kiddo and his/her favorite doll or stuffed animal for a fun-filled, spirited yoga class followed by tea and cookies!

Lil omm is also teaming up with YoKid to put on the first National Kids Yoga Conference on Saturday, September 27, 2014. Read more about the conference here on the lil omm blog and check out this opportunity to sponsor a teen to attend!





Moms turn out in force to call for action on climate

Wednesday’s Play-In for Climate Action organized by Moms Clean Air Force was a great example of parenting meets civic engagement. The message the group wanted to deliver to Congress about climate change was: “Use your power to clean up our power!”

As the morning drizzle faded into a pleasant morning in Upper Senate park at 10:00 a.m., children and their parents donned red t-shirts that read, “Fighting pollution with mother love” on the front and “Tell Washington: Listen to your mothers!” on the back, picked up Moms Clean Air Force “MOMpartisan” buttons and Klean Kanteen stainless water bottles, and registered to win an organic mattress or pillow from Naturepedic. Children practiced yoga courtesy of lil omm yoga studio, enjoyed the healthiest snacks you’ve ever seen at a mass event like this, played with a parachute and with pinwheels, and worked on posters to carry for the march portion of the event.Moms Clean Air Force Play-In 2014 posters

Moms Clean Air Force Play-In 2014 yoga

Moms Clean Air Force Play-In 2014 parachute

I had the chance to talk to a few of the moms who turned out for the event, which was conceived of by Biome Studio principal and NoVA mom of two Heather Clark, who shared more with us about her vision before the event in this interview.

Two of the attendees I spoke to were originally from the West Coast and had moved to Northern Virginia within the last two years. Elizabeth Epstein of Fairfax said she felt the “urgency of the moment,” especially as she prepares to welcome her second baby in September. After she learned of the event through an online forum, she thought, “How could we not attend?” It felt good, she said, for her and three-year-old Deena to be visible supporters of the effort.

Phoebe R. of Arlington, who has worked as a sustainability consultant, said she came because she didn’t want the generation of her daughters, aged two and a half and 4 months, to look at her generation and think it let the opportunity slip by.  “Let’s let our generation be the one to act rather than kick the can down the road. It’s not fair to our have it be our children’s problem,” Phoebe said.

At 11:00, children from around the country formed a semi-circle for the press conference, during which they held giant signs that would be delivered later that day to individual Senators to ask them to support the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan announced in June.

Moms Clean Air Force Play-In 2014 press conference children

Moms Clean Air Force’s Gretchen Dahlkemper-Alfonso emceed the event, opening with the hope that politicians would put aside partisan bickering so that her three children would be “gifted a world that is healthier than the one they were given.” With her message of hope and love – including the reminder, “Guess what? Love always wins” – Gretchen set the stage for an event that stuck to positive energy in the face of some scary possible futures that the sponsoring groups hope to keep from happening. The partnering groups for the event were Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environment,  Climate ParentsHealthy Child Healthy World, and The Mothers Project United for Sustainability.

Heather Clark shared the prediction that her children will see 12 times as many heat record days per year but offered that “visionary changes are here today” and called Congress to stand behind those promoting innovations that can address climate change.

Moms Clean Air Force Play-In 2014 press conference Heather Clark

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) opened by asking for a show of hands of how many people had or knew someone who had asthma. It was tough to spy any hands that weren’t raised. She introduced Senator Shelton Whitehouse (D-RI) who told the crowd, which numbered upwards of 200, that “nothing has the power to stop an idea whose time as come.” He optimistically spoke of gaining momentum for the understanding that you “can’t recklessly pollute air and water.”

When Danielle Hilton of Charlotte, North Carolina came to the podium, she spoke of having done “all the little things” one person can to limit her family’s carbon footprint but that, as the EPA tells us, it’s not individuals like her who are the major source of the problem: it’s the power plants. If regulation is not going to come from the states, as it likely won’t in North Carolina where Danielle lives in the 8th most polluted city in the country, we “need Congress to take the lead.” Danielle, who sits on the Board of Clean Air Carolina and is involved with Charlotte Environmental Action, called on Congress to put public health over private interest.

Director of Programs for the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments Katie Huffling, RN, CNM, spoke of the harm polluted air can cause to a child’s developing young lungs, noting that ozone inflames the lungs like a sunburn hurts skin. Ozone levels in the metro DC area are high with the District and counties in Virginia and Maryland all receiving grades of F from the American Lung Association in its State of the Air report.

First-time expectant mom Leah Qusba is involved with Climate Parents and, in her work with the Alliance for Climate Education, has tried to “change the face of who cares about climate change” by activating and inspiring youth and helping lawmakers see that the issues of air quality and climate change are important to their constituents. “Climate change is apple pie and baseball,” Leah said; it’s not something apart from our reality.

Moms Clean Air Force Play-In 2014 baby with world

Keya Chatterjee explained how the issue of climate change hit her “like a ton of bricks” in 2010 when she was expecting her first child. Senior Director of International Climate Policy at the World Wildlife Fund, Keya is the author of Zero Footprint Baby. She expressed optimism that “we are going to win,” in part because renewable energy is getting cheaper than “dirty energy” and also because of people power, as evidenced by the Play-In.

After the press conference concluded, attendees gathered signs and marched across the street to the front of the Capitol building chanting, “Clean air for kids!” “Our children get sicker, their pockets get bigger,” and “What do we want? Clean Air! When do we want it? Now!”

Moms Clean Air Force Play-In 2014 marching

A group photo taken in front of the Capitol showed the event’s strength in numbers.

Moms Clean Air Force Play-In 2014 capitol front

Heather Clark closed the official event at 12 noon and invited interested attendees to stay to deliver messages to some 40 senators’ offices. A group of parents and children went door to door in the Russell Senate Office Building to deliver state-specific signs with children’s signatures and hand prints along with a letter calling on the senators to act on climate change.

Moms Clean Air Force Play-In 2014 New Hampshire office

 

Visit http://www.momscleanairforce.org for more information and opportunities to take action.

Visionary Mom Inspires Play-In for Climate Action

Northern Virginia mother of two Heather Clark is so serious about climate change that she’s organized a day of play to playin_logodraw attention to it! On Wednesday, July 9, parents concerned about the effect air pollution is having on climate change will join Moms Clean Air Force for a Play-In for Climate Action on the Hill to raise awareness and demand action from politicians.

I had the chance to chat with Heather to learn more about how this event came about. As principal of the Biome Studio, Heather has long been passionate about sustainability. Her work is involved in visionary projects that start to change the places we live and the way those places behave with an eye toward zero energy communities.

Heather says, “We currently have the knowledge to redesign the places where we live so that they can power themselves with renewable energy, clean themselves with plants and micro-organisms, produce food organically, and provide habitat.  This is the type of work I do – I have firsthand experience that it is possible. By overcoming climate change, we will solve other problems in the process – toxic waste, air pollution, water pollution, habitat destruction, etc.  As a society, we just need the vision and will.”

350.org climate change childrenAfter Heather had her second child, now two years old, she spent more time researching climate change in particular. In February 2013, Heather attended her first protest since she was a teenager, the “Forward on Climate Rally” in Washington, DC organized by 350.org, an organization that has led global climate action events since 2009. She brought her children, aged 1 and 3 at the time, in a double stroller with a sleeping bag with a sign that read, “We need a future. Please! Stop dumping carbon.”

 

When Heather got loads of attention from photographers, NPR, and other reporters because of her children, she saw the promise of parents getting together around climate change.

Inspired by sit-ins for civil rights, Heather mulled the idea over for an organized action around climate change, initially envisioning something in Congressional buildings. “It’s hard not to notice kids playing in a government space,” she says, adding that she hopes Wednesday’s Play-In for Climate Action will be replicated by informal groups across the country of parents and their friends. Wednesday’s event took off after a friend of Heather’s at the Natural Resources Defense Council pointed Heather to Moms Clean Air Force, which got very excited and ran with the idea.

Heather Clark 1

Here is a modified version of Heather’s blog post for Moms Clean Air Force:

“I have tended to be fairly quiet about sharing my thoughts about climate change, until now. As a mother of two toddlers, I realized that creating a smaller carbon footprint at home is not enough. I am deeply concerned about what the world will look like in 2045 when my children are my age and having children of their own. Climate change threatens our food supply, our homes, our safety, and most importantly, the health of our children.

I first learned about climate change in seventh grade. Then I studied climate change in college, but it seemed so abstract and futuristic that I had a hard time believing it would happen. Somewhere between Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy, climate change became very real for me. Those storms prompted me to read climate change reports from the The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) formed by the United Nations, the Pentagon, NASA, the National Academy of Sciences, The U.S. National Climate Assessment and other sources.

On YouTube, I watched the Philippine representative at the UN Climate Summit announce his hunger strike, as he spoke tearfully about how climate change is devastating his country. I also began looking at flood maps of Cape Cod and Virginia Beach, where my sisters and parents live. I cringe when I think about the world our families will live in if we don’t do something now to curb climate change.

As a parent, I know that we must take action! After attending my first climate change rally when my kids were one and three, I experienced the power of children and families together, calling attention to climate change. I recently came up with the idea of a Play-In – a family-friendly event that gives parents the opportunity to demand action from our politicians.

Sadly, some polluters and politicians are doing everything in their power to undermine solutions As parents, we must vocalize our power by supporting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency efforts to regulate carbon at power plants.

Please join my family at the Play-In for Climate Action in Washington, DC on July 9, 2014. As parents, let’s join together and let our voices be heard loud and clear!”

play-in horizontal

Thanks to Heather for talking with us here at Mindful Healthy Life!

For more information on Wednesday’s event, which will take place 10 a.m. to 12 noon in Upper Senate Park on Capitol Hill,  go to http://www.momscleanairforce.org/play-in-climate-action/ or the Facebook event page.

Attendees who register ahead of time are eligible to win either one organic crib mattress or two organic pillows from Naturepedic.

Here’s a glance at the schedule for the event:

10:00 – Arrival and sign-in

10:15-11:00 – Yoga with Holly Clay-Smith of lil omm yoga studio; Music with Rose Tootle; Parachute activity; poster-making

11:00-11:30 – Press conference

11:30-12:00 – March to Senate offices

Refreshments to be provided by MOM’s Organic Market

Yoga camps and unique summer camps

While many of the biggest and most well-established camps in the DC area filled when there was still snow on the ground, there are a number of camps with a more specifically mindful or outdoors focus that still have room.

Here are some smaller and off-the-grid camps to check out this year. (Or use this as a starting point for future planning!)

Note: Arcadia Farm Camp is full for 2014 and has full waitlists.

Creative Camps and Classes

New addition 7/7/14: iSchool for the Future has spaces in two-week camps:
July 14-25 Innovation Lab Camp
 that combine STEM with creative Arts to inspire children to use their imaginations and Empathy to create inventions that make life easier. 
July 28-August 8 Amazing Race Around the World Camp where young explorers – with some language and navigation skills – will learn about people, science, cultures, and geography while experiencing music, cuisines, and arts from around the world. They will even build a country along the way! Camps are offered in 2 locations – in Reston and at Wakefield School in The Plains, VA. View slide show.

    • Ages 7-12
    • 9am-3pm
  • $595 for the two week sessions
  • Scholarships for young scholars are available
  • Classes are taught by passionate scientists and educators

Camp Create Music in Alexandria (Fairfax)

Children ages 1-3 may attend with a loving grown-up, and children aged 4-8 may be dropped off at this camp led by Cheryl Anderson Sabo of Music Together Vivo.

My son, several times a Music Together alum, and my daughter, who’d only attended one session, had a blast at this camp last year, and so did their mom! We danced, sang, heard stories told magically by Miss Cheryl, ate healthy snacks, listened to and made live music and so much more. It was the perfect thing to do as a family when my kids were three and seven. Cheryl’s description says: “Campers will enjoy instrument exploration, yoga, stories, and a fun-filled Music Together class each day!  Each family will receive the ‘Family Favorites’ CD and activity guide.”

Morning camp meets Monday–Thursday, 9:00–11:45 a.m. Register online through Music Together Vivo and ignore the fact that the registration says the class is only 45 minutes long). Weeks available are  July 28-31, August 4-7, and August 11-14. Location is Nativity Lutheran Church, 1300 Collingwood Rd, Alexandria, VA. $152 /$120 siblings per week. mtvivo.yourvirtuoso.com

Music Together Vivo 2013 summer camp Cheryl Sabo - music notes 1

Music Together Vivo 2013 summer camp Cheryl Sabo - James and the Giant Peach storytelling - group

 

Color Catchers Art & Yoga Class in Sterling

Jean McTigue is a homeschooling mother and certified yoga teacher. She’s offering six weeks of Thursday afternoon classes: “Observation and Feeling/ Yoga and Art at the Cascades Library in Sterling starting 7/10 and going through 8/14. Children ages 8 or 9 and up will meet 2:00-3:00; class for younger children is full. Cost is $50/child.

Jean says: “We will do a short yoga sort of stretching relaxing and game playing and then I will lead them either outside in front of the library or just to the general area inside the library so they can observe certain things and do a drawing exercise! ” Contact colorcatchers (at) gmail (dot) com to register.

 

Eastern Ridge School in Vienna

This Reggio-inspired school on a meadow with a large garden and pigs near Wolf Trap has several summer offerings including a Toddler Program for ages 2 and 3 and an early childhood program for ages 3.5 to 6 running through the summer, 8:30-3:00 (with before care and after care available). Toddlers (ages 2 to 3.5): $435 for full week, $305 for Monday to Wednesday, $205 for Thursday and Friday. (Requires four-week commitment if child is not enrolled in ERS for spring or fall). Early childhood (ages 3.5 to 6): $395, full week only.

Description: “Children work in the gardens, visit and care for our pot bellied pigs, tell stories,  sing songs, splash and play in our galvanized farm tubs or mud pit, and work with inspirational and messy art materials. In the midst of all of that old-fashioned fun, we work with them to develop projects they are passionate about.”

Also offered are three weeks of themed elementary camps with visiting experts as lead teachers for children rising into grades two through five: June 30-July 3: Creative and Technical Drawing; July 7-11: Elementary Photography (see article and giveaway); August 4-8: Dramatic Arts; and August: 18-22 Native Americans. Cost is $415/week. easternridgeschool.org

 

Home-based Reggio-Inspired Camp in Arlington

Christy Przystawik is a trained chef and holistic health coach who works as a school garden coordinator for DC’s FoodPrints program and for private schools in the area and as a nutrition educator at The Breastfeeding Center of Greater Washington. Christy is running three weeks of a Reggio Emilia-inspired camp from her home and garden in Arlington with co-teacher Amrita Love.

Description: “With Amrita, children will have the opportunity to make these discoveries through a variety of media like: paper making, vegetable prints, clay, mosaic, mod podge decoupage, different paints, cray pas, sculpture and good old paper and pencil. Christy will be working with the children on gardening, harvesting, cooking, composting, and plant preparations. Music will be included every day at camp to inspire learning, movement, and relaxation.”

Camp will be offered July 21-25, July 28-August 1, and August 4-8. $300/week (includes a healthy snack). Hours 9-1. More information on Christy’s blog, feedingfamilieswell.com/

 

Nature Camp at Tauxemont in Alexandria (Fairfax)

Children “can enjoy a traditional camp experience with nature hikes, camp songs, opening and closing ceremonies” in Tauxemont Cooperative Preschools’ wooded setting. Morning sessions are for children ages 3 1/2 (by June) through completion of kindergarten (rising first graders). Afternoon camp sessions are for children 4 1/2 years old through completion of 2nd grade (rising third graders). Space is available June 23-27 and June 30-July 3 for both morning and afternoon sessions. The final week of camp is full. www.tauxemont.org/nature-camp

 

Peace Camp in Arlington

Little Friends for Peace offers three sessions of Peace Camp at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington for children ages 5-14. Weeks are June 23-27, June 30-July 3, and July 7-11. Hours are 8:45 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Full weeks: $295; July 4 week: $260. Price includes lunch. When my son attended, the staff was very accommodating of his gluten-free diet and included gluten-free options for him and other campers.

Peace Camp offers children “an opportunity to explore the issues and feelings associated with peace and conflict. Campers and staff represent a diversity of religious faith, ethnicity and culture.” For more information, see this brochurewww.uucava.org/group/peacecamp

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Potomac Crescent Waldorf School in Arlington

A half-Day Camp for children aged 4 through rising 1st graders the weeks of June 23-27, July 7-11, July 14-18, and July 21-25. Description says: “Each day begins outdoors, enjoying sand and water play, bubbles, wet felting and more. Indoors, we have time for imaginative play, cooking, camp crafts, circle and story time.” Price is $325 per week and includes a healthy snack. www.potomaccrescentschool.org

 

Zayla’s Studio in the Woods in Alexandria (Fairfax)

“Summer Immersions: For kids of all ages (check for age appropriateness). Nature oriented. Outdoor classroom. Inspired teaching. Small groups.”

“Free To Be in 3-D” Nature-Art-Yoga Immersion, July 14-25, M-F 10:30am-2pm. $400
Description: “Sculpture, assemblage, nature installation, collaborative large scale work and yoga that takes on new dimensions. Journaling, discussion and documentation of work and process incorporated.” 

Art & Geography immersion, August 11-15, M-F 10am-12:30pm,  $200 
Description: “Exploring our sense of Place in this global environment, we will begin with artist map-making. Creating maps of our literal place, our imagined place even our symbolic place. We will move into an inquiry and exchange with a person/place somewhere else in the world creating a postcard-sized work of art that signifies our home.”

www.studiointhewoods.co

Yoga Camps

New addition 7/8/14: 532 Yoga in Old Town Alexandria is offering a Kids Corner camp the week of July 14 and also the week of August 4 in the afternoons, 1:30-4:00 p.m., for children age 3-7(ish). It’s $50/day for a drop-in or $215 for the full week for one child. And if you enroll two children, the studio is running a special get a $65 discount for a total of $365 for both kids combined. For more information, visit the 532 Yoga Facebook page or go to the main schedule page at http://www.532yoga.com/SCHEDULE.html  and from there go to the Online Scheduler and choose the Workshops tab.

Description says: “This camp will promote strength, flexibility, coordination, balance, peacefulness and body awareness, as well as improve concentration and focus, stimulate imagination, and help promote a good nights sleep.
The 532Kids Camp program will improve focus and concentration through posture work, improve self-esteem as they are encouraged to work to the best of their ability, and improve social skills through games focusing on teamwork, listening and cooperation, and teach breathing and relaxation techniques to help teach how to stay calm through anxious moments. 532Kids Camp will include asana, art, music and movement. There will also be a small snack provided.”

Beloved Yoga in Reston, VA

Half-day yoga camps, 1-4 p.m. Ages 3-6 the week of July 14-18 and July 28-August 1. Ages 7-11 the week of July 7-11 and July 21-25. $170 first child. 15% sibling discount.

Description says: “Kids will explore yoga poses, games, art, breath-work and relaxation through different themes each day throughout the week: Countries of the world, Trust, Environmental actions, Body system and Chakras. These classes will help the kids to improve their physical and mental health and teach them the importance of “care of oneself”. Every child will thrive in this noncompetitive atmosphere where they get a chance for self-expression, cooperation through fun yoga activities.” www.belovedyoga.com

 

Breathing Space Yoga on Capitol Hill

Full-day camps for children ages 4-12 years (rising PreK-5th grade). $345 per week or $660 for two weeks or two children. 8:30-3:15 pm with optional after-camp care until 5:30 pm. Most camp weeks are already full but click here for registration . Limited space remains in ASL Week, June 23-27, and for 1st-3rd graders only the week of August 11 and August 25.

Description says: “Our summer camp provides children with a fun, creative, educational and enriching experience through yoga movement classes, mindfulness activities, relaxation, games, crafts and outdoor time.” breathingspacedc.com

 

Circle Yoga in NW DC

Half-day camp for ages 4-7 for $250, 9am-12pm, $250 per week, July 7-11 and July 14-18.

Ages 6-12 can do a full day (9-3) for $365 the following weeks: June 23-27, July 21-25, July 28-August 1, August 4-8, August 11-15, August 18-22 (and for $219 the short week of June 30-July 2)

The description says: “Budding Yogis camp is FUN and full of movements and creativity. Campers get to play outside and be the active kids they are, and they have time to wind down with mindful yoga, journaling, and relaxation. Because we are completely non-competitive and spend time in small groups, our campers develop friendships and connections that are truly special.” circleyoga.com

 

Sun & Moon Yoga in Arlington and Fairfax

Afternoon four-day camps for children ages 5-12 the week of July 14-17 in both the Arlington location and the Fairfax location. 1:00-4:00 p.m., $180. The description says: “We will introduce poses to increase flexibility and strength, develop coordination and posture, and learn to relax and release energy in a safe way. The curriculum will include yoga asanas, mindful walking to a neighboring park, crafts, snacks, karma yoga (acts of selfless service) and creative expression. We will emphasize the non-competitive nature of yoga and have time for reflection and gratitude, all in fun. The intention is for children to learn skills which will carry over into their daily lives.  “

There is also a Teens Camp July 21-24 in Arlington, 1:00-4:00 p.m., $180. The description reads: “Daily yoga practice with postures, breathing techniques, group activities, and deep relaxation. Goals include identifying stress triggers, releasing tension, increasing focus, developing strength and flexibility for life both on and off the mat. We’ll have a chow break each day (snacks provided). Annie and Hope will create a relaxed atmosphere with space for creativity, frank discussion, and, most importantly, fun.” Register at www.sunandmoonstudio.com/Workshop.shtml

Please share any additional ideas in the comments, email to jessica (at) mindfulhealthylife (dot) com or post on our Facebook page.

For more summer ideas in and around DC, check out the resources at these other great websites:

 

Photography Camp: Spend a week enjoying and capturing the magic of the outdoors

When I learned that Jessica Wallach of Portrait Playtime was going to teach a photography-themed camp at the nature-loving Eastern Ridge School in Vienna, Virginia, I had to share this unique opportunity! My son just completed a wonderful photography enrichment program at his school, and I couldn’t be more excited for him to explore his creativity through a lens.

For seven years, Jessica Wallach has been capturing the natural beauty of families as part of her business. She loves engaging people, especially young people, to show their passions and explore who they are. Read on to get the scoop on her photography-themed camp being offered July 7-11 for children entering grades 2 through 5. Hours of the camp are 8:30 to 3:00 with before and after care available for an additional fee. Lunch and morning snack come from home; a healthy, gluten-free afternoon snack is provided by ERS.

ERS is offering a special deal to one lucky winner of our promotion: one $75 discount for the camp, normally priced at $415. Additionally, any entrant to this promotion who wishes to register will be sent a code for $15 off. The promotion campaign will start tomorrow and expire Wednesday, June 18 at 11:59 p.m.

Background on Photography Camp teacher Jessica Wallach

Jessica loves to teach and to encourage people to share their voice and vision. Since 2012, she has been running an art camp for Fairfax County Parks and Rec in which she gives children a bigger sense of themselves and their ability to tell their stories using a wide variety of art media. She is thrilled to lead a photography camp at ERS. “There is such a wide variety of things to capture with our lenses, we will never do the exact same thing twice, but always build on what came before and take it three steps further,” she says. She loves the “magical” meadow of ERS as a prime location for exploring photography.

Mud!!!

 

Q&A with Jessica Wallach

Mindful Healthy Life: What do you like about working with children?

Jessica Wallach: I love working with young people, putting out an idea and seeing where their minds run with it or taking their idea and weaving something about photography into it.  In my last few children’s photography classes, it’s great that we get to that point where they start coming up with ideas about what to do next.  I also love incorporating play into whatever I do, and kids’ first language is play, so we are a natural fit.

Also I think young people of this generation are going to use cameras and photos to both learn and express what they know in a way that has never been seen before.  A camera will become as common as using a pencil and paper was in my elementary school.  I have a passion for exploring this with young people.

Just the other day, I asked the children in my class to tell me things they know and then we talked about how we would show that through pictures. …I said I knew that mass cannot be destroyed, it just changes form and I could take a photo of an ice cube in a frying pan as it melts and then evaporates. One student said she could show how the sky changes color as the sun goes down and that she could take a photo of the sky and a clock at different times of the afternoon and early evening.

MHL: How did you come to be involved with Eastern Ridge School?

JW: My daughter went to the predecessor, Discovery Woods Learning Community, for years and I worked as a photographer there on and off.  I spent a ton of time behind the camera there, from capturing students at work and play to doing photo fundraisers to documenting family gatherings and workdays to teaching the teachers how to use their camera’s better.  I tell you it is a magical place that just begs you to pick up your camera. Early on I assisted with ERS’s marketing and they use some of my photos on their website.

Child with camera - Jessica Wallach

MHL: How is ERS different from other schools and camps? 

JW: My favorite thing about ERS is the central theme that children are smart, capable and need scaffolding to get to do the next big thing.  As teachers, we facilitate their learning, never forcing, always remembering they are capable and that we work from their strengths and build on them.

Another way ERS is different is that art, nature and scientific inquiry are the basis for learning.  We are outside all the time. It is just the way things are.

MHL: How will you structure the camp? 

The camp is structured to keep the kids interested in photography by balancing structured activities and unstructured play time.  The hope is that the unstructured time will inform and inspire our photography.  If kids love running in the meadow, how do we capture that? If they make a city in the sand box, can we do a stop action video made up of tons of photos showing life in that city?  If they get bored with the photography, we will go play. The schedule will change according to what the young people need to do that day.

Here is the basic schedule:Eastern Ridge School meadow by Jessica Wallach

  • Free Play: slideshow going and books filled with photos on the table for kids to look at if interested
  • Sit spots or nature walk in meadow with cameras
  • Morning meeting: discuss what we did the day before & what we could observe that could change that day; decide on day’s activities
  • Observational photography
  • Activity Block 1
  • Snack
  • Free play: encourage running a lap, rolling stumps, climbing trees…activities where the children can physically go all out.
  • Activity Block II
  • Lunch
  • Look at photos, editing, creating mini movies
  • Snack

MHL: What will children walk away with?

Children will walk away with a sharpened set of skills, a large number of gorgeous images, and some videos of their work.  We will set up an online gallery just for this camp which we will upload to every afternoon.  From there, we will make videos using our stills and video clips and Pro Show Web/Producer.  At the end of the week, we would love parents to join us for a showcase.

Through the camp we will be practicing the following skills and they will walk away with a slew of photos that helped them practice these skills:

  • How to work a camera
  • Telling a story
  • Creating art for art’s sake
  • Using a camera in the investigation/scientific process
  • Using camera to take notes

MHL: What kind of device do children need? Will there be a lot of screen time?

JW: Children can use a point and shoot, smart phone, iPad or DSLR.  All of them will capture photos and offer many options that will provide many learning opportunities.

Viewing and editing photos is a critical part of this camp experience. We will be looking at screens to do both of those activities. We will be looking at our photos and others to figure out what we like and don’t like and be inspired. Most likely much of our editing will be done communally on one computer and/or in small groups.

MHL: Will there be any collaborative projects or will everything be individual per student?

JW: There will be both collaborative and individual projects and how much of each will depend on group interest.  Campers will be presented with these choices during morning meeting and we will figure out together when we will do what. Some projects we will most likely do include:

  • Storytelling, stop action video, hybrid photography…children design a little life or big life story, capture it on camera, put it together as a movie.
  • Being inspired by others photography and then creating photographs in a similar fashion
  • Photo scavenger hunts
  • Photos of water, dripping, moving fast, still
  • Photos of people and things in motion
  • Macro photography in the garden
  • Bug hunt
  • Something that changes
  • Shade garden: The way things work
  • In the dark with flash light
  • Other campers
  • Create a how to set of photos or video
  • Reading a book and taking photos that represent what we read
  • Field guide photos
  • Photos that show what you know
  • Photos that say something about yourself
  • Photos that show how you feel
  • Photos that ask a question
  • Capturing things they do
  • Free choice camera work

MHL: Anything else you’d like to add?

JW: I am so excited about this camp.  It will be amazing to spend a week immersed in photography and play at ERS.

***

For those unfamiliar with ERS, the camp coordinator, an ERS parent, shared this additional information:

– At arrival time and then again later in the afternoon, elementary students will have time for exploration and free play in our outdoor spaces. The elementary and early education children will all be together at this time. This focus on child-led play with mixed ages is central to the ERS philosophy – it postively impacts social and emotional development and allows for some down-time with friends or siblings in different classes.
– During the morning and afternoon project blocks, children will be working with Jessica on photography. Eastern Ridge is largely influenced by the Reggio Emilia approach that values the role of the child in defining their own questions and interests. The teacher often acts as a facilitator, providing provocations and access to resources, then often learning and exploring along side the children. In this way, instruction and exploration are often intertwined.
– ERS is a unique school and camp. We are located just outside of Tyson’s corner on 5 acres. We have a large garden, pigs and undeveloped woodland, as well as large open outdoor spaces to run, build and play. Much of our learning happens using nature and art as the vehicle. We have children aged two to nine during the school year and go through 5th grade for some of our camps. Our camps are unique in that much time is spent outdoors and all camps are taught by our own very experienced teachers or visiting specialty teachers. Teachers also post daily journals and photos of their days with the children and families are encouraged to comment. These journals allow for reflection and community building.
Eastern Ridge School art by Jessica Wallach
– An afternoon snack is provided daily. A variety of fresh fruit is the staple, with (gluten-free) rice crackers, organic sunbutter or organic cheese added in. Children should bring a healthy morning snack (raw veggies are ideal) and lunch from home.
– Jessica will be assisted by one of the experienced ERS assistant teachers.
***
If your child (entering grades 2-5) would like to join Jessica Wallach’s photography camp the week of July 7-11, come back tomorrow to enter the giveaway by 11:59 Wednesday, June 18 for a chance to get $75 off the $415 registration fee. All non-winning entrants are eligible for a promo code for $15 off any early childhood (age 3-6) camp or elementary camp during summer 2014. Discount not eligible for the toddler program.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

One step at a time: reflections from a holistic health coach (+ giveaway)

“It’s June, Mommy!” my 3-year-old daughter announced to me last week. “It was May, and now it’s June!” I’m not sure if she learned this from preschool or from her brother, but it was a delight to see her excitement about something new, even if it had no real meaning to her. It’s hard to believe we’re already almost halfway through the month and just over a week away from the longest day of the year.

June means something special for the author of today’s guest post, mom and holistic health coach Marybeth Walsh of My Whole Self. Marybeth is graciously offering a giveaway of a either a one-hour holistic health coaching session (in person in Alexandria or by phone) or participation in her next two-week seasonal detox program like this one she did in April. (Date TBD: probably in the fall). Each is valued at $125; the winner will be able to choose coaching or the detox program. Enter below!

One Step at a Time in the Path of Life” by Marybeth Walsh

I love the month of June and feel such joy when it arrives. There is an abundance of beauty this month and a feast for the senses. I love the feeling of freedom; the slower pace and promise of more; the colors and scents of flowers, trees, and freshly cut grass; the abundance of ripe, juicy produce; fresh herbs from the garden, and the sounds of kids laughing, free at last.

This year I approach the month of June with mixed feelings. I hit a milestone last June and this year am on the other side, yet life this past year has been full of new challenges. I felt, earlier in my life that by this time, I would have achieved some great measure of wisdom and success. A feeling akin to climbing a steep but beautiful mountain, and finally reaching the top, only to look down from this great height and survey where I’ve been, take a deep breath of accomplishment, and feel peace.

Instead, I was diagnosed with leukemia several years ago and as a result, my life has taken twists and turns I could never have anticipated. Rather than gazing down from the top of the mountain, I feel in many ways I’m starting my climb all over. It reminds me of the game Candy Land, when you hit a slide and get sent back 10 paces.

But I have to say, I’m grateful for all of it: the people who have been in and come into my life, the experiences I’ve had, the knowledge I’ve gained, and the realization that we can always pick ourselves up and start again. I have to say, for every 5 or 10 steps back I take, there has always been new knowledge, friends, inspiration and blessings.

Life is truly a journey, not always straight up, but in a series of peaks and valleys. I think it’s the obstacles and challenges that help us grow and appreciate the goodness in life. What I now know and can share is that we always have a choice, not always with the external situations that hit us, but how we choose to accept them. That being in the present moment, whatever it is, is life. It’s the little things we do each day, our practices, our relationships, and our mindset, that help us navigate the way, guiding us one step at a time.

***

Here are some of Marybeth’s favorite sites and books for healthy inspiration. Share your favorites in the comments — click the button with the dialogue bubble at right — and get another entry into her giveaway!

Marybeth’s Favorite Websites:

Marbybeth’s Favorite Books:


 

Please note that the winner of the giveaway can do an in-person consultation or a phone consultation with Marybeth.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Copyright © 2015 Mindful Healthy Life. Created by MtoM Consulting.

Get connected!

 

Join our email list for the latest on events, news and tips to support your health journey and smooth your parenting path.
All subscribers will receive a free copy of our forthcoming e-book guide to Metro DC holistic family resources. E-book coming fall 2016!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Mindful Healthy Life eBook Guide to Holistic Family Living cover

Get our eBook Guide to Holistic Family Resources!

Join our mailing list to get a link to our eBook, the Mindful Healthy Life of Metro DC Guide to Holistic Family Resources. The eBook has hundreds of listings of practitioners, wellness centers, yoga studios and more plus activities, events, blogs, Facebook & email groups and lots of great ways to connect and engage in healthy living in Metro DC. You'll also receive our blog posts and seasonal newsletter.

You have Successfully Subscribed!