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This is what gratitude looks like!

Give this little girl less than a minute...

...and she will show you exactly what gratitude looks like. 

Keep showing the next generation how to be grateful, content, loving, kind, and caring - the dividends it will pay are innumerable. 

Enjoy.  And check out our friends at The Story of This Life.

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Pig on the Pine

zen pig christmas kid activity

Pig on the Pine

We love arts and crafts around our house!  You'd be hard pressed to find a piece of furniture without some sort of paint, or marker, or glitter or...insert anything else found at Michaels. 

And this Zen Pig ornament definitely proved to be one of our favorites!  So grab your littles and let them go to town making their own Zen Pig ornament. 

What you'll need:

  1. Dark Pink felt
  2. Pipe cleaner
  3. Light Pink paint and black paint
  4. Scissors
  5. Glue gun or standard white glue
  6. Paintbrush
  7. Toothpick
  8. (2) ~2" styrofoam balls
     
Zen Pig holiday kid craft supplies

Steps:

1. Place the styrofoam balls on each side of the toothpick. It will look like a dumbbell. 

1. Place the styrofoam balls on each side of the toothpick. It will look like a dumbbell. 

2.  Grab your paintbrush and paint each ball with the light pink paint. Put to the side and allow to dry.

2.  Grab your paintbrush and paint each ball with the light pink paint. Put to the side and allow to dry.

3. Cut two small triangles (about the size of your pinky nail) out of the felt. 

3. Cut two small triangles (about the size of your pinky nail) out of the felt. 

4.  Next, cut an oval from the felt about the size of your thumbnail. 

4.  Next, cut an oval from the felt about the size of your thumbnail. 

5.  After your pink paint has dried, push the styrofoam balls together until they meet in the middle. 

5.  After your pink paint has dried, push the styrofoam balls together until they meet in the middle. 

6.  Now glue the triangle ears on Zen Pig. 

6.  Now glue the triangle ears on Zen Pig. 

7.  Then, glue the pink oval on for Zen Pig's nose. 

7.  Then, glue the pink oval on for Zen Pig's nose. 

8.  Now, it's time to bliss Zen Pig out with his signature eyes and smile, as well as some legs. 

8.  Now, it's time to bliss Zen Pig out with his signature eyes and smile, as well as some legs. 

9.  Don't forget his little tail. 

9.  Don't forget his little tail. 

10.  While Zen Pig drys, fold your pipe cleaner a little bit more than halfway and cut. 

10.  While Zen Pig drys, fold your pipe cleaner a little bit more than halfway and cut. 

11.Wiggle one side of the pipe cleaner into the top until it won't slide out. 

11.Wiggle one side of the pipe cleaner into the top until it won't slide out. 

12.  Lastly, twist the other end of the pipe cleaner around the embedded side to form the loop. 

12.  Lastly, twist the other end of the pipe cleaner around the embedded side to form the loop. 

13. Hang and enjoy! 

13. Hang and enjoy! 

We want to see your ornament!

After you're finished we'd love to see all the creative variations on the Zen Pig ornament!  Just #ZenPig on Instagram or send us an email at MarkBrown@ZenPigBook.com

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! 

 

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Memory Making Activities to Make Your Thanksgiving Unforgettable

Thanksgiving games and crafts for kids

Thanksgiving is kind of our jam...

...It's all about gratitude and CHOOSING to acknowledge how incredibly fruitful our lives really are. 

And to celebrate we've put together these memory making activities you can do with your house full of little's that will make your holiday unforgettable!

1. Turkey "Tag" 

This is a great way to let the kiddos do a craft that then moves into an outdoor game (unless you're into hordes of kids running through your house - but we wouldn't recommend it. :) ).  Each player constructs their own turkey.  Once everyone is finished, an adult clips a turkey on the back of each player's shirt.  Then let them GO!  The object is to grab as many turkeys as you can while avoiding having yours taken.  If your turkey is taken, you're out for the remainder of the round.  The player that catches the most turkey's wins!    

Turkey Tag to make Thanksgiving Unforgettable

What you'll need:

  1.  A clothespin for every player
  2. A gluestick, whiteglue, or hot glue gun (your choice)
  3. Black, Orange, and Red markers
  4. A leaf for every player. 
Turkey Tag Thanksgiving materials
First, have each player take a clothes pin and use the markers to draw a turkey face on it (beak pointed down toward metal piece.

First, have each player take a clothes pin and use the markers to draw a turkey face on it (beak pointed down toward metal piece.

Next, have each player detach the stems from their leaf.

Next, have each player detach the stems from their leaf.

To finish off each player's turkey, simply place glue on the back bottom of each leaf and stick to clip behind the turkey face.  Now, open the back door and let them have at it! 

To finish off each player's turkey, simply place glue on the back bottom of each leaf and stick to clip behind the turkey face. 

Now, open the back door and let them have at it! 


2. Find the Feather

This is a game that could span the entirety of your Thanksgiving get together or just be a quick activity to do while the pie's cool down. Totally up to you. Each player will be on the lookout for feathers throughout the house.  There are 3 different sizes of feathers, each with a respective point value.  The person with the most points at the end of the party (or quick game) is the winner! 

What you'll need:

  1. Construction paper
  2. Scissors 
  3. Pencil 
Find the feather thanksgiving craft and game supplies
First, draw a small, medium, and large feather on each piece of construction paper.

First, draw a small, medium, and large feather on each piece of construction paper.

Then cut out each, fraying the sides like feathers. 

Then cut out each, fraying the sides like feathers. 

Then, write how many points the feather is worth.  The smallest feathers should be assigned the most points as they will be harder to find. 

Then, write how many points the feather is worth.  The smallest feathers should be assigned the most points as they will be harder to find. 


3. Gratitude Bowl

This one is a small gift from Zen Pig! 

Attached are 12 gratitude "cards" and 1 Thanksgiving wildcard (HERE and HERE).  Simply download, cut out, put in a bowl!  Have the players pick one and answer the cue.  If they pull the wildcard they get to choose anything they are grateful for and receive a small treat designated before the game. 

Download. 

Download. 

Cut.

Cut.

Play! 

Play! 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! 

We are so grateful for YOU, your support, as well and your commitment to nurturing gratitude, mindfulness, compassion, and much more in the next generation!  

Really - thank YOU! 

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How to Make Your Zen Pig Oragami Bookmark

How to make Zen Pig Origami Zen Pig Bookmark Arts and Crafts
"I will defend the importance of bedtime stories to my last gasp." -JK ROWLING

I LOVE that Zen Pig fans and families cherish the gift of reading!  So Zen Pig, Amy, and I got together to have a small pow-wow about what we could offer to keep that love for reading burning.  

And we fell in love with this Origami Zen Pig bookmark! Grab your little and make yours in just a few easy steps! 

Zen Pig Origami Bookmark Supplies arts and crafts

What You'll Need:

  1. Pink Construction Paper
  2. Scissors
  3. Black Sharpie, crayon, or colored pencil
  4. Glue Stick
  5. Pink Crayon

Let's Do This! 

Step 1:  Fold construction paper as shown and cut bottom portion to make a square.  Note:  KEEP the bottom piece you just cut off - we'll need that later.

Step 1:  Fold construction paper as shown and cut bottom portion to make a square.  Note:  KEEP the bottom piece you just cut off - we'll need that later.

Step 2. Fold Triangle in half to make a smaller triangle as shown. 

Step 2. Fold Triangle in half to make a smaller triangle as shown. 

Step 3:  Open it up to original triangle with center point down as shown. 

Step 3:  Open it up to original triangle with center point down as shown. 

Step 4:  Fold corners to center point as shown, then open back up to original triangle. 

Step 4:  Fold corners to center point as shown, then open back up to original triangle. 

Step 5: Fold front of paper from center point, up to center of base - as shown. 

Step 5: Fold front of paper from center point, up to center of base - as shown. 

Step 6:  Tuck top flaps into pocket.

Step 6:  Tuck top flaps into pocket.

Step 7:  Draw and color in two triangles and one oval about the size of a date.  These will be Zen Pig's ears and nose. 

Step 7:  Draw and color in two triangles and one oval about the size of a date.  These will be Zen Pig's ears and nose. 

Step 8:  Cut his ears and nose out.  

Step 8:  Cut his ears and nose out.  

Step 9: Use your glue stick to apply ear from the back of Zen Pig's head.  Then stick his nose right in the center. 

Step 9: Use your glue stick to apply ear from the back of Zen Pig's head.  Then stick his nose right in the center. 

Step 10:  Use your black sharpie or crayon to draw in Zen Pig's nostrils and trademark blissful eyes and smile. 

Step 10:  Use your black sharpie or crayon to draw in Zen Pig's nostrils and trademark blissful eyes and smile. 

READ AND ENJOY! 

READ AND ENJOY! 

Want more mindful parenting tips, Zen Pig discounts, and access to exclusive Zen Pig content?  Just introduce yourself to Zen Pig below! 

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What's Up With the Gratitude Cues?

Have you ever been asked, "What do you want to eat?" and the only answer you could conjure up was a blank stare? 

That's not because you're overly picky, or because you're not hungry - it's because you quite literally could have almost anything.  In a split second, you were being asked to choose amongst seemingly infinite choices.  That'll overload anyone's brain.  

There's an inverse relationship between number of choices, and our ability to choose.  The more choices we are presented, the less able we become to choose.  And what question yields more choices than "what are you grateful for?"

Understanding that, Zen Pig didn't want to impose that on children.  He wants to make cultivating the habit of gratitude FUN, creative, and exciting! 

That's why every night at 8PM, he will be offering a different gratitude cue for the next 21 days.  Each night, your child will be presented with new, original Zen Pig art as well as a fill-in-the-blank approach to what to be grateful for.

Just pop over to his Instagram every night, and watch as a grateful heart begins to blossom.

See you tonight!
-Mark Brown 

Want mindful parenting tips, discounts, and Zen Pig exclusives?  Just introduce your self to Zen Pig below and you'll hear from him soon! 

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Children: The Masters of Presence

At first glance, one might think that I am teaching children about mindful values in the picture above.  But in reality, it is the other way around; I am the one being taught by the children.  
They are masters of living in the now. 

Don't look for a monk, look for a child.

Before I had my son Noble, I romanticized the idea of all the things I would teach him.  How to treat others, the power of gratitude, the "magic" of mindfulness, etc.  

But I never would have imagined that it would be him who taught me how to be present.  When it comes to being in the moment, it is he who is the teacher. 

I'll never forget the moment I realized this.  

It was the stereotypical parental situation:  Noble and I had somewhere to be, and yep - we were running behind.  Every single thing we had to do to get out the door was being "hindered" by his fascination with whatever he was currently doing.  

With each passing moment, we were becoming more and more tardy and I was becoming more and more frazzled.  With beads of sweat on my brow and tension in my chest, I looked over at Noble and he was as cool as a cucumber doing his toddler thing.  

Instinctually, he "knew" that getting to that family get-together at 3PM on the dot isn't worth not only losing this moment, but ruining future moments with the slow unwinding from a stressful event.

Everything was ok.  All the stress I was experiencing was self-imposed and THAT is strictly an adult behavior.  Children are too smart for that.   

It's been years since I began my mindful practice, and yet, I still must remind myself to come not only come back to the present moment, but also enjoy it.  Children on the other hand are always living in the moment.  They prioritize that which is happening right now, over that which is happening in the future or the past.  

The next time you're in a hurry, take a breath, and take a lesson from your child...who's probably "decorating" their outfit with magic marker (I know from experience).

Namaste,
-Mark Brown

Want mindful parenting tips, Zen Pig discounts, and other exclusives?  Just introduce yourself to Zen Pig below and you'll be hearing from him soon! 

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Teaching Children Gratitude

Helping children discover and cultivate gratitude continues to be a motivating factor behind everything Zen Pig does.

Gratitude is the difference between a life of perpetual searching and seeking, and a life of resilient happiness and abundance. It is the difference between looking at one's life in appreciation and awe, and looking with contempt and judgement.  

In truth, the power of gratitude cannot be overstated. 
 

What is Gratitude? 
Luckily, there is nothing mystical or metaphysical about gratitude.  In the most simple terms, it's just an awareness and acknowledgement of situations that benefit our well-being.

But most importantly, gratitude is a CHOICE. 

It is a muscle that we must first recognize as having, then choose to exercise so that it may grow stronger.  If we take the time to simply acknowledge that in which we already have, it becomes stronger, and more adept.  Thereby "creating" even more things to be grateful for.  It's an infinite loop that creates more and more abundance.

The sooner we discover and integrate gratitude in our daily lives, the sooner we can awaken to a happier, more resilient life.  

I don't know about you, but when I look back, I see a lot of gaps in happiness, that gratitude could have easily filled.  That's why I want my son Noble, and all children for that matter, to learn this valuable skill as early as possible.  Think of how much suffering, striving, and malcontent we can save them from by simply offering them the simple practice of gratitude.

It's A Muscle.  Got it.  Now How Do I Work It Out?
While gratitude is like a muscle that we must use, it does not require us to drive to the gym to slog through a grueling workout.  It's cool like that.

The only practice gratitude requires  is that we just stop for a moment, it doesn't matter where we are or what we're doing, and just think of what we have going for us. That's it.  

Let's take getting a snack as an example:
Your child walks over to the fridge to grab a snack (and if your household is anything like ours, that's like 60 times a day). 

Ask your child how they got to the fridge?  
Clearly, their legs carried them there with ease. How wonderful that they have that ability. 

Ask your child if there was food in the fridge when they opened it?  
Yes?  That's something that many people of this world cannot say. 

Ask your child how the fridge keeps the food cool, and safe to eat?
 Electricity.  How awesome that they live in a household that can afford such a luxury.

Ask your child if everyone else has electricity?  
No, many countries do not even have the ability to offer electricity to their citizens - how wonderful that they DO live in a country that supports it. 

So what was once a mindless, instinctual task, has become one in which they can walk away with more than a simple yogurt, but a feeling of gratefulness and appreciation

Each moment offers us a tremendous opportunity to awaken to so much that we already have. We want to teach our children that they do not have to live in a constant mindset of lack and striving; right now, in this very moment, they can have everything. 

The more we practice, the better we become.  The better we become, the more we practice.  

I hope that your household swells and fills with grateful hearts.  Namaste friends! 
 

PS.  
If you'd like to get FREE daily gratitude cues like the example listed above, just follow Zen Pig on Instagram!  Starting July 1st, he'll be releasing his first wave of gratitude cues that will extend for 21 consecutive days!  Make it a habit to go grab a Zen Pig gratitude cue right before you tuck your little in each night and watch it become a staple in your child's skill set! 

Want mindful parenting tips, Zen Pig discounts, and other exclusives?  Just introduce yourself to Zen Pig below and you'll be hearing from him soon! 

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