2 Days to stock up on your BEAN faves!

Stock up on Beans! For 2 days only, shop Cici Bean/Discontinued FUNdamentals at 50% off, & 40% off Peekaboo Bean styles. Don't forget that Spring is around the corner & Endless Summer styles are now 75% off!

Find your local Play Stylist » PB Play Stylist
Shop On-Vine » www.peekaboobeans.com

Happy Boxing Day Shopping!

Holiday Weekend Crafternoon

The official Christmas count down is on for our Beans! If your little ones at home have been counting down the "sleeps" until Santa arrives then I'm sure you know how much excitement there is in the air as each sleep passes. In order to get through the countdown until Christmas Day finally arrives, we have compiled our favourite holiday crafts that you and your Beans can create for some playful moments while the anticipation lingers. Happy Weekend Crafternoon! 

Visit our Christmas Fun Pinterest Board HERE for all the instructions and other playful activity ideas!

Making time.

18 things everyone should start making time for again.
Originally posted by Briana Wiest from Thought Catalog

1. Writing things by hand. Letters to friends, lists for the store, goals for the week, notes for lovers, thank you cards and memos to coworkers. Digital communication is easy and convenient but ask anybody: there’s a huge difference between texting someone to say that you love them and hope they have a great day and writing it on a note and leaving it next to their bed.

2. Savoring time to do nothing. Taking a cue from pre-industrialized society and cultures that enjoy siestas and long, drawn-out, sit-down teas that serve no other purpose than to spend time enjoying the time you have.

3. Thinking before responding. We’ve become too conditioned to require things immediately. Someone asks a question, and we have to respond that second. Such was not the case before instant messaging and comment threads. A sign of true intelligence and confidence, I think, is someone who takes time to consider the question at hand in a little more depth, and then offers a response.

4. Cooking a nice meal just for the sake of doing so. It really trains you to defy your need for instant gratification and of course puts you in touch with something that’s very human and can be lovely if done right.

5. Getting really dressed up for no other reason than just wanting to.

6. Books. Actual hard copy books that you can scribble notes in and mark off sections of and smell ink through and hear the sound of turning pages and bending spines while you read.

7. Making phone calls to relatives for no other reason than to just say hi, and to ask how they’re doing.

8. Disconnecting from technology frequently enough that we won’t be anxious and feeling like we’re missing something when we try to do so for an extended period of time.

9. Celebrating things with long, multiple course dinners that we hold for people as opposed to just drinking ourselves into an oblivion and being belligerent (that has it’s time and place, of course, but having thoughtful, celebratory dinners is a dying art).

10. Cleaning because it’s satisfying and doing things like painting walls or getting fresh flowers just because it’s therapeutic.

11. Spending time with kids, and doing kid things with them. They just know what’s up.

12. Answering things in a timely fashion, not putting off invitations and requests just because we can.

13. Making sure relationships are actually based on time spent with one another. People seem to be sustaining them through only digital means with increasing frequency and I can understand how that’s important if it’s temporarily long distance but in general, physically being with people is the only thing that will give you that sense of human connectedness.

14. Just sitting and listening to music. We’ve made music background noise in our everyday lives, but now and again we should just sit and enjoy it like people used to.

15. Traveling by train, or if that’s not possible, at least exploring places that you pass everyday. Especially if you live in a big city, there are always little hidden gems around that you won’t believe you lived without seeing while they were a block away from you all along.

16. Putting personal health and well-being first, as it often falls to the wayside in importance. This means, aside from the obvious, taking those personal days and using them to just relax. We’ve made such a quirky commodity out of enjoying napping and relaxing, as though doing so makes us boring and old. It doesn’t, it’s healthy.

17. Planning something, especially with someone else, as simple as dinner or as grandiose as a long vacation next year. You always need something to look forward to.

18. Stopping to talk to people throughout the day. Connecting with them genuinely, as such interaction is really important but is becoming increasingly less common. Turning our phones off when out to dinner (who even turns them off anymore?) and learning to not spend all of our time documenting whatever we’re doing for social media. It often takes away from the experience itself.

So whatcha waiting for... go and enjoy LIFE!  

hugs n kisses, the PB Playground. 

Spreading happiness in Kabul.

Peekaboo Beans is taking a stand for play.  Here and around the world.  As we shower our Beans, friends and family with love and play over the holidays, know that your contribution to Playground Builders has given that love to other families and Beans, despite their circumstances.  Our impact is powerful.  If you didn't know, a large number of our Play Stylists have decided to regularly donate a portion of their monthly commissions to Playground Builders and their small but important contributions go an extremely long way. Peekaboo Bean is a stand for PLAY, for children near and far. Every little bit helps bring smiles to much deserved faces. 

Below is a heartfelt letter from Playground Builders coordinator in Kabul who provides insight from Afghanistan and the impact of the work that Playground Builders is completing. For security reasons the coordinator is best left nameless, please read on... 

(Why is there cruelty) from everywhere to Afghanistan, why? We are also human, we also have hearts, we also have feelings, and we also have rights. We wish peace, we want happiness, we want stability, we want to have freedom, we want to be friendly with friends. We want to welcome our guests and be so hospitable for them - this is our culture and this is our Islam. But why do people not let us be so and to do so?

"We cannot live freely, we cannot wander freely, we cannot love, we cannot want something, and we cannot wish something. Why? Our children cannot go to schools freely, no one is (sure) that their children, their father, their mother, their brothers, their sisters and their others will come back from their schools from their work or from market alive or safely.

There is a (scarcity)... there is instability, there is no satisfaction, and there is no freedom. There is always (fear) of explosion, kidnapping, killing, bombardment and harassments. Why? We are human. We need freedom, we need love, we want friendship, and we want to live. Our children want to be happy, be free, be healthy, and be normal.

I am thankful to the world community, but they are also not so honest to the people of Afghanistan. They all are playing just games. But I am so proud and thankful to Canadians and Indians. They always have been honest to Afghanistan. They always help us without any their own interest. For example, Playground Builders of Canada always spread the happiness among the children and people of Afghanistan. The people and communities always thank these humanitarian efforts. We accept that world community has helped us a lot, but... with force and by military actions, which killed thousands and thousands and at the result is still no peace, no stability and no women empowerment and no children's happiness. But with the special projects of Playground Builders of Canada, they have spread much, much happiness among the children and among the people.

Why I am writing this email with so (much passion)? Because last week when we were smoothening the ground for the football ground at school...the (parent) committee came to the school and thanked me a lot. To be honest, the Mulla Imam wept and thanked me a lot (because) we are the only people who are going to bring happiness to the children, to the girls and to the people. I also became so impressed. These are the feelings of our Mulla.

There is no terrorism in our Islam, there is no terrorism in our culture, there is no terrorisms in the people of Afghanistan. Taliban are not Muslims. They kill us too, they kill our children, they prevent us from happiness, they prevent us from living and they prevent us from work."


From the Playground Builders Winter 2013 Newsletter

Happy Holidays From Playground Builders!
Playground Builders wishes our friends and supporters all the wonder and magic the holiday season can bring. And, for Playground Builders, the magic has already begun!

Anonymous donors pledged to match all donations made from now until Dec 31st, 2013, up to $50,000. If you donate now, every dollar donated to Playground Builders becomes two.

2013 is Playground Builders' Best Year Yet.
Playground Builders averages approximately 20 playgrounds per year. In this, our best year yet, we are on track to complete 35! To date, Playground Builders has finished 145 projects in some of the world's toughest areas. These are areas that have collapsed under decades of war and are politically and economically devastated with a bleak outlook for the future. Playgrounds can be a flicker of hope in these dark places. We calculate that each and every day, over 300,000 children living in conflict now have access to safe play areas.

Until Dec. 31st, Every Donation is Matched!
Every dollar pledged over this holiday season will be matched, up to $50,000! As you plan your holiday giving this year, consider giving to Playground Builders, and you'll give twice as much. We have play projects approved and waiting for funds.

Donate to Playground Builders today! Visit our donation page Or, email us anytime at info@playgroundbuilders.org
About Playground Builders
Playground Builders is a registered Canadian charity #852810019RR0001 that relies on donations from corporations, individuals, corporate and family foundations and community groups. The majority of our minimal administrative costs are covered by individuals so that most every dollar donated goes directly to building a playground. The cost of a complete playground ranges depending on size and location from $5,000 to $12,000.

Dirty feet are the happiest!

Originally posted in the Georgia Straight on November 5, 2013

FOR MUCH OF human history we lived close to the natural world. As civilization evolved we became increasingly urbanized, and most of us now live in cities. As we’ve moved away from nature, we’ve seen a decline in other forms of life. Biodiversity is disappearing. The current rate of loss is perhaps as high as 10,000 times the natural rate. The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s 2008 Red List of Threatened Species shows 16,928 plant and animal species are threatened with extinction. This includes a quarter of all mammal species, a third of amphibian species and an eighth of bird species. And that’s only among those we know about; scientists say we may have identified just 10 to 15 percent of existing species.

It can be a challenge to communicate why this loss is important. We know species diversity is critical to the healthy functioning of ecosystems that provide services on which humans depend. But could we live with fewer? Some would argue we could do without mosquitoes and other annoying critters. We could keep the ones we want and those that are useful to us. Do we need biodiversity to keep humans healthy?
According to an article in Conservation magazine, there is a link between biodiversity and human health. Ilkka Hanski and his colleagues at the University of Helsinki compared allergies of adolescents living in houses surrounded by biodiverse natural areas to those living in landscapes of lawns and concrete. They found people surrounded by a greater diversity of life were themselves covered with a wider range of different kinds of microbes than those in less diverse surroundings. They were also less likely to exhibit allergies.

What’s going on? Discussion of the relationship between biodiversity and human health is not new. Many have theorized that our disconnection from nature is leading to a myriad of ailments. Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, says people who spend too little time outdoors experience a range of behavioural problems, which he calls “nature deficit disorder”. It fits with theories of modern ecology, which show systems lacking in biodiversity are less resilient, whether they’re forests or microbial communities in our stomachs or on our skin. Less resilient systems are more subject to invasion by pathogens or invasive species.

Hanski studied a region in Finland where few people move far. He randomly selected 118 adolescents in an equal number of homes. Some were in the city and others in woods or on farms. The team collected skin swabs from subjects and then measured the biodiversity of plants around each house. Their data revealed a clear pattern: higher native-plant diversity appeared to be associated with altered microbial composition on the participants’ skin, which led in turn to lower risk of allergies.

Hanski and his colleagues found that one group of microbes, gammaproteobacteria, appears to be associated both with plant diversity and allergies. And it didn’t matter whether they considered allergies to cats, dogs, horses, birch pollen or timothy grass. People with more diverse kinds of gammaproteobacteria on their bodies were less likely to have allergies.

The immune system’s primary role is to distinguish deadly species from beneficial and beneficial from simply innocent. To work effectively, our immune system needs to be “primed” by exposure to a diverse range of organisms at an early age. In this way it learns to distinguish between good, bad and harmless. If not exposed to a wide array of species, it may mistakenly see a harmless pollen grain as something dangerous and trigger an allergic reaction. We also know that bacteria and fungi compete. Fungi are often associated with allergies, and it could be that high diversity of bacteria keeps the fungi in check.

A conclusive explanation for Hanski’s observations is not yet available. More research is needed. But we know we evolved in a world full of diverse species and now inhabit one where human activity is altering and destroying an increasing number of plants, animals and habitats. We need to support conservation of natural areas and the diverse forms of life they contain, plant a variety of species in our yards, avoid antibacterial cleaning products and go outside in nature and get dirty—especially kids. Our lives and immune systems will be richer for it.

With contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Science and Policy Director Mara Kerry. Learn more at www.davidsuzuki.org.

Need to get dirty and have some outdoor playtime? 
Visit one of our weekly Pop Up Playdates hosted by Peekaboo Beans Play Patrol. 
Click HERE for all the details and dates of our upcoming playdates.