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  • Rebecca P. Cohen

10 Ways to Be Thankful Right Now

Finally, the days are getting a bit longer. Perhaps I’ve gotten over the hump of the darkest mornings and early evenings when I am always yearning for light. I started reflecting on other bits of gratitude I can notice with the leaves off the trees to shift my mood when I need it most. I hope this list helps you too.

  1. Watch the sunrise. Every day it is different. Some days you may not see it at all. Notice when daylight awakes and savor the moment of quiet.

  2. See farther on a path. When there aren’t leaves and brush in the way, you can notice the subtle changes in the topography around you.

  3. Notice a new color palette. The colors around you may not seem vibrant, especially on a grey day. Look closer. You may notice bright green moss or a host of oranges or greens or grey.

  4. Use all of your senses. Close your eyes; what do you hear? Touch the bark of a tree. Zoom in on the branches around you and see buds already forming.

  5. Feed the birds. Put a bird feeder in view from your favorite window. Watch an entire world come alive and help the birds out on the coldest of days.

  6. Look for animal tracks or signs of animals. Tracks and scat can help you guess what may live nearby.

  7. Count nests in the trees. You can do this just about anywhere, and is a great activity for kids when they are in the car or are bored to redirect them.

  8. Play with shadows. This favorite activity can be done any time of year. Trace your shadows with chalk or just move and make fun figures.

  9. Watch the sunset. Give thanks for the day by pausing to notice the gradual shift of the sun and sky.

  10. Look for stars. Notice the first star you see and make a wish. Linger to notice more stars or get out flashlights or battery-operated glowsticks and play tag.

Winter is also a fun time to dream about what you want your landscape to look like. Visiting a favorite garden in winter can give you ideas for what to plant in spring. Check out my free downloads page for one-page guides on Landscape Design, Outdoor Classroom Design, 50 Outdoor Activities, Bloom Calendar, and Growing Vegetables for more ideas. Note: when prompted, password is INSPIRATION in all caps.

To turn moments into quality time in between your busy schedule, Rebecca Plants Curiosity Cards for iPhone or Android are 50 open-ended questions to ignite conversation and learn about one another. Designed for families and classrooms, their portable nature allows you to spark creativity and connection together anywhere, anytime.

Wishing you memorable moments outside every day,


About Rebecca P. Cohen

Rebecca P. Cohen believes time outside transforms our lives for the better. Rebecca has worked with over 6,000 children around the world helping them make outdoor connections for a healthier life.

Rebecca is author of 15 Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids, the children's series PJ's Backyard Adventures, and creator of Rebecca Plants Curiosity Cards available for iPhone and on Google Play. She is also host of the video series, Get Out of the House, which shows fun ideas for time outside in every season. For Rebecca's inspiring blog and free downloads, visit

Book Trailers

Fifteen Minutes Outside, PJ’s Backyard Adventures

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