Frances England is a “kindie” musician from San Francisco, CA who blends folk and indie sounds to create music the whole family can enjoy. England has been a Gilmore family favorite for years, and we’re really excited for her latest album to drop April 1 — Explorer of the World.
The songs inspire families to explore, whether it’s their own cities or the great big world. It’s a reminder of all the unexpected adventures that can happen when you keep your head up (not down looking at your iPhone) and let your own curiosity lead the way.
“The album was inspired by me really wanting to rediscover the slow, quiet art of looking around,” England tells Playground.
“I used to spend a lot of time looking at things, but had noticed that I had filled in so many of those moments by checking email, texting, Instagram, etc. I also noticed how savvy kids are (my own included) with electronic devices and how addictive it seems to be for so many of us,” says England.
I’m guilty as charged, especially when I’m on vacation. I want to take as many photos as possible to capture the moment. Granted, I write about travel, but I often don’t truly connect. We all need a reminder to look up, look out, and be present.
With Explorer of the World, England says she wants, “to encourage families to spend a lot more time looking around and not try to cram every moment with content. To just observe instead.” And, we’ll add, to enjoy some great music.
The CD also comes with an Art & Observation Activity Book, which offers ideas and hands-on activities to explore your world. England has shared the pages for Playground readers to download! Click here and here and start planning your next family adventure!
England offers these tips for exploring the world (near and far) with your family:
- Go on a Scavenger Hunt for Something Specific. Have each family member pick an object they’d like to explore in the world – shapes, color, doorbells, mailboxes, neighborhood pets, trees. Take a walk or bike ride and make it your mission to find as many as you can. Document your finds with photos, sketches, hiakus, or journaling.
- Take a walk with your family and make a map of your neighborhood. Have everyone in your family spend 20-60 minutes walking around your neighborhood. Take notes with words or sketches of everything that catches you eye. Go home and draw you version of your neighborhood map. Compare your map to your family members’ maps and talk about the way you see things in similar and different ways.
- Schedule A Family Exploration Plan. Often, many of us get so busy with the day to day that we forget to schedule in the things we are most curious about. Have a family meeting and let each family member pick a place they’d really like to investigate this year (a museum, a waterpark, a train station, camping, hiking in the mountains, etc…you set the boundaries on what’s realistic for your family). Pick a date. Make It Happen.
Explorer of the World, Frances’ fifth album for children and families, is set for release on April 1, and can be pre-ordered here.