I thought I'd start involving you a bit if you're interested. If you have a vote for the best children's movie (or top 3), send them in and I'll make a list of recommendations for a future issue. Don't forget about the classics! Also, if you have any family rituals or traditions you'd like to share, I thought it could be sweet to have a collection of readers' magical ideas. :)
Meghan is finishing up the web site (yay Meghan!) and it should be up by the time the next newsletter comes out. I can't wait till you see it. She's done a great job!
Okay, enough yapping. ;) Here we go.......
Ideas from Aunt Leslie: Sticker Squares
To teach kids their numbers and how to count, divide a piece of paper into ten squares. Number each, and have kids put the correct number of stickers in each square.
Did WHAT to the mice? Okay, I'm a flake...
All right, call me a bleeding heart but I get creeped out by a lot of the children's songs that my preschooler is singing. Who on earth came up with the notion that a song about 3 disabled mice being maimed by a woman with a butcher knife was either fun or educational? Eek! It's a little odd, don't you think?
So, at the risk of having complete strangers roll their eyes at me, I changed the song and sang it in a much friendlier way with Victoria in Walmart today.
Yes, I sing nursery rhymes with my children in Walmart. :)
Anyway, it turns out that Victoria already knows the song far too well to put up with the line "She cut up their food with a carving knife," no matter how much nicer I say it is. I suggest you change the words earlier if you want your kids to buy it.
Luckily, we did change the words early enough for "Rock-a-bye Baby" so that Victoria has never learned the version where baby falls to a disastrous end. Our version is courtesy of magical mama Jackie:
Rock-a-bye baby, on the treetop
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock.
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall
And mama will catch you, cradle and all.
Much better, don't you think?
I know, I told you I was flaky. You should hear what I do to fairy tales! ;)
Parents of kids of all ages (or without any at all) have to check out the Mad Sci web site. This fabulous resource teaches kids about science in the most delightful ways. Make sure you check out the mad labs and click on the experiments (labeled edible and inedible) that you can do with things you can find in most cupboards. The Random Knowledge Generator is cool as well, plus you can ask questions of the madsci scientists.
Today the girls and I went shopping to kill some time while our van got some upkeep. I ended up in the crafts section with the most wonderful goodies for decorating!
For less than a dollar, there are stencils of the neatest little things. Paint costs just a couple of bucks and you can use an old paintbrush or a sponge to apply it. My mind has been racing with ideas on how to use the stencils.
We got two sets of stencils and one page of transfer images (you rub them onto objects and they look painted on). One set of stencils is a garden theme with butterflies, lopsided hearts and other goofy but charming images. The other is mainly words, such as dream, believe, love and hope. The transfer images are all different pastel dragonflies.
I'm planning on stenciling these words and images in surprising little places. I love the idea of opening the bathroom cupboard and seeing a dragonfly on the corner inside, or hiding a few words like believe and magic at child level as you go up the stairs. I'm even planning on putting a few little whimsical pictures in the grown up spaces, because moms and dads need a little whimsy sometimes too!
And if you don't own your own house, don't you dare get all grumpy about it! There are plenty of places you can stencil without a landlord's wrath. Get fabric paints and stamp a few on curtains or even furniture. You can also use clear or white contact paper to put your images on, then paste up that little piece over the wall so that it looks like it's on the wall. Be creative and give yourself permission to be silly!
Daddy game: Animal twister
Daryl wanted me to share a neat game that he and Victoria made up. He put some pages on the floor with a different picture of an animal on each (you can use anything though-- colors of construction paper, pictures from coloring books, etc.). Then he called out different animals to Victoria and she had to step on them as he called them out. It's a bit like "Twister," except you don't have to mess with left hands and right feet or any of that. They both were brimming with giggles the first minute in, and it's also a great way to teach animals, letters, numbers or other concepts.
10 More ways to make today special!
1. Put birthday candles in each child's dinner tonight. I don't care if it's meat loaf and 9 months from their birthdays, kids just love blowing out candles and feeling special. :)
2. Show him his baby book. Talk about all the milestones in it and how you felt as he went through them.
3. Say you're sorry and mean it. We all screw up on a daily basis. Today, seize an opportunity to get down on your children's level and really apologize the next time you yell or do something wrong. Make an effort from now on to put yourself in their shoes more and remember to treat them the way you want them to treat others. All the dragonflies in the world won't make up for it otherwise!
4. Take her someplace beautiful. Is there a hill outside of the city where you can park and watch the lights below? A Japanese garden with peaceful spots to relax? Find someplace beautiful and just sit and talk. Bring a treat like a bag of fresh chocolate chip cookies or old fashioned root beer in bottles, and just unwind together.
5. Get some chalk and play hopscotch.
6. If your kids believe in Santa, have them write letters to him now instead of just when they want something. Point out how lonely Santa must be the other 11 months of the year!
7. Submit their writing. Pick up an issue of a magazine like Family Fun or Highlights and see what the guidelines are for kids' projects or poetry. Spend an afternoon writing up some entries and mail them off. No matter what it's great experience, and they may get published!
8. Have a jam session. Gather up instruments and make your own by filling tins with pennies and getting pots to bang on. Find as many different types as you can, and then sit everybody down on the floor. Have someone start with a back beat and then one by one join in. We started a retreat with this when I was on the board of a state organization, and it was a hoot even for a room full of us old folks. ;) Be as loud a you want!
9. Blow bubbles outside. If you can, make a giant wand out of a bent coat hanger and pour bubble liquid in a pie pan to dip. See who can make the biggest and the most!
10. Star in a play! Help the kids and their friends put on a play. You can find some at the library, act out a scene from a book, or do a search online. Find great costumes and make props and backdrops.
This week, take time every day to do something for yourself. Take a bubble bath after the kids are asleep. Take a 5 minute break at work and savor some fantastic chocolate. Treat yourself to a new pair of earrings. Ask your partner for a neck rub (and give one back!). Read a story that always makes you smile. Call a friend. Remember that you can't give to others when you're empty. Martyrs are not magical. ;)
Now I have to get packing. Thanks for being the fantastic parents, teachers and mentors that you are. Go kiss your kiddies!
Till next time......
A Magical Childhood
Copyright 2001, Alicia Bayer
A Magical Childhood Newsletter is just something I throw together because I love children and love good moms. To subscribe, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. We do not use ads. It's not about money. :)
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