Magical Childhood Newsletter
Volume 24
November 17, 2001

Hi folks!  I'm compiling lots of holiday stuff for this newsletter and wanted to start getting these ideas out to you.  There are so many fantastic things to do with the kids at this time of year!  I hope you'll like some of the crafts or projects.

Daryl put up the new edition of the Magical Childhood web site.  We're working on making that bigger and better, with more crafts and articles coming soon.  He's done a great job with it!

I hope you're enjoying the last of this great weather before winter hits, for those of you on this side of the world.  For those of you with summer right now, I'm totally jealous.  <G>

Now on to all the stuff I gathered up for you..........

Heads up!  (literally....)

Tonight is a once in century night for stargazing if you're willing to be up in the wee hours.  The Leonid meteor showers should peak in the US at around 4 a.m. with thousands per hour.  It's not supposed to be this good again till around 2090 so if you're not too busy.....  :)

Here's an article from CNN about the show:

And here's an in-depth site that includes info on what time you can see the most meteors depending on where you are in the world:

Have fun!

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 Great Gifts!

I love this idea, courtesy of the Dollar Stretcher newsletter.  A mom wrote in and said that she had kids trace their hands onto colorful craft foam.  Then she cut the shapes out and put some essential oils onto the shapes, punched a hole in the top, threaded ribbon around, and made sentimental air fresheners for loved ones' cars.  How sweet!

(You can check out the Dollar Stretcher web site at and I highly recommend them for lots of frugal ideas.... come to think of it, they may still have an article of mine about inexpensive tree decorations-- other than that, I have no affiliation).  <G>


Beaded Ornaments....

Here's a fun craft that is great for toddler and preschool motor skills but is neat for all ages.  Gather up some pony beads and pipe cleaners and make ornaments.  Two standard ones are candy canes and wreaths.

For the candy canes, use red and white beads.  Cut pipe cleaner in half.  Twist the end of the pipe cleaner to keep beads from slipping off and then alternate slipping red and white beads onto it.  When finished, turn under the other end to keep them in place and bend it into a cane shape.  Loop ribbon around to hang.

For wreaths, use green beads or coordinate it to your tree with silver, white or even tiny wooden ones.  When finished, twist into a circle and hang.

Kids can also experiment with making snowflakes, crosses, stars or more elaborate patterns.  What a great way to spend a dreary day inside!

Recycled Ornaments

If you have any chipped, discolored, old or just plain tacky ornaments, let the kids recycle them by gluing strips of tissue paper, dried flower petals, yarn, or other materials to them.  This is a great project for those ornaments that are covered with silky thread that always unravel and end up in the trash!  You could also give the kids some tiny pasta shapes and glue and let them make patterns on them.  When finished, spray paint gold or hand paint with different colors.

Holiday Cards......

Why not try making cards with your kids this year for a special souvenir?  Here are some ideas....

~ Buy a discounted box of cards with envelopes for any occasion and some sturdy paper in a coordinating color.  Cut the paper into rectangles to fix over the outside and inside printed parts (fancy scissors can make a neat edge for this).  Have the kids paint or color a design for each front and help them glue it on.  For the inside, write your holiday message and have everybody sign their names or stamp their hand prints.  You could also print this part out on your computer to make it easier.  Decorate with stars, glitter, etc.

~ Find some blank card-sized envelopes at a thrift store and cut sturdy paper to fit.  Use sponges or cut potatoes to make holiday stampers and let the kids decorate the outside.  Inside, write a personalized message from your family.

~ Take a holiday picture of your family and use that as the front of your card.

~ Use your children's artwork as the stationery for holiday letters.

~ Cut a piece of card stock to just fit inside a large envelope.  Punch holes at equal distances all the way around the outside and let kids sew ribbon in and out and tie it into a bow on top.  Use a gold pen to write a pretty holiday message from your family and let kids glue tiny foil stars all around.  To get younger kids involved, use stickers.

Something fishy going on.....

For a fun bit of whimsy for the holidays, decorate your fish tank with non-toxic, waterproof toys.  Put in gravel to coordinate with your holiday colors and add miniature plastic pine trees instead of the normal fake plants.  Look for tiny Santas, reindeer, ornaments, etc.  Put garland on top.  Let kids use their imaginations.


I found this great site while cruising the net.  The author has sections on all different themes, with ideas that help with cognitive development, small and gross motor skills and more-- all in fun ways.   There are also all sorts of arts and crafts, songs and holiday activities.  I can't wait to spend a few hours exploring it.  :)


Handmade gifts-- Notepads!

Here's a darling gift your kids can make that will let them use all of their artistic talents and costs almost nothing.

You'll need:

Sturdy cardboard (for the backs)
Scrap paper
PVA glue (available where modeling, wood and craft supplies are sold)

1.  Decide on a size and cut your cardboard.  Use this as a template to cut your paper sheets.  A paper cutter will make this go much quicker!
2.  Decorate your pages, if desired (see below).
3.  Put a piece of cardboard on the bottom and top with your stack of papers.  Knock them against the table to get them completely in line, then lie them flat and press them with a heavy object, leaving the top edge uncovered.
4.  Paint the top edge with PVA glue, making sure all pages get covered.  Let dry.
5.  Optional-- Paint a thin coat of school glue over the PVA and dust with glitter.
6.  Decorate your top sheet with a personal letter to the recipient, art, stickers, etc.

Page ideas-- To make the pages unique, let kids stamp hand prints in thinned, light colored paint onto each page before binding.  They can also decorate the pages with borders of stickers, crayon drawings, paint, etc.  Another idea is to use your millions of pages of kids' art for the pages (dark or bright pages could be the back sides or pages with white areas could be colorful fronts).  You can alternate colors and types of pages, too.

To take this idea a step further, have your child pick a random number of pages and write something special for the recipient on them (coupons for time together, things they love about grandpa, you name it).  Mix these pages in before binding for a fun surprise as the gift gets used!


If you celebrate Christmas, here's a mind-boggling amount of information on topics like childproofing your tree, decorating houseplants, making fun ornaments, making an Australian or Polish Christmas feast, celebrating in absolutely any culture, help a family in need, get in the holiday spirit, you name it!


Don't forget, every single day, to take the time to make the day mean something.  We only have so many days to enjoy this magical planet and these beautiful kids.  For goodness sakes, don't waste them.  Look at the stars.  Dance with your sweetie in the driveway.  Smell everything.  Feel everything.  Savor life or you'll miss it accidentally.


"Few parents nowadays pay any regard to what their children say to them.
  The old-fashioned respect for the young is fast dying out."

                                   - Oscar Wilde


Designer Crayon Cloth

Drawing Board
1/2 Cup Vinegar
1 Cup Water
3 Tablespoons Salt
1 Quart Water
Pressing Cloth

Make sure that all of the sizing is removed from the fabric by washing it first. Stretch the fabric out on the shirt board and thumbtack securely in place. Color in your design with crayons. The heavier the application of crayons the deeper the color will be. When finished place the design face down on several sheets of newspaper. Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1 cup water. Dip a pressing cloth into the vinegar mixture and squeeze out most of the  liquid. Place the pressing cloth over the designed cloth and press with a hot iron. Mix 3 tablespoons salt and 1 quart of water. Soak the cloth in this solution for 3 to 4 hours.

Gently wash in lukewarm water using a mild soap.

After the cloth has dried, the design will become permanent. You can launder from now on in warm water and mild soap.

(This is a craft idea I had saved in an e-mail and I don't know the original source.  If you do, please let me know.  I had to share it though, since it's such a neat idea for presents from the little ones!)


"Except in rare times of great stress or danger, there is no reason why we cannot say 'No' to children in just as kind a way as we say 'Yes'. Both are words. Both convey ideas which even tiny children are smart enough to grasp. One says, 'We don't do it that way', the other says 'That's the way we do it'. Most of the time, that is what children want to find out. Except when overcome by fatigue, curiosity, or excitement, they want to do it right, do as we do, fit in, take part."

                                    - John Holt


Now Daddy just sent a letter via our mail girl asking if I'd like to go out to dinner, so I have to go get pretty.  ;)  Have a fantastic week and a Happy Thanksgiving for those who celebrate it.

Don't forget to take care of you!



A Magical Childhood
Copyright 2001, Alicia Bayer

A Magical Childhood Newsletter is just something I throw together because I love children and those who love them.  To subscribe, send a message to  We do not use ads.  It's not about money.  :)

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