Magical Childhood Newsletter
Volume 37
April 17, 2002

Happy Spring!  Welcome to the garden issue!

Apologies to those of you in South Africa and other parts heading into autumn, but I'm obsessed with all things green this month.  :)

And now, without further ado, oodles of stuff to do with your little ones......

From magical mama Laura:

Place a wet paper towel in a clear glass and add 2 bush bean seeds. (Pole beans will work too but they get leggy faster and are harder to transplant). Keep the towel wet and watch the beans grow.  The kids can see the new growth and the root growth.  When the plants get sturdy you can transplant them.  Remember to mark them with the child's name so that when you pick them for dinner the child knows he/she has grown part of dinner.

For Tamara's Easter party at daycare, instead of sending in the requested bag of candy to go in the Easter eggs for their hunt, I sent beans in .  I actually wrote instructions, rolled and taped the side and bottom, Tamara and John added 2 beans, and I taped the top of the roll. I sent foamy shapes in for John's class.  (They got bored putting 2 beans in the rolls and played with tape and scissors instead.)

Some fun seed ideas:

From magical mama Brenda:

My VERY favorite gardening book is Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots : Gardening Together With Children.  We did the "Garden of the giants" last summer & it was a blast. It gives awesome gardening ideas for everyone from people with a lot of land to people who only have a window box!!!! #1 on my list.

And from magical mama Erica:

I found this beautiful book at the library I thought you might be interested in. It's called "Sunflower Houses: Garden Discoveries for Children of All Ages" by Sharon Lovejoy. It is full of magical ideas! My favorite is the Sunflower House, which is a full size playhouse made with sunflowers and morning glories.

The always fabulous Meghan passed these garden songs on.....

Little Flowers

One little flower had nothing much to do
Up popped another one, then there were two.

Two little flowers were smiling at a bee.
Up popped another one, and then there were three.

Three little flowers were growing by the door.
Up popped another one, and then there were four.

Four little flowers were glad to be alive,
Up popped another one, and then there were five.

Five little flowers were happy as can be
They danced in the wind so wild and free.

Spring Babies
(tune: Twinkle, Twinkle)

Baby bunny in your hutch
How I like you very much
With furry coat and ears that flop,
And a little hop, hop, hop

Baby bunny in your hutch
How I like you very much.
Baby duck with feathers yellow
You're a very happy fellow

Quacking here and quacking there
Quacking, quacking everywhere,
Baby duck with feathers yellow
You're a very happy fellow.

Baby chick pecks on the ground,
"Peep, peep, peep", that's his (her) sound
Pecking here and pecking there
Cheeping, cheeping everywhere

Baby chick pecks on the ground
"Peep, peep, peep", that's his (her) sound.

Spring Bunny
(tune: "One Elephant Went Out to Play")

One little bunny went out to play
In the garden one sunny day
He played so hard he needed some lunch
So he ate a carrot with a "crunch, crunch, crunch".

The second little bunny went out to play
In the garden one sunny day
She played so hard she needed some lunch
So she ate a carrot with a "crunch, crunch, crunch".

The third little bunny just wanted to play
In the garden one sunny day.
There were no carrots left in the garden to crunch
So she hopped away home to have some lunch.

Ten little flowers
(Tune : ten little indians)

One little, two little, three little flower seeds
Four little, five little, six little flower seeds
Seven little, eight little, nine little flower seeds,
Ten little flower seeds in the ground.

 . . . little flower sprouts
. . . Ten little flower sprouts coming up
. . . little flower buds
 . . . Little flower buds opening up



1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup flour
1-tsp. vanilla or lemon extract
5 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup assorted washed edible flower petals, small pieces

Cream the butter. Sift flour and add gradually to butter. Beat the egg yolks until thick and lemon
colored, add sugar gradually. Combine mixtures. Beat egg whites until stiff and add to mixture. Sift baking powder over mixture, beat thoroughly. Fold in fresh flower pieces. Turn into a buttered deep cake pan and bake 1 hour at 350 degrees F.

Note:  Be sure to use edible flowers grown without pesticides!  Check here to learn all about edible blooms:

Thanks to Flower-Recipe egroup for this recipe

Want to try Three Sisters Gardening?

Want to combine science, Native American history and more in a fun way with your kiddos?
This wonderful site has lesson plans for teachers focusing on the anthropological, biological and other aspects of companion planting and the history of its use for different Native American tribes.  It has great links to all types of sites too.

Here's a quote from the site:

"In late spring, we plant the corn and beans and squash.  They're not just plants- we call them the three sisters. We plant them together, three kinds of seeds in one hole. They want to be together with each other, just as we Indians want to be together with each other. So long as the three sisters are with us we know we will never starve. The Creator sends them to us each year. We celebrate them now. We thank Him for the gift He gives us today and every day."

Chief Louis, Farmer (Onondaga)

Have fun with supper a few nights in a row and save the seeds from your tomatoes, peppers, oranges, whatever.  Wash them and set them aside till the next day and let the kids each plant a few of each in egg carton sections, plastic baggies, dixie cups, whatever.  Give them some soil and water, plant them to about twice their size, cover with plastic wrap and watch.  Once the plants come up, start some experiments.  Keep them in different windows and a dark closet.  Give them water, salt water and cooled veggie water from cooking supper and see how they react.  See how they like it outside, in the fridge, etc.  To save time, you could dig up small weeds from outside and do the same experiments.

Here's an easy plant to grow with the kids for lots of magical rewards...

Try mint!  The girls and I love to pluck leaves and steep them in hot water for homemade mint tea (we add a little honey).  They chomp on it raw and we use it in our baths too.  A good way to use herbs in the bath is to tie them into the foot of an old nylon, by the way.

Mint is impossible to kill and comes in many flavors like pineapple, lime and even chocolate mint.  One caution-- it likes to spread, so don't put it near other plants that it may take over!  Lots of people keep it in pots to it minds its manners.  You can buy small plants at any garden center for a buck or two.  They'll grow quickly, and since they're perennial they'll come back and multiply year after year.

Have a food adventure with the kids and find something to eat from every part of a plant-- seeds, flowers, fruits, roots, leaves and stems.

Another fun experiment is to put a stalk of celery with leaves attached in a cup of colored water.  Watch it move up the stem into the leaves!

To learn how seeds travel, have the kids put on socks and walk all around the yard or park.  When they get back, examine the bottoms to see what seeds they've picked up.  Talk about other ways seeds travel.  A wonderful book about this is The Tiny Seed By Eric Carle.

Go on a walk around your neighborhood or park and look for all different ways plants have to protect themselves.  Some have thorns and some are poisonous, for instance.  Have the kids award a grand prize to the plant they think does the best job in their neighborhood of staying safe.

Talk about what nutrients plants need to thrive and involve the kids in taking care of them.  My girls love to plant veggie peels and scraps right into the soil to give the nutrients back to the earth.  We've talked a lot about how every living thing needs nutrients and the differences between what we need and what plants need.  Victoria especially loves feeling that she's making the plants happy by giving them treats.

Soak a large, dried bean in water until it's soft and the skin comes off.  Let the kids open it to see the tiny plant inside.

Sunflowers are the ideal kid-friendly plant.  Not only are they easy to grow, but they get huge, they grow quickly, they feed the birds (and us!), and they teach lots of neat science by doing things like turning to face the sun.

Also check out the Magical Childhood site for articles about how to bring nature indoors and such.  Included are ideas on growing pots of grass, forcing lilacs, etc.

I love this site! The plant exchange is a forum where people all over the country (and sometimes world) can swap plants, seeds and more for free.  Post something you have to trade or something you're looking for.  Some generous folks will send you goodies from their garden for free, especially for parents and teachers.  Even so, I'd have the kids come up with something to send in return to teach a good lesson.  :)  This is a truly wonderful resource.  One year I swapped rooted rose cuttings, mint and a few other extras for dozens of irises in all different colors.  Many people offer extra seeds for just postage.

The Kidsgardening site is absolutely filled with great ideas.  I love the family section!

 10 Ways to Make Today Magical, Garden Style.....

1.  Have the kids use permanent paint or markers (nontoxic) to write plant names on rocks or popsicle sticks to use as plant markers.  For added fun, have them make up a few silly ones that say things like "Albert the bug," "popsicle stick," "Jess was here," "Smile!" etc.

2.  Encourage the kids to have plant swaps with their friends.  Help them carefully dig up a plant from somewhere in your yard or house and swap it from one from theirs.  Even weeds can be sentimental to little ones.  Give it a place of honor in its new home.

3.  Pick some leaves or flower petals and press them between two sheets of clear contact paper.  Cut out, punch a hole, and hang as a sun catcher.

4.  Make flower petal soups, mud pies, grass sundaes and other culinary backyard treats.  Save old spice containers to fill with dirt for seasoning.

5.  Next time you have some rain, take the kids and splash and dance in the puddles.

6.  Do flower magic.  When you have flower arrangements that have died, let the kids take them outside and toss the petals into the air.  They can make wishes or say prayers as they let the wind carry the petals away.  This is especially fun on windy days.

7.  Go on a hike to find interesting shapes and textures of plants and then stamp them onto paper with some paint.  Halved mushrooms, leaves, grass that's gone to seed, dandelion heads and lots more make fun designs.

8.  Teach your kids how to whistle with a blade of grass.  Have a whole orchestra!

9.  Pay 1 cent each for dandelions and 5 cents for a root.  I always thought I dreamed this idea up but I've since found a lot of moms are onto this trick!  Afterwards, weave them into flower garlands and turn each other yellow.

10. Have a picnic supper outside on the lawn.

I got a lot of feedback from folks interested in a Magical Childhood e-list so I've set one up on yahoo.  If you are interested and are new to yahoo, as soon as you sign up go to "my membership" and remove yourself from marketing.  If you are any yahoo list you should do this to avoid spam.

The list is set up on this page and has nobody but me on it until I send this out!  :)
It's open to all.  I basically just wanted to have a place to connect neat parents (and grandparents and teachers and aunties...) to share ideas and support.

And I'll sign off with two warning labels that tickled me lately.

#1  On our new plastic glasses....
"Do not pour the boiling water in the product."

and #2, on the back of a package of two very small cup hooks....
"Warning, not intended to support human weight."

Well there ya go folks.  No hanging from the cup hooks any more.  They're onto us.
Have a great week!




A Magical Childhood
Copyright 2002, 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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