Magical Childhood Newsletter
Volume 49
November 22, 2002

Hello magical people!  I hope everyone is safe and happy in your corner of the world.  We're getting in the spirit of the holidays here.  I'm a holiday nut.  I've always loved the fact that two things in life give you complete freedom to be creative, wacky and fun-- children and the holidays.

The pregnancy is coming along and I am almost to the halfway point.  I'm finished with my shots and feeling much better.  I'm still a wee bit hormonal and Daryl has had his share of listening to me weep that I'm an awful mother and rant about the house being too messy, but luckily for him that seems to be passing too.  <G>

With the holidays coming for so many, I know many people are feeling stressed and overwhelmed.  Between social obligations, big get-togethers and  pressure to buy millions of gifts, all the joy and spirit of the season can be lost.

This year, be greedy!  Say no to commitments that don't give you pleasure and put yourself and your family first.  As much as possible, stay out of stores, turn off the TV and spend time together instead.  Make up excuses if you have to, but don't do so much because you "have to" that you miss out on the magic of this time of year.  Enjoy it!  That's an order.  ;)

And now, on with the newsletter........


10 Ways to Build your Child's Creativity.....

1.  Draw an odd shape on a piece of paper and ask her to make a picture out of it.

2.  Tell sharing stories-- take turns saying a sentence or a phrase and make it up together as you go.  For toddlers, have them fill in words ("once upon a time there was a ____ named ____ who loved to ______....").

3.  Give toys that are as open-ended as possible, allowing kids to come up with their own ways to play with them.

4.  Encourage them to make toys out of found objects-- rocks, sticks, acorns, empty boxes, etc.

5.  Provide them with a wide variety of art materials and have some choices always available.  Remember that there is more to art than crayons and markers.  Oil pastels, watercolor pencils and colored chalk will all create unique creations for not much more money than crayons, and are often much more satisfying to work with.

6.  Play a variety of music in your home.  Tune in to a radio station in another language sometimes.  Have the kids dance or paint to classical music.  Sing songs together and make up your own silly ones.

7.  Let the sky be green.  I know so many adults who tell me they've hated art ever since their 1st grade teacher criticized their painting for having a pink dog or rainbow colored sky.  Art is never wrong!  I promise they will grow up knowing the sky is blue anyway.  :)

8.  Give kids your trash.  If you're tossing it anyway, give it one last hurrah as an art project.  Empty cereal boxes, ripped up magazines, stickers from junk mail, old makeup, ripped clothes or empty containers can all be transformed for an afternoon into something fun.  Then recycle or toss it without guilt.

9.  Discuss the art in the picture books you read.  Illustrators use watercolors, collages, pen and ink, colored pencils and even crayons to illustrate children's books.  Read a book together and then do an art project loosely imitating the style of the artist.

10. Set an example!  No more excuses to say you're no good at art.  Show the kids that creativity is fun and valuable.  Take up a hobby for yourself, from photography to scrap booking to song writing.  Sometimes we lose ourselves in parenting or work or simply the busy details of life.  Art is one way to find your voice and get some peace.


Magical Mama Jacqueline shared this delightful idea......

We are doing the letter Ii this week. We got these ice cubes at Disney World  that are plastic and they light up. I made Madison a bath last night and threw a few in and her whole bath was glowing green and blue. It was so neat! Especially when we turned off the lights!


Happy Hanukkah!  Here are some fun Hanukkah craft pages for kids:

More holiday crafts to come soon!


Daryl made up this lesson about forms of water and we did it today.  The girls loved it.

He  had the kids stand and we knelt, and he said we were going to be water today.  He explained that temperature made the molecules of water react differently to each other.  He had us all hold hands and sway back and forth and said we were water.  Then he said it got really cold and that made the molecules all stick together, so we all had to hug really close and tight.  Then it warmed up and we were water again.  Then it got hot and we turned into steam, and we all drifted apart and danced around.  We cooled off and all ran and held hands together, and so on.

It was a neat little way to get a pretty advanced concept across, but to the kids it was just fun.  :)


Magical Mama Sue shared this great site with many links, lists and ideas about children's books.  There are ideas for library circle times, themes, projects and lots of wonderful recommendations.  I stayed up way too late exploring it one night-- always the sign of a good site.  <G>  A must see!


Great stuff!  Here's a page of links to online stories, songs, classics, myths and poetry for children.
Whether you're looking for Christmas stories, legends or contemporary fiction, you can easily get lost in the fantastic sites listed for each category!


The weather is changing and in its honor I thought I'd include a couple of poems about weather.  The first one is a neat way for little ones to learn the months, while the second is for pure fun.

To expand it into a neat (and educational) craft, use the first poem for the kids to make a book.  Print each stanza on a blank page (or have older kids print it to practice handwriting) and have them illustrate each month.  Bind the book with a plastic report cover or punch holes and thread with ribbon.  Kids can then put stickers and notations on each month to represent birthdays, holidays and fun family activities typical for each month.

A Calendar
by Sara Coleridge

 January brings the snow,
 Makes our feet and fingers glow.

 February brings the rain,
 Thaws the frozen lake again.

 March brings breezes,
 Loud and shrill,
 To stir the dancing daffodil.

 April brings the primrose sweet,
 Scatters daisies at our feet.

 May brings flocks of pretty lambs
 Skipping by their fleecy dams.

 June brings tulips, lilies, roses,
 Fills the children's hands with posies.

 Hot July brings cooling showers,
 Apricots and gillyflowers.

 August brings the sheaves of corn,
 Then the harvest home is borne.

 Warm September brings the fruit;
 Sportsmen then begin to shoot.

 Fresh October brings the pheasant;
 Then to gather nuts is pleasant.

 Dull November brings the blast;
 Then the leaves are whirling fast.

 Chill December brings the sleet,
 Blazing fire, and Christmas treat.


 Whether the weather be fine
 Or whether the weather be not,
 Whether the weather be cold
 Or whether the weather be hot,
 We'll weather the weather
 Whatever the weather,
 Whether we like it or not.


Great teaching idea......  A friend recently told me about one local junior high school teacher who uses a nerf ball as a teaching aid.  She asks questions and tosses the sponge ball to kids.  If you catch it, you answer.  What a fun way to keep the kids' attention!


Magical Mama Faye wrote in with some great ideas in answer to our cleaning with kids challenge in the last newsletter.  Here are some....

We have 1 big pack up a day. We try do it before the tired hour, before 5pm.  The boys can play after but pack up as they go.  Depending how much there is we can start as early as 4pm.  We usually do outside first then inside and always pack up before a long relaxing bath :-)  We include it in the routine everyday (as much as possible).

However if all are exhausted from a special big day, we skip the chores and leave them till tomorrow morning thus avoid the negative spiral of nagging.

Games we have played includes putting on active music and drop the toys in the box to the beat; "treasure hunting" type games; counting games (how many can you carry? or This is 1 for me and 1 for you, 2 for me and 2 for you etc.;  set a time on and see if everyone can clear the room by the time it goes (be realistic and help); use reward systems occasionally (not regularly) with a special tea treat or extra bedtime story or different toys (not usually used there) for in the bath (e.g. doll, plastic cars) or stay up late and play family games (picture lotto, dominoes etc. and 5 minutes late can be a treat for 5 year olds)...

Thanks Faye!  I'll share more in upcoming issues.


10 Ways to Make Today Magical......

1.  Use leftover Halloween face paints or makeup to paint designs on the kids' faces before running errands.  You can do simple pictures like flowers, butterflies, stars or smiley faces, or you can use small stencils for no-fail designs.

2.  Fill a jar with slips of paper with easy chores and small rewards.  Tell the kids that they can take as many slips out as they like, as long as they perform the chore on each one before taking out the next one.  Fun ones could include treats like family games, one-on-one time with dad or a trip to the park, along with one grand prize per jar of something extra special.

3.  Send your child a card filled with ways he's made you thankful over the past year.

4.  Let the kids each pick an old shirt and be fashion designers with it.  They can use scissors, permanent markers, needles and yarn, buttons, you name it.  The wackier the better!

5. Let the kids pick out your clothes for the day and style your hair-- with complete freedom!  Go to at least one public place, if possible.

6.  Look at the moon through binoculars.

7.  Make a dish for the first time together.  Choose something that sounds delicious to both of you and then pig out on it.

8.  Start a memory book for each child.  Send questionnaires to loved ones asking about their childhoods and experiences but also about memories with each child.  Bind all the answers in a scrapbook with special photos.

9.  Plan a talent night one night a week after supper where every family member (yes, you too!) has to do something to entertain the others.  If you like, have everybody vote which act was best and use a silly hat as a crown for the nightly winner.

10. Bundle up your child after dark and go for a drive someplace peaceful.  Put on some quiet music and just enjoy the night.


My weary brain is about out of things to say in this issue so I'll end it with that.  Take care of yourself, take care of your kiddos and do something nice for someone.  The world is pretty rocky these days and we need a lot of that.

Have a magical month!


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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