Magical Childhood Newsletter
Volume 52
February 10, 2003

Hello magical people!  I hope everything is going well in your corner of the world.  Sorry for the long delay between newsletters.  Annalee had a fight with pneumonia and I was in the ER for a sinus infection.  It took a bit to get back to putting this together for you, but we're all back to normal now-- or as close as we get to normal anyway.  <G>

Speaking of sickness, it's a good time of year to step up the hand washing, exercise and healthy eating.  For a fun germ lesson, sprinkle glitter on kids' hands and have them handle things in the house and shake hands with folks, then see how the glitter travels throughout the house.  Have them wash their hands well to get rid of all the "germs" and then touch those things again and see how easily they spread.  Even if they don't entirely get it, kids love this lesson.  :)

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


Books! A couple of you have asked for more book recommendations and have shared your new loves.  I brought up the subject on the Magical Childhood e-list and will be sharing their suggestions and mine over the next few issues.

Here are a few of our current loves:

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman
This fun book takes you on a trip around the world as a little girl gathers the best ingredients for a homemade apple pie.  There's even a recipe to make your own at the end.

If you.... series by Laura Joffe Numeroff
Starting with If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and moving through pigs and pancakes, moose and muffins and taking mice to the movies, these books are absolutely adorable.

The Magic Treehouse series by Mary Pope Osborne
My girls love to listen to these chapter books that transport Jack and Annie through time and space.  These short books take kids on adventures to ancient Egypt, Pompei, dinosaur days, the moon and more.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin & John Archambault
This adorable, colorful, lyrical alphabet book is great fun to read again and again.

Pete's a Pizza by William Steig
A little boy's plans get rained out so his funny daddy decides to make him into a pizza instead.  This very loving, very cute book will delight kids with the silliness of a daddy sprinkling cheese (paper) on the pizza, telling the pizza not to laugh and so on.

Kiss the Cow by Phyllis Root
Darling!  I adore this book about a curious little girl who accidentally upsets the family cow by refusing to kiss her after milking.  The mama and the many other overall-clad children are (almost) as darling as Annalisa, our stubborn pony-tailed heroine.  Very, very sweet and fun.

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell
They don't come any more precious than this one!  Molly Lou Melon is a tiny, buck toothed little child with a voice like a screech owl and enough confidence to win over even the awfullest boy in her new school.  Absolutely, unconditionally, perfectly adorable.  :)

Here are a few recommendations from readers.

Magical Mama Dorothea loves these two:

1.  If You Were My Bunny by Kate McMullen.  It tells how you would put your baby to bed if she were your baby bunny, kitten, bear cub, puppy, and you were her Mama cat, Mama bear, etc. Then you sing the words written in the book to classic tunes we all know, like "Hush little baby, don't say a word",  becomes "hush little cottontail don't you hop, mama's gonna bring you a carrot top..."  It's very easy and I think it's well written (simple and rhythmic), nicely illustrated, and the combination of words and music is VERY effective for drifting off to sleep.  It's one of those books that we will always treasure.

2.  Hello, Hello by Miriam Schlein, tells of how different animals greet each other in the wild.  It's so respectful of the child (realistically and beautifully illustrated and told). "When two lions meet, how do they say hello?  They put their forwards together and say mmmmmmm.  That's how lions who meet say hello."  You can act out most of the gestures and sounds (baby and Mom touch foreheads and go mmmm.).

Magical Mama Shannon shared these family favorites:

Asia's Best Loved books ( 5 1/2yrs )
The Min Pins  by Roald Dahl....I believe this book was written specifically to be read aloud..( in my opinion anyway ) It just flows right off your lips so easily.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl... another great book

The Root Children by Sybille Von Olfers
Children of the Forest by Elsa Beskow
These two books were especially appealing..we love nature, and it gives a different perspective on the rhythms of the seasons. Very gentle in content.

Magical Mama Shannon from Canada shared these:

Darwin (3 yo) loves When We Were Very Young and Now We are Six by A. A. Milne.  We have some of them memorized, he asks for them every night.  (Note from Alicia: We love these too!)

Going the Moose Way Home is a kid's book that I like, about a Moose from Minnesota who has adventures on his way home.  A nice mix of fantasy and fact about moose life.

The Day that Henry Cleaned His Room, quite funny, especially for anyone who had a messy messy room as a kid (or still does).

Magical Mama Erica writes:

Willow likes Moo Baa Laa Laa Laa. I have that one memorized from when Ethan was a baby! And she likes Baby's Boat and Peek A Boo.

Another really cute book we have is Sleepy Bears by Mem Fox.  And Jamberry by Bruce Degen.

(We love all of these too!)

Lots more to come in the next issue.  Please write in and share your family's loves, too!


A mom wrote recently and asked for fun things to do with a one year old.  Here are some that I came up with.

Fun activities for one year olds....

-- drop things into buckets
-- stack up the tupperware, nest it, match lids to containers
-- play with finger paints in the bath together
-- paint with pudding, colored baby cereal, etc. in the high chair
-- go on exploring walks (inside places works too) and touch and talk about everything
-- read books and regularly refresh the stack with great ones from the library
-- make an edible dough with peanut butter and powdered milk (avoid if there's a family history of allergies) and let her sculpt it and poke it in the high chair
-- experiment with ice cubes, warm water, cold water and such together
-- bring in a bowl of snow, if available-- great for lots of play time in the high chair (good things to use in it include dropping a few drops of food coloring here and there, a spoon, blunt kitchen utensils, toys...)
-- we love pounding toys ~ two favorites are a game called "pound a ball" where baby hammers colored balls into holes and watches them go down chutes, and the standard hammering baby toy where she hammers the colored pegs down, flips it, and hammers them down again
-- stroller walks (in malls, stores or schools if the weather is bad)
-- finger plays (there are billions online and in library books-- just pick one or two at a time so you don't get overwhelmed, here's one list: )
-- criss cross applesauce (tell baby "criss cross" and trace an x on her tummy, "applesauce" and gently beep her nose, "cool breeze" and lightly blow on her head, "tight squeeze" and give a light hug, "and now you've got the shivers!!!" and run your fingers up her back)-- our babies loved this again and again
-- do animal sounds together, even funny and exotic animals-- howl like a wolf, hiss like a snake, snuffle like an anteater  :)
-- roll balls into empty pop bottles or back and forth to each other
-- let her paint with water on a chalkboard, old box or anything that will show the wet spots
-- sing songs, and if you like add her name into them
-- start collecting musical instruments and play music with them: tambourines, drums, flutes, maracas, small keyboards, etc.
-- play ring around the rosie
-- use baby blankets to play mini parachute games-- he holds two ends while you hold the others and lift it high and then low, make waves, bounce a ball on the top of it and catch it, cover up a doll, etc.
-- put on socks and go sock sliding on the linoleum together
-- make a baby obstacle course with a tunnel from couch cushions, box tubes and/or something safe to climb
-- let her play with a flashlight in a darkened room (later, see if she can point with the flashlight at objects you name-- helps eye-hand coordination, motor skills and vocabulary)


Here's a site dedicated to stay at home dads (and dads in general), with lots of wonderful articles and resources.  So much neat stuff you could waste way too much of a day looking around!


There are lots of sites out there about bullying but this one is unique in that it's a place for the kids themselves to share their feelings and connect with other kids going through the same thing.  With sections for poetry, stories, drawings and even multimedia submissions, kids can post their work and reply to others.


Magical Mama Ina passed on this creative idea.  Original author unknown.

Build a Blood Cell!

Materials needed:
ziplock baggie
some kind of cooking oil
cranberry jelly or red gelatin
a dark button
about 10-12 grains of rice

Put all of the ingredients into the ziplock baggie and squish around to mix.  The oil will separate and show blobs here and there.

Those represent the white blood cells, the cranberry or gelatin is the blood, the button is the cell nucleus and the rice represents platelets.

Have the kids draw what they see and label all the parts.

Look up in the discovery web site for a lesson on blood cells to go with your experiment and you are all set.  Be sure to remind the kids that what you are looking at is representational and that a true blood cell is thousands of times smaller in your body.


Here's a fun craft for older kids that would make a nice gift.  It may be a good idea to have kids wear gloves, though I only found one version of this recipe that suggested it.

Scented Rocks


    1/2 cup plain flour
    1/2 cup salt
    1/4 teaspoon essential oil (your favorite scent)
    2/3 cups boiling water
    Food coloring, if desired

In bowl, mix dry ingredients well.
Add essential oil, and boiling water to dry ingredients. (Scent will be strong, but will fade slightly when dry.)
For colored stones, blend in food coloring, one drop at a time until desired shade is reached.
Blend ingredients, and form balls.
Allow stones to dry.

Place rocks in a bowl or dish to scent a room. A nice alternative to potpourri!

(This recipe is widely published online.  Original author unknown.)


Daryl heard a great story on the radio last month.  A minister was saying that the following scenario described how most people live:

You have a whole lot of money and need new furniture.  You go out and find a chair that you absolutely hate.  It's the ugliest chair you've ever seen.  You buy it and have it sent to your house.

Then you find a couch that's hideous, that makes you miserable even looking at it.  You buy it and have it sent to your house.

You keep going all day, buying the most repulsive furniture you find and sending it home.  When you come home at the end of the day, your money is all spent and your house is filled with things you hate.

He went on to say that this is how most people spend their energy-- carrying around the worst things that happen all day and bringing them home.

You know, he's right!  How often do we let all the little nuisances get to us and choose to hang on to those to bring home at the end of the day?

A new year has started.  What a great time to decide to leave the ugliness where we find it and spend our emotional energy bringing home the good parts of the day.  :)


Valentines Crafts.....

Here are some pages filled with lots of crafts for Valentine's Day:;amp;RD=&amp;amp;RI=;amp;RD=&amp;amp;RI=;amp;RD=&amp;amp;RI=
(crafts for older kids or mom)


Food for thought!  I really liked this point:

"Get rid of the crazy idea that in order to make children do better, first you have to make them feel worse. Do you feel like doing better when you feel humiliated?"

How true!  The quote is from a list of ways that teachers and parents can help children learn to behave better at:


Here's a great bunch of songs and poems to teach about money, math, seasons and more....

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

10 Ways to Make Today Magical....

1. Make up a treat dish for area birds & squirrels.  Fill a big old platter with various dried berries, seeds, nuts, fruit, popcorn and whatever else you have on hand.  Try to put it where you can watch from a window and see who visits to enjoy your generosity.

2.  Have an "I love you" party.  Bake a cake, put up streamers and make the house look festive.  Cook a favorite meal for supper and then let the kids choose how to spend the evening.

3.  Get on the mailing list for local museums and galleries and take your teen or preteen to an opening night.  Lots of places kick off new exhibits with fun and fancy (and often free) wine and cheese parties, and it can be great fun to dress up and attend.

4.  Head down to the park (or backyard) and shoot hoops together.

5.  Give the kids a tape recorder and let them play Barbara Walters and interview family members, sing, etc.

6.  Hang a hand-painted plaque or picture at child level that says, "Daddy (or mama or grandma....) loves you."

7.  Help your child enter a contest.  There are lots of types online, from writing to art to essays about soybean farming.  Do a web search for key words that appeal to him (fishing art contest, kids art contest...) and go from there.

8.  Cancel all plans for the day and spend it doing nothing together.  Wear your jammies, watch videos, go to the park, make cookies, whatever strikes your fancy.

9.  Start a nightly ritual of sharing a cup of tea or some juice in fancy wine glasses before bed.

10. Introduce them to a favorite movie from your childhood.


With that, I'm going to finally send this thing off.  :)  Happy Valentine's Day.  Don't forget to take care of you!


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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