Magical Childhood Newsletter
Volume 56
July 7, 2003

Hello wonderful people!  I hope you're having a marvelous summer.  Ours is particularly hot and hectic so far, but it's been pretty good fun.  Jack is two months old now and almost 15 pounds.  He's a real charmer and fits into our family better than I could have hoped.  We are very blessed.

I have been putting this issue together for you in between Jack's naps, crafts and play time with the girls, family trips and lots of loads of laundry.  Hope it was worth the wait!


Magical Mama Aileen in Ireland shared this sweet idea....

I have a tip which might help some of you if your have children who are afraid of our case it was bridget and flies.  Give them names- now she asks me their names and I call them something like oh that's ebineezer or fred or Cynthia and personalising them seems to make them a little less scary for her.

What a great idea.  Thanks Aileen!


Erin shared this fun idea:

"I also wanted to piggy back on someone's suggestion from your last newsletter regarding the shaving cream play...some of the kiddos I have worked with like to eat EVERYTHING so, instead of using shaving cream we have used whipped cream in the cans, it's safe to eat and just as fun to play with."

Thanks Erin!


Sensory Integration: Calming activities

Continuing on the theme of SI activities to help kids, here are some things that help kids calm down.  Some are well-known classics, while some others were things I hadn't thought of before.  These are especially good for before bedtime but can be used any time during the day when children need a little help calming down.

Only do those that your child enjoys.  Many children crave the heavy pressure activities especially.


For a child who is especially touch-sensitive, even switching from stiff pajamas with tags to nice soft ones could make a big difference in getting to sleep (likewise for daytime clothes).

Some of the activities are hard in hot weather, but they still may be effective with a little creativity.  I sleep much easier with a comforter and extra pillows around me.  If it's 90 degrees, I'll point a fan on myself or turn on the air conditioning to cool the room and still use my comforter.  As an adult, I can control the environment enough to do that.  A child might not be able to understand or communicate his needs, and might just toss and turn restlessly without anybody realizing why.

Make sure kids are getting enough physical stimulation during the day so they can get calm when they need to.  Exercises that are especially important for proper development and concentration include bouncing, rocking, spinning and tilting downward (like going head first down a slide or doing "the wheelbarrow").  And yes, there is actually a neurological need fulfilled by this stuff!  It turns out most of what children need they're trying to do most of the time anyway.  The key is to find safe ways for them to meet their needs.

Most of the best exercises help kids focus for a maximum of somewhere between 2 and 4 hours.  Children need to recharge throughout the day, which is especially thought provoking considering the decline of recess time in many schools.  If they're getting their sensory needs met during the day, they'll have a much easier time settling down in class, at home and at bedtime.

Here's a site with all sorts of wonderful SI ideas for helping kids at bedtime, around the house, while doing errands and more.  Great ideas!

Looking for new things to try in your sand and water table?

Here are some fun fillers:  rice, beans, oatmeal (wet and dry), cornmeal, bubbles, cotton balls, Jell-O, shredded paper, dirt, hay or straw, mud, poker chips, lids, cut up sponges, popcorn or popcorn kernels, colored sand, ice cubes, chestnuts, leaves, pine needles, shells, powdered baby cereal, pebbles and stones, pea gravel, marbles, snow, shaving cream, Cool Whip, hair gel, cheap dish detergent or shampoo, Cheerios, goop (corn starch mixed with water 1:1), finger paint or styrofoam peanuts (the degradable stuff can be molded, stuck together and melted with water and is also non-toxic).

Try hiding small toys in the filler, too.

If kids are at the tasting stage, use all edible stuff like oatmeal and Cool Whip.  Mix up a great finger paint by using condensed milk and food coloring.

Be sure to watch little ones with anything that can be a choking hazard too, of course.

Magical mama Susan shared this great craft recipe:

Homemade rubber stamp Ink

Powdered Clothes Dye (any color) like Rit ( I used tempura powdered paint )
1/4 Teaspoon rubbing Alcohol
5 Tablespoons Glycerin

Mix dye with alcohol to the consistency of thin cream. Add glycerin. Stir until well blended. This makes enough to replenish a stamp pad several times. Pour ink over stamp pad. I made a stamp pad with a sponge and a plastic container.

Cut shapes with potatoes and the kids stamp away.


Natural Consequences for Parents....

The idea of "natural consequences" is very big with parents these days.  The theory is that children will learn to do the right thing if they live through the real consequences of their actions.

Instead of fighting over whether your child wears a sweater, you let her go without and she gets cold.  She puts on a sweater.  Practical and painless.

I'm not always a big fan of natural consequences because when parents use them, they're often just using a nice catch phrase for sugar-coated, plain old punishments.

Take the woman who posted the following on a parenting bulletin board:

My three year old refuses to make her bed.  What natural consequences can I use to make her do it?

Well lady, the real natural consequence of not making your bed is you have a messy bed!

Instead of trying to think up some dire, make believe consequence to befall your little one, how about making it with her in a fun way each morning and establishing a routine for her?

What I've noticed lately, though, is that we adults don't even learn from natural consequences.

Think about it...

We eat junk and don't exercise, so we get fat and unhealthy.

Natural consequence, right?  But instead of eating right and starting to exercise, we look for some pill, herb or procedure to fix us-- and we continue to eat junk and skip exercising.

We spend too much money living above our means, so we end up in debt.

Do we change our lifestyle and learn to live frugally?  Nah.  Many of us look for a better credit card, get a second job, beg money off the folks, play the lottery or keep spending but avoid answering the phone.  :)  We keep right on doing whatever's causing the trouble, and just try to find a way to weasel out of the results.

So much for natural consequences.

The thing is, if you pay attention there are natural consequences every day for how we're parenting:

We don't give our little ones enough time and attention, and they become clingy.

We're cranky and say no all the time, and we end up with cranky kids who say no all the time.

We haven't been loving and attentive enough of our children so they (depending on their age) cry, misbehave, whine or pull away.

And instead of realizing it's all a practical reaction to us, we scold, yell, nag, pull away and punish-- making the cycle that much worse.

Our relationships with our kids are reflections on what we're doing-- or not doing-- with them.  If their behavior has you contemplating putting your head in the blender, there's something going on.  Get the root of that and everyone will be happier.

Practical and painless-- or at least as much as parenting can ever be.  :)


A few good web sites:

Make magic potions, a mold terrarium or your own private lightning!  Here are lots and lots of easy hands-on science activities to do with little ones.  Most of the materials are easily found at home.

Magical Mama Tracy passed on this site that lists 200+ Ideas for Family Fun
Thanks Tracy!

And here's a fun game to learn for the summer time-- frisbee golf!


Want to make a quick easel for art projects?  Find a large box (about as tall as your child is perfect) and cut off the top.  Use clothespins to attach your paper to one side at the top, and presto-- you've got an easel for 4!


10 Ways to Make Today Magical...

1.  Stage an art show.  Collect favorite art projects and hang them in the garage or living room with small tags underneath noting the title, artist and price.  Hand out fake money and allow people to purchase favorite works.  If you like, think up a theme or medium (yarn and paint, watercolors, Japanese inspired...) and create masterpieces together for a special show at the end of the week.

2.  Have a watermelon seed spitting contest.

3.  Start a love box.  Find a fun, small box and put a treat inside.  Leave it on someone's pillow, at their seat at the dinner table or in a lunch box.  The person has to put something in it and pass it on to another family member.  Ideas for treats-- a chocolate, a tiny toy, a poem, a drawing, a love letter, a fresh flower, a list of things you love about the person, a coupon for a back rub...  (adapted from a tip at

4.  Throw a theme potluck-- everyone must bring a dish that starts with A, has exactly 3 ingredients or is a certain color, for example.  If you don't want to have to clean, stage it at a park.

5.  Wash the car together.

6.  Make iced tea or lemonade with rose petals or mint scattered in each cup.  Make sure to use clean, untreated leaves and petals.  You can call it fairy tea, summer tea or let the kids dream up a good name for it.  If you like, add food coloring or bright juice concentrates to jazz up the color.  You can even use food coloring to make different colored ice cubes or freeze whole strawberries to drop in.

7.  Have a water balloon fight.

8. During the night, decorate the living room with streamers and a big sign that says "Happy ________ Day!" (marmot day, random day, I love you day, blueberry day...)  Make up traditions for the day together-- you must wear purple, it's traditional to eat ice cream for breakfast, whatever.

9.  Have a kiddie parade.  Grab some friends or neighbors, dress everybody up and give each child a baton, drum, tambourine or flag.  March down the sidewalk or through a park.  If you like, pull a wagon with extra props and invite other kids to join in as you go.

10. Perform a random act of kindness together.


And with that, I'm off to try to undo a week's worth of messes in the 7.5 minutes before the baby wakes up.  Or have ice cream.  I haven't decided.  ;)

Have a wonderful month.  Kiss your babies, count your blessings and 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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