Magical Childhood Newsletter
Volume 65
May 31, 2004

Oh my goodness, am I late.  :)  Hello you!  I hope you're having a wonderful time with your munchkins.

We had a fantastic trip to California.  We did lots of wonderful things and it was glorious, partially controlled chaos the whole time.  The kids were even great on the long flights there and back, thank goodness.  It's amazing how many complete strangers will come up to you and say nice things if you are crazy enough to fly alone with three small children.

I've been putting things aside for you all, so I'll get on with it at last ....


Got twins?  A reader asked for advice for activities to do with young twins so I polled some neat moms of multiples.  Here's some of their great ideas, which are all fabulous for any group of kids you need to entertain.

Regarding toys, we found it more practical not to buy two of everything (though we do have doubles of lots of things, like ride on toys, stuffed animals, purses, etc.), but the toys where there are lots of the same are really great for diffusing fights or potential conflicts.  Like blocks or our letter mat from IKEA, or puzzles--you get the idea!


I have 6 year old twin boys. I can't think of anything that we did specifically because they were twins, but we spent lots of time outside. You may find too, that they really keep each other busy, they play together all the time, they loved pretending one would be buzz the other woody, capt hook/peter pan, batman/robin.  They always did that kind of stuff, was always great for halloween too!

We would shop, those double seater grocery carts are a god send!

I found a couple websites too.


(Note from Alicia: The grocery shopping mom with triplets from the second site mentioned deserves some sort of medal of honor in my book!)

When my kids were one we did the following things:

-I would put them in front of the kitchen sink with the water running slowly and with a bunch of plastic bowls and cups. They could spend hours playing with the water.   Be prepared to have lots of towels on the floor for clean up.  This is a messy activity but a fun one.  For months my kids expected to do this every day.  Still fun at 34 months.

-Long baths.  I made bath paints by mixing baby wash, food colouring and corn starch.  I would put some in little tubs and let the kids paint in the bath.   They also had fun just playing with Tupperware containers in the tub.  Still fun at 34 months.

-I used to keep our placemats in a drawer that the kids could get into. They just loved emptying the drawer and putting everything back again. Same with the Tupperware cupboard.

- Towel sledding.  This is still a favourite at 34 months. I pull the kids around the house on a blanket or a towel. It is especially fun when I make sharp turns.

- Blowing bubbles and letting the kids try to catch them.  Especially fun if you make  different size bubbles. I always doctor our bubble solution with some Joy or Dawn (the other detergents don't work as well). This makes really good bubbles. Also, the Mr Bubble bubble solution that Michael's carries makes the strongest bubbles.

- I buy large rolls of contractor's paper from The Home Depot and unroll a bit on the floor. Then let the kids scribble away to their heart's content. When they were one I found that they broke regular crayons so I bought some Stockmar Block Crayons. These were one of the best purchases I ever made.  They were expensive but in the long run they were really cheap.   Our crayons are nearly 2 years old and still have years of use in them.

- And last, but not least is our ball pit. I filled a blow up plastic pool with balls and let the kids play in it. I have yet to find a child from about age 1 to age 8 who doesn't love the ball pit. We recently got a slide to go into it and it has been a huge hit.


Thanks guys!!!


Magical Mama Lonni passed on this link to a site that lets you print out neat patterns for babies to look at.  Thanks Lonni!


Easy stilts!
Use a can opener to poke holes on either side of two large coffee cans (upside down).  Thread rope through to make handles for the kids to hold on to as they walk.


"If you bungle raising your children,
I don't think whatever else you do well
matters very much."

~ Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Need some new ideas to try for discipline?
Check out this list of twenty alternatives to punishment.
There are lots of great ideas!


Are you brave enough to try Battered Dandelion Blossoms?
If so, check out this recipe.....


Magical Mama Shez recommended this fantastic site with science songs from the 50's that you can download.
Thanks Shez!


For cloth diapering mamas, here's a site that teaches how to make lots of different types of diapers and a few other things too.


Something that makes you think....

"When I was about 20 years old, I met an old pastor's wife who told me that when she was young and had her first child, she didn't believe in striking children, although spanking kids with a switch pulled from a tree was standard punishment at the time. But one day, when her son was four or five, he did something that she felt warranted a spanking--the first in his life. She told him that he would have to go outside himself and find a switch for her to hit him with.

The boy was gone a long time. And when he came back in, he was crying. He said to her, "Mama, I couldn't find a switch, but here's a rock that you can throw at me."

All of a sudden the mother understood how the situation felt from the child's point of view: that if my mother wants to hurt me, then it makes no difference what she does it with; she might as well do it with a stone. And the mother took the boy into her lap and they both cried. Then she laid the rock on a shelf in the kitchen to remind herself forever: never violence. And that is something I think everyone should keep in mind. Because violence begins in the nursery."

-- Astrid Lindgren, author of Pippi Longstocking


From Magical Mama Jackie:

We go out to eat so much that we are always coming up with ways to make Madison happy in the restaurant.  If they give you a placemat and crayons it's really fun to turn the place mat over and draw railroad tracks (we make them really curvy and connect a few) and add things like a lake and bridges. Then we take different colored sugar packets and fold them over long wise and they become our trains. We have a train set then! Madison loves that and she will even play it by her self a bit while we eat. It's funny. Sometimes we make tunnels with different things off the table. It's silly but fun!

Thanks Jackie!


Eighteen Highly Recommended Books for Girls:


"Peace does not mean to be in a place
where there is no noise,
trouble, or hard work.
Peace means to be in the midst of all those things
and still be calm in your heart."

~Marcel Morin

Got teens?  Here's some great ideas for what to do with them!
Teen Friendly Family Outings:

Moth Paint!

Did you know there are more than 10,000 species of moths?  For an interesting nocturnal adventure, mix up a batch of this goo and trek outside after dark to see how many you can spot.  Mix two over-ripe bananas, 4 tablespoons of sugar and 1 cup of apple juice and paint it onto several tree trunks.  After dark, head out with the kiddos and a flashlight to see if any moths have come to dine.  Their eyes will reflect the light and they will often stay and munch despite you, so you get a chance to identify different kinds and get an up-close look at the little creatures.  Some people mix up very elaborate concoctions, often involving beer and molasses, while others say that just smearing a mashed watermelon will do the job.  Still, warm, moist nights are supposed to work best.  Happy hunting!


10 Ways to make today magical.......

1.  Have a watermelon seed spitting contest.

2.  Take a bus ride.  Granted, this will seem about as magical to you as getting your teeth cleaned, but bus rides can be fantastic treats for little ones who are not used to taking them.  See if you can take a bus to the library, park or just around a different part of town.

3.  Start a bug collection.  Dead bugs only.  :)

4.  Go through your tupperware collection and take the lids outside to see which ones make good frisbees.  Our square ones fly surprisingly far!

5.  Play baseball, basketball or catch with water balloons.

6.  Bake a white sheet cake and decorate with clean paintbrushes and blueberry & strawberry syrups.  Paint a masterpiece together and then eat your art.  To get even fancier, make a cake for each person and do edible portraits.  Don't forget to take pictures before you gobble them up!  For other ways to decorate your art-- use different color tubes of frosting or use sliced fruit or tiny candies to make mosaics.

7.  Make an obstacle course in the back yard.  Good props include boards, rope, tires, tall cardboard boxes (open both ends to make tunnels), wading pools, hula hoops and sprinklers.

8.  Go kite flying.  You can buy kites for around a dollar at many stores or you can make your own.  Instructions are plentiful online or at your library.

9.  Start a family restaurant.  Invite the kids to make up a menu of foods you agree on and have them decorate it.  Make up a fun name, too.  Once a week, "eat out" at home.  This can be a good way to get rid of leftovers or to serve easy summer dinners.  Just make up some combo plates listing fruits, salads, sandwiches, etc. that you have on hand or let them order ala carte.  Kids can take turns being waiters and waitresses, or mom and dad can be the servers.  If the kids take charge, don't forget to tip!

10. Make a mess in the mud.  Find some dirt, get it wet, and stomp, smush and play together in it.  Wiggle your toes in it.  Write your name in it.  Stir it with sticks.  Put it in pie tins.  Get dirty.  I guarantee it'll be one of the best times you'll have all week.


All righty then.  With that, I'm off to read cooking magazines in bed and talk someone into a neck rub.  Have a wonderful month!  Don't forget to take care of you.

Till next time,


A Magical Childhood
Copyright 2004, 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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