Magical Childhood Newsletter
Volume 66
July 20, 2004

Happy summer!  Oh my goodness I'm late!  Sorry to be so pokey getting this to you.  I'm always slower sending these out when there's fun to be had.

We have been busy with lots of neat stuff like T-ball and parades, as well as all the summer duties like mowing the lawn, working in the garden and alternately grumping about the rain and the heat.  ;)

We found out that Jack has a peanut allergy, and I've learned lots about this scary subject.  I thought we were low risk since we don't have allergies in our families and Jack has been exclusively breast fed (both lower the risk of allergies).  He had tastes of two foods with peanut butter in them at 12 months and had dangerous reactions.  I'll share more information about allergies in the next newsletter.  Please learn from my mistake and keep your little ones from peanuts and shellfish for the first 3 years!  They have much less risk of ever developing an allergy with that simple step.

I've put together lots of bits of things that seemed sweet, fun, helpful or magical.  So off we go......


Stuck in a car together?

Magical Mama Amy asked for suggestions on making car trips more fun.  Here's some activities and ideas that work for us.

This site has printable bingo cards, games, coloring pages, you name it:
And this site goes with the book Carschooling.  You can sign up for a newsletter, mailing lists, etc.

Magic Cupcakes
Use Pop Rocks candy to make these surprise snacks! Simply make your favorite cupcake recipe. After your cupcakes have baked and cooled, frost and sprinkle with Pop Rocks. They'll be delighted with these tasty treats, even if they know the secret!

Magical Mama Rachel shared this neat idea....

I've been doing a fun thing with my 2 year old son lately that I thought I would share.  I had been having a time of it getting him settled down at night, so I started trying to make up stories to tell him after the lights were off, but I'm not always good at coming up with story ideas.  One night I handed him an inflatable globe he has, and told him to point to any place on the globe and I would tell him a story about an animal from there.  It worked so well, that it has become a staple of our nighttime routine.  We've had stories about the jaguars in Brazil, the wolves in Russia, the Kangaroos in Australia, etc..  The other night he stunned me when he grabbed the globe, turned it over and pointed to the South Pole, asking if I would, "say another story about the penguins in Antarctica".  Kids can really surprise you.

Wonderful!  Thanks Rachel!

Here are two neat ways to transfer an image to any surface.  The first uses special paper (much more reasonably priced than most transfer papers) and the second uses packing tape.  Think of the craft possibilities.....

Twenty-Five Activities to Keep Kids' Brains Active in the Hot Summer Sun

Here's a fun game for teaching letters and phonics.  Cut 26 strips of paper and put a letter on each.  Put a piece of tape or a sticker on the top of each.  Ask your child to name the letter and stick it to something that starts with that letter.  You may want to save tricky letters like x and q for later!  Do as many as your child likes and save the rest for another day.  Annalee (4) had a ball doing this and came up with some very creative ways to use her letters up!

"Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching."
~ Thomas Jefferson

How To Clean Your Room...
We often get mad at our kids for not doing things that we have never fully taught them how to do.  Chores like cleaning rooms can seem so overwhelming that even adults throw up their hands and go off to get on the computer.  Here's a great article on one mom's step-by-step instructions for her children on how to clean their rooms.  I've resolved to make up one of our own and may even make one up for me!

According to Mother Earth News, parents in rural Japan toss a handful of fireflies in the mosquito nets over their children's beds so they can fall asleep under twinkling "stars."  How magical!

Cookie sheet collages--
Here's a free and easy craft for kids of all ages.  Give your child an old magazine to cut photos out of (or do it for little ones) and a shallow bowl of water, plus a cookie sheet.  The child can dip the magazines in the water and then "paste" them onto the cookie sheet until it's covered.  When it's all done, scrape it off and do another.

A note about "disposable" crafts--

We do a lot of temporary art in our family.  These are projects designed to be done for the joy of doing them and not for saving.  Examples are snow art (using magic markers, squirt bottles of colored water, etc. to decorate packed snow), block castles, chalkboard and write-off board pictures, clay and dough creations and cookie sheet collages.

It can be hard for a child to "ruin" something she has spent a lot of time creating and is proud of.  One way we deal with it here is to use the digital camera to take pictures of finished projects.  We've also been known to leave particularly wonderful creations on display for a day.


"The game of life is the game of boomerangs.
Our thoughts, deeds and words return to us
sooner or later,
with astounding accuracy."

~ Florence Shinn

(especially true with children!!)

Finger Paint!

2 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. cold water
1 cup boiling water (parents only)

Mix cold water with corn starch until smooth and add boiling water.  Stir.  Cool.

For color, add food coloring or powdered tempera paint.  For fun scents, try adding powdered fruit drinks.

Put individual colors in old yogurt containers.  Left over paints can be stored and reused.


Got more than one child?  You MUST get your hands on a copy of Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish.  This book is easy to read with wonderful real life advice that I've already found invaluable.  I wish I'd read it when I was pregnant with my second.  It's a keeper.


Magical Mama Suzanne wrote in to recommend Freecycle, a wonderful site where people can list items they're giving away and can post things they're in need of.  There are groups all around the country and may be one near you-- or you can start it up yourself.  Suzanne says she already got a sandbox and a playpen through the site.  Thanks Suzanne!

Magical Mama Denise shared this great idea.....

Yesterday we had a hot one.  David (who is a terrific 2 year old) doesn't like little pools too much, so yesterday I got out a small tarp from the garage and gave him the hose. I put the water on slowly (don't want to waste water) and he jumped and danced in the middle of the tarp with the hose. I then turned off the hose and he had great puddles to splash in and this kept  his amused for ages. Today I am going to try it with a bit of food colouring and I have made some cornstarch paint and maybe we will get really messy.  Just wanted to share my fun in the sun.

What fun!  Thanks Denise!

10 Ways to Make Today Magical....

1.  Go tree climbing together.

2.  Have your child write up a letter about who she is, put it in a jar and bury it in the back yard.  No back yard?  Bury it in the park-- without identifying information, for safety reasons.

3.  Conduct an experiment together.  Develop a hypothesis and a way to test it, and then carry it out and record the results.  Possible experiments are setting up a taste test of different brands of snacks, comparing reaction times for adults and kids (use a stopwatch and a ruler-- have the person hold her finger and thumb open and then drop the ruler between them and say go, record how many inches pass before she can grab it) or making up concoctions to add to garden plants to see if any grow bigger.

4.  Have a bubble race!  Each person makes one bubble and tries to blow it across the room. If your bubble pops, start over. Everybody who reaches the finish line wins!

5.  Have the kids decorate the bottoms of each other's feet with washable markers (or do it with your little ones).  This can be delightfully tickly.  When they're all done, take a picture if you like and then assign them the task of running around in puddles till they're clean.  To extend the fun, mist a large piece of white paper with water and let them stomp on it and leave foot stamps of their designs.

6.  Go to an "Art in the Park" exhibit together.

7.  Each of you make a list of 15 things you want to do before your life is over.  Take steps (no matter how small) towards making one come true for each of you.  Does your daughter want to sky dive?  Check out a book and find out the basics she'll need to know.  Do you want to go to Europe someday?  Look up tour rates online to see how much you'd need to save up.  Resolve to do something towards one of the goals once a month together.

8.  Go on a sprinkler walk.  Take the kids and head to a neighborhood where lots of sprinklers spray onto the sidewalks.  Try to get as wet as possible.

9.  Invent your own soda pop together.  Mix club soda with different fruit juices until you get the perfect taste.

10. Go swimming under the stars.  Kiddie pools count!


And with that, I'm off to duck back into the rabbit hole.  I've got to make up mashed potatoes for a potluck tonight, clean for grandma's visit tomorrow, do an art project with a little girl who wants mama time, make a pie with another little girl and make myself look less like a mug shot picture..... all while juggling a sleeping babe.  Uff da!

Take good care of yourselves.  That's an order.

I promise not to be so slow next time.  Have a magical month!

Love, Alicia


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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