Magical Childhood Newsletter
Volume 69
February 13, 2005

Happy February!  Here's hoping you and your kiddos are safe and sound.  We've spent the past month fighting flus, taking trips and making messes.  My baby Annalee turned 5, Victoria has lost 10 teeth and Jack is generally exhausting us all.

There's a new "lazy mom" list of toddler crafts on the web site for when you're sick, pregnant, tired or just worn out and need to entertain a little person. Look for it in the craft section.  I'll be adding some fun educational stuff in the articles section soon too.

And now, I've gathered up some crafts, ideas, links and fun stuff to wile away the month....

"The work can wait
while you show the child the rainbow,
but the rainbow won't wait
while you do the work."

~ Patricia Clafford

Simple Valentines Ideas

Caring mobile:   Put out an assortment of red, white and pink paper hearts.  Have your child write down something he does to show his love for people on each one (give hugs, help mom clean, make pictures, say I love you, etc.).  Help him brainstorm so he realizes how much he does to make his loved ones happy.  Then have him tape various lengths of yarn to each heart.  Tape to a larger shape (frame shape, large heart, stapled tube, etc.) and hang from the ceiling.

Heart People: Provide each child with a large heart shape to cut out, as well as one medium heart, and four small hearts.  The large heart is the body, the medium heart the head, and the small hearts are the hands and feet.  Glue the head onto the back of the large heart with the point side down.  Add facial features with markers or crayons, and/or wiggly eyes.  A bow pattern can be provided as well.  It can be used as a hair bow for the girls and a bow-tie for the boys.  Accordion fold four strips of paper and glue on for arms and legs.  Glue the small hearts to the end of each.

This idea and oodles of others can be found here:

"Surrounded with love" wreath:
We made these up last week and the kids really had fun.

Cut the middle from a paper plate to make a paper frame.

Cut out a cardboard heart template for each child (a cereal box works fine or use the discarded middle from your plate) and have them trace it and cut out construction paper hearts in various valentine colors.

Help them write the name of someone they love on each heart and have them glue or tape the hearts to cover the wreath frame.

Have the kids draw a picture of themselves to tape from the back.  The picture should show through with the loved ones in hearts surrounding the child.

Tape a length of red string on the back to hang.

Valentine school...
Cut out lots of heart shapes from colored construction paper and use them for matching games, concentration, etc.  Examples are opposites, each half of a compound word, lower and upper case letters, math problems, states and capitals, etc.

Hide and seek hearts:
Take 10 heart shapes for each child and write assignments on them.  Use a combination of physical, educational and silly ones.  For instance, for a preschooler you could write

For a kindergartner: You can do different colors for different children (or age groups) too.  Now hide them around the room and have the kids find one at a time and perform its assignment.  Alternately, put a paper clip on each one and make a magnet fishing pole so kids can fish for them.

Overheard online:
Valentine in a Bottle

Send out Valentine or birthday greetings in empty (clean) plastic soda or water bottles. Fill the bottles with colorful shredded paper, confetti, bells, Valentine pencils and small erasers, wrapped candy, you name it.

You can cut a slit into the bottle and place the gifts inside, then tape the slit and place the address label over it.  This way you can fit larger items like beanie babies, stickers, small books, hair bows, matchbox cars, bibs, etc.

Once the bottle is filled, tighten the cap and wrap with some clear package tape. Put an address label on the outside and take to your local post office.

Yes, you can mail just about anything as long as:

1) It is not glass. If it is, it has to be wrapped so it cannot break.
2) It does not cause damage to other's mail (leak, etc).
3) You have to have a place to put the address and the stamps.

(Original author unknown)

I checked and my postal worker confirmed you really can do this.  She said she just saw a really cute one come in from Hawaii.  Neat idea!

Here's some fun Valentine lesson plans:

Quick Valentines Recipes...

Blend a cup of frozen strawberries in the blender with milk or water and add as the liquid in your favorite pancake recipe for pink pancakes.

Cut whole wheat toast with a heart shaped cookie cutter and spread with pink or red jam.

Valentine smoothie:  Blend one frozen banana, sliced, with a cup or two of fresh or frozen strawberries and milk (soy, rice or regular) till it's the desired consistency.  Add honey or a scoop of frozen juice concentrate for sweetener, if desired.  Yum!

Heart tarts: cut pie crust with a heart shaped cookie cutter and push up the edges.  Fill with a small spoonful of jelly or jam and bake at 350 until golden (10 minutes, max).

Heart cut-out sandwiches: Spread a piece of bread with peanut butter or cream cheese.  Top with a layer of jam or jelly.  Use a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut a heart out of the center of another piece of bread.  Top the jelly bread with the piece with the "window."  Use the heart shapes for mini sandwiches.

To make a heart-shaped cake: Prepare a two layer cake, pouring half into a round cake pan and half into a square one.  After it's baked and cooled, cut the round cake in half, forming two half circles.  Arrange the square on a plate and turn so it's a diamond.  Put one half circle against each of the top sides, forming a heart shape.  Frost.

To make heart-shaped pancakes: Squeeze into heart shapes from a turkey baster.

To make heart shaped cupcakes:  Pour batter into cupcake liners. Crumple a piece of foil into a ball about the size of a marble and push it down between the cup and the pan to form the round top of a heart.  Bake as usual.


Sensory Integration tip:
Magical Mama Lauren shared this wonderful idea....

"We had trouble with my son during circle time in school, inching closer to people to be touching them.  I bought him a "touch" ball.  It's a small koosh ball that he keeps in his pocket and can take it out and squeeze it when he needs touch.  He also morphed it into his anger ball and will squeeze it when he's mad to help him control his hands."

What a wonderful idea!  I think I need one of those... :)


Snow Dough

1 c. flour
1/2 c. salt
1 Tbsp. oil
1 c. water
2 tsp. cream of tartar
2 - 3 tsp.  white powdered tempera paint (optional)

Mix everything in a pan except glitter.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the dough thickens and pulls away from pan. Remove from pan, cool till cool enough to touch. Knead until smooth, then add glitter.  Store in plastic container.


Counting Change

Here are a few tips for teaching money to little ones...

More on Epsom Salts...

Last month I shared information about parents using epsom salt baths to help kids with everything from migraines to autism spectrum disorders.  Magical Mama Shannon wrote in and shared this:

We use Epsom salts for 'growing pains,' which my dd Asia suffers from terribly from time to time. Works like a charm... and it also does really relax and settle her.  We don't feel comfortable giving Tylenol for something like that, nor did we find the creams and rubs for aching muscles helpful.  My dad shared that he also had awful growing pains and this is what his mom did.

Thanks Shannon!


On the subject of ADHD, Magical Mama Holly wrote in:

I would like you tell you about a list I own. It's called ADHD_DrugFree at yahoogroups. The links page is open to non members and is filled with info from a beginners guide to alternative treatment for ADHD on to info about a food intolerance test. The info found on the links page is very useful!

I checked it out and it's a huge list of articles on everything from auditory integration therapy to nutritional information to 50 conditions that mimic ADHD.  A great resource.   Thanks Holly!


Magical Mama Tamar shared this fun idea:

A few days ago my three year old daughter and I spent time with a friend of hers and her mom. The kids played and then it seemed that they didn't know what else to do. I suddenly had an idea about a nice game they could play. We sent them to the other room telling them to decide what animal they wanted to act like and come back like that animal, and we moms would try to understand what animal they were. It worked beautifully and they kept on playing that on other occasions too.

Great idea!  Thanks Tamar!


Dr. Seuss!

March 2nd is Dr. Seuss's birthday.  This wonderful page has art projects, lesson plans, printables and tons more to help you celebrate the occasion with your little ones.  Make a Cat in the Hat hat, play a Yertyl the Turtle paper plate stacking game, graph favorite books, make green eggs and ham (to skip the food coloring, stir in a half cup of finely chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained well), print the Dr. Seuss ABC's sheet to practice writing, and lots more.  A great site!!


10 Ways to Make Today Magical....

1.  Plan a slumber party with a mama friend and her kiddos.  Everybody camp out on the living room floor, eat popcorn, watch movies and stay up late.

2.  Spend the day in dress up clothes (you too!).  The more elaborate, the better.  Make meals match the themes.

3.  Have a camp-out inside.  Bring in lawn chairs and eat around a pretend campfire drawn on a large sheet of paper (or crumple orange paper for coals and roll up brown paper for logs). After dinner, roast marshmallows over candles.  You can even make s'mores!  Sing campfire songs and then turn out the lights and tell stories with the flashlight.

4.  Challenge everybody in the family not to say a common word (like we, day or because) all day.  Give each person a number of pennies, dragon tears or clothespins to clip on their clothes, and when someone catches them saying the taboo word they have to pay one item.  Whoever has the most at the end of the day wins a prize you all agree on.

5.  Alter some art together.  Find an unloved painting or picture and take it out of its frame.  Together with the kids, draw, paint, color, glue and/or otherwise change it and make it a family masterpiece.  Have everybody sign and date it, pop it back under glass, and hang.

6.  Be tourists in your own town.  Visit stores and museums, window shop and see everything through fresh eyes.  Try to hit at least one place you've never stopped at.

7.  Go maple syrup tapping.

8.  "Bake" treats for the birds or beasties together.  Give your kids complete culinary freedom and assemble a selection of ingredients they can use to create their own dishes for the wildlife in your yard.  Put out bird seed, peanut butter, orange halves, stale bread, nuts, berries, anything you have on hand and let the kids mix, sculpt and invent concoctions to deliver to their furry and feathered friends.

9.  Make up valentines for neighbors, community workers and others who might not get any otherwise.  Even better, bake treats to deliver with them.

10. Make dinner festive and really dress up the table.  Involve the kids in finding fancy tablecloths (sheets, extra fabric and large scarves can be layered in funky or sophisticated ways), alternative place mats and elaborate centerpieces.  Challenge them to be super creative and use unexpected materials-- branches, mardis gras beads, blocks, rocks, silk flowers, mirrors, you name it.


And with that, chickadees, I'm off to avoid housework and read a pile of books with some little people.  Hug your kids, count your blessings and don't forget to take care of you!

~ Alicia

A Magical Childhood
Copyright 2005, 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 or  We do not use ads.  It's not about money.  :)

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