Magical Childhood Newsletter
Volume 71
October 31, 2005

Hello Magical You!  I hope you and your loved ones are safe and well.  This has been a hard time for so many people here in the states and around the world.  It's a good reminder to count your blessings, hug your kids and help your neighbors (and of course we're all neighbors).

And now on with the goodies...


Free books for kids
Dolly Parton's "Imagination Library" is a wonderful program for children under 5 where each month your child gets another free book in the mail.  The program is often funded by local organizations and now reaches children in 500 communities in 40 states.  See more details here:


This is so fun! Bang on Time
Here's a game where children read the time in words and then stop the clock when the hands are in the matching position. You can adjust the speed of the hands to change the difficulty level.  I even did it a few times.  :)


Food for Thought

"In a well-publicized study of 1 million New York City schoolchildren, IQ scores improved by 14 percent after additives, dyes, artificial flavorings and colors were removed from their lunches!"

(Ladies' Home Journal, September 2005)


Must read!
Anybody who's ever loved a toddler simply must pick up a copy of Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems (author of Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus -- which is another fabulous book).  Knuffle Bunny tells us the tale of one year old Trixie, who goes to the laundromat with her daddy and has a toddler catastrophe when her beloved stuffed animal disappears.  The faces on both Trixie (who can't talk yet and tell what's the matter) and Daddy during the ensuing drama are dead-on accurate and priceless.  Go hound your library and find a copy.  It's wonderful fun.


Phonetic Puzzle Plates
Here is an easy, fun, inexpensive way to teach your children the basic phonetic sounds.

You will need 26 paper plates, markers, magazines and glue.

On one half of each paper plate you will paste or draw a picture (i.e., an apple) and on the other side of the plate write the lower case letter that corresponds.  Down the center of the plate draw, and then cut, a simple zig zag pattern, different for each plate.  Remember, when you first introduce the vowels to always start with the short vowel sounds ("a" as in apple, "e" as in egg, "i" as in igloo, "o" as in octopus and "u" as in umbrella).

To use the puzzle plates, simply lay out a row (start with three and add a few each time) with the picture, and below that, lay out a row with the corresponding letter sound.  Show the child how to match the picture and sound and then connect (self correct) the zig zag pattern together.

(original author unknown)


The Power of Choices

Want more cooperation from your kids?  Offer more choices!  From toddlers to teens, kids are much more likely to do what you want if they have a feeling of control over it.  I've been consciously doing this with all 3 of my children for a while now and it is really effective.  If I ask Annalee (5) to set the table she will often drag her feet or keep on playing.  If I say, "Annalee, do you want to put out the dishes or pour the water?" she'll generally pick one and do it.

This is especially helpful with toddlers.  Jack (2) is a stubborn little guy and likes to say no just for the sound of it.  Instead of giving orders, I ask questions like "Would you like to put on your shirt first or pants?" when I need him to get dressed, or "Do you want to climb into your car seat or should I put you in?" when I need him to get into the car.

All 3 kids have been much more helpful with housework since I let them start picking which jobs they wanted to do.  We even have a jar I put out with chores we need done written on slips of paper.  They may dig through it 10 times to find the two they feel like doing, but they're still doing two necessary chores.

Be sure to give real choices!  "Do you want to clean your room or get grounded?" is not quite an empowering choice.  :)


These are great fun!

Scratch & Sniff Watercolors

1 Tbs. unsweetened powdered drink mix
1 Tbs. warm water
several small containers (muffin tins work well)

Mix water & drink mix together in a small bowl.  Repeat this step several times, using
various flavors of drink mix to create different colors of paint.  Allow to dry overnight
before scratching & sniffing.


"Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do on a rainy afternoon."
  --Susan Ertz


  Magical Mama Celina shared this wonderful craft:

I have another addition for your dress up box: knight's helmets.
We just did this, and it turned out Wonderfully. I bought 4 sheets of poster board and was able to make 3 helmets (they say that it is one sheet per helmet, but that does NOT include the visor, I got 3 visors out of one sheet) and they have survived 2 days of constant battering with swords. The smallest kids look like the white knight from Alice.

She also adds:

And I'd like to add an author to your reading list: Enid Blyton. We are reading and re-reading her Faraway Tree series.

I've heard good things about Enid Blyton too.  I'll have to check her out!


Canon offers some really wonderful stuff you can print out and download for free, from 3-D models of famous architecture from around the world (you have to see it to believe it!) to origami patterns to pop up cards.  Great stuff!


Send the Children to Bed With a Kiss
(author unknown)

Oh, mothers, so weary, discouraged,
Worn out with the cares of the day,
You often grow cross and impatient,
Complain of the noise and the play.
For the day brings many vexations,
So many things go amiss.
But, mothers, whatever may vex you,
Send the children to bed with a kiss.

The dear little feet often wander,
Perhaps from the pathways of right.
The dear little hands find new mischief
To try you from morning 'til night.
But think of the desolate mothers
Who'd give all the world for your bliss.
And as thanks for your infinite blessings,
Send the children to bed with a kiss.

For someday their noise will not vex you.
The silence will hurt you far more.
You will long for the sweet childish voices,
For a sweet childish face at the door.
And to press a child's face to your bosom,
You'd give all the world just for this.
For the comfort t'will give you in sorrow,
Send the children to bed with a kiss.


10 Ways to Make Today Magical....

1.  Make an outdoor block set out of found rocks, driftwood and other natural materials.

2.  Gather up a bunch of fancy, silly and fun clothes and the digital camera.  Play dress up with the kids and take lots of wacky pictures.  Make copies of the best ones.

3.  Hit the stores this week for post-Halloween clearance sales on face paint, costumes and extras for the dress-up box.

4. Bob for apples.  It's harder than you think!

5.  Decorate a fall tree for the birds.  Cut stale bread into shapes and spread with peanut butter and bird seeds, then poke a hole and hang by ribbons in a nearby tree.  You can also make a bird feeder with those hollowed orange halves and string cranberries or popcorn to make it even more tantalizing.

6.  Make "banana bread in a bag" together (here's a recipe:

7.  Rake the leaves with the kids and jump in the piles with them.

8.  Look for the magic that's abundant in nature this time of year.  Around here, some trees drop "helicopter" seeds that spin like tiny toys and the milkweed pods burst with downy fluff that the kids use to make fake snowstorms.  Acorns make darling little elves with caps or fairy teacups.  Go exploring and see what treats you and the kids can find.

9. Make leaf rubbing note cards for gifts.  Cut some sheets of 8x10 paper in half and then fold each sheet in half to make a card.  Have the kids collect leaves and do rubbings on the fronts with crayons.  They can add patterns and designs.  Leave the insides blank and tie bundles of 10 with some ribbon.  Put them aside for the kids to give as gifts for loved ones during the holidays.  They can also keep a bundle for themselves, to use for writing letters and thank you notes.

10. Try to spend the whole day not saying no once.  Don't tell the kids or you'll get lots of requests for ponies and cars!  If you can't say yes, say something like "Hmm, good idea but how about if we do ___ instead?" or even "I don't think that will work today."  Redirect little ones and use a lot of humor.  See if the tone of the day ends up any better.  It may be harder than you think!


And with that, my dears, I'm out of here.  Have a wonderful month with your sweeties.  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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