Magical Childhood Newsletter
Volume 72
February 12, 2006

Hello at last!  Sorry to be gone so long.  Life has been chaotic & I am once again behind on everything but my heartbeat.

I hope you and yours are warm and toasty.  We're in the part of the world where Arctic winter descends around October and stays for 6 months and then I grumble a lot about why in the world I live here.  :)  The snow is pretty though, and at least we don't have giant prawns that hide in the cupboards or swarms of bees...  You always have to look for a bright side!

All is good here.  Victoria has learned to ice skate, Anna learned to read and Jack continually masters new ways to drive us all crazy.  His latest trick is hiding very, very well and scaring me witless.  Ah, toddlers.  They take years off our lives but they really are such wonderful little people.  And so exhausting!

And now, here's some of this and that I've put together for you....


Here's an idea to make fun Valentines mailboxes for lots of kids.  Use a liquor store box from wine or other bottles, since they have many compartments.  Lay it on its side and have the kids help decorate it with materials like wrapping paper and stickers, then label each compartment with a child's name.  Voila!  Instant post office.


Magical Mama Chanin shares this neat idea:

One fun thing we've done is use old plastic spice bottles, aromatherapy oil, and cotton balls to make sensory toys.  A couple drops of oil on the cotton balls, snap them inside with the cap that has holes in it, and screw on the lid.  My kids (4 1/2 & 1 1/2) love them.  We have five:  peppermint, orange, lemon, jasmine, and lavender.

Thanks Chanin!

We've done a similar activity with groups of kids where we put cotton balls and a few drops of scent in empty film canisters.  We made two of each scent and then gave one to each child with the assignment to find the child who has the matching scent.


New on the Magical Childhood site:
Ten Ways to Make It Through The Day With A Toddler
(in the articles section)


Magical Mama Lonni shared this idea to cheer up ourselves and friends...

A goofy, but helpful thing I started is a letter we pass back and forth online. You've seen those lists: 101 Reasons To Be Happy.....well, this is my spin off. Those lists are cute but they are someone else's and you forget about it after you finish looking at it.  I made a "what makes you happy" letter on smiley face stationery and we take turns adding to it when we get it back from the other person. You just add one reason to be happy or 1 thing that made you happy that day. It has turned up some really interesting things that we might not other wise stop to think about. She liked the idea so much she started one with some other people too. It's something fun to look forward to everyday and reminds us of how good we really have it!

How fun!  Thanks Lonni!


"I was born and raised with crocodiles; they are a piece of cake. But kids are so...unpredictable."
~ "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin


Here's an easy way to make your own stamps with the kids.  Use these to make valentines, stationary, scrapbooking pages, wrapping paper or just fun art.


3-4" lengths of wood dowel or empty film canisters
1 small sheet of fun foam or sponge
Extra Tacky Glue

Simply cut designs (hearts, half moons, flowers, stars, etc.) out of fun foam or sponge and then glue the foam shape to the dowel or film canister.  Kids can brush on paint, dip in shallow paint or use stamp pads and then simply stamp the designs.


We do not stop playing because we grow old,
we grow old because we stop playing.
~ Benjamin Franklin


Overheard online:
Tissue Paper Valentines

These make great Valentine's Day cards or decorations, and they're easy to do!
You will need:

Red, white, pink or purple construction paper
White glue
Crayons or colored pens
Squares (1" x 1") of tissue paper
A pencil

Cut the tissue paper into small squares.

Draw a large heart shape on your piece of construction paper. Cut it out if you want.

Pour a small amount of glue onto a plastic lid or piece of newspaper. Place the pencil eraser in the middle of one of the squares of tissue paper. Wrap the tissue paper around the end of the pencil - allow it to wrinkle. Dip the end of the pencil/tissue paper into the glue, then press it down on the construction paper. Lift the pencil out gently, leaving the tissue paper on the heart.

Continue in this way until you have your heart completely decorated. You can work in rows, using different colored tissue paper, or just place the tissue on any way you want.
NOTE: If you want to put something in the center of your heart, we recommend gluing or drawing it before you start placing your tissue squares. It's much easier that way.
(original author unknown)

Our Results:
We road tested this and found it harder for the kids than it sounds.  Victoria (nearly 8) was able to do it with some frustration.  She eventually developed her own technique that was similar but easier.  Annalee (just turned 6) crumpled up little balls of tissue paper , dipped them in the glue and then pasted them into her design.  Jack (nearly 3) just painted glue in his shape with a paintbrush and then flattened the squares of tissue paper in the design.

I recommend following the basic idea of making a large shape and filling it in with the tissue paper, but let the kids find the method that works best for them.  When we did that, all three kids had a ball and made really beautiful stuff.


Here's another sweet poem to make you feel better about that messy house.  ;)

This is a Home Where Children Live

You may not find things all in place,
Friend, when you enter here.
But, we're a home where children live,
We hold them very dear.

And you may find small fingerprints
And smudges on the wall.
When the kids are gone, we'll clean them up,
Right now we're playing ball.

For there's one thing of which we're sure,
These children are on loan.
One day they're always underfoot,
Next thing you know, they're gone.

That's when we'll have a well kept house,
When they're off on their own.
Right now, this is where children live,
A loved and lived in home.

~Judith Bond


Magical mama Celina shared...

I have been having a great time making the paper toys from this site,  She has stuff scattered ALL over her site, and there is a super cute story called "when a griffin comes to visit" that my boys love.

It looks wonderful.  Thanks Celina!


Got a car trip coming up?  Try bringing Color Forms for the kids to use on the windows.  Those fun little self-sticking shapes come in lots of designs and even in letters and numbers.  Kids can make their own creations on the window and then just peel them off.


The American Heart Association recommends that children age 2 or older should engage in fun physical activity for at least 30 minutes per day (60 is better), plus 30 minutes of more vigorous exercise three to four times a week. That can be hard when the weather is bad or you're unable to get outside on a daily basis.  Here are some ways we get our daily dose of movement even when we're stuck inside.

And on the Olympic theme, here's an idea from Magical Mama Jessica:

The other day my 16 month old played baby hockey--she had gotten out a roller broom (in imitation of me vacuuming) & I spread out plastic Christmas ornaments all over the living room for her to push around.

How fun!

Magical Mama Christina writes:

Buy (cheap) gumdrops and a box of toothpicks - now build!
My daughter (4) designed the coolest playground with her Daddy!

Thanks Christina!  What a fun daddy!  You could also use dried fruit like diced pineapple and papaya.  Or used chopped veggies of all kinds and make a sculpture lunch...


Books!  Magical Mama Beth sent in this fabulous list of books.  She writes:

I am a Children's Librarian in Indiana who is addicted to your site. I know you like to share yummy books with the other Magical Mamas who read your site too… so I thought I would give you a list of books that the Children's Librarians in my area have decided are worthy of awards…

I Ain't Gonna Paint No More by Karen Beaumont

He's Got the Whole World In His Hands by the illustrator Kadir Nelson

Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel –so cute!

The Great Fuzz Frenzy – you'll never look at a tennis ball the same again

Danitra Brown: Class Clown  by Nikki Grimes --- a wonderful friendship story

Winter Lights by Anna Hine – pictures are done by quilting

Sleepy Cadillac: A Bedtime Drive  by Thacher Hurd

Puppies! Puppies! Puppies!  by Susan Meyers – I actually bought this book for my 7 mo. old because he's so obsessed with doggies

The Pea Blossom by Amy Lowry Poole

White is for Blueberry by George Shannon – a color book with a twist

Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems – he used to write for Sesame Street and is coming up with cute books nowadays – this one is my favorite! (note from Alicia: we love this one too, as well as all of Mo's books)

The Wheels on the Race Car by Alexander Zane – your Jonathon will love this one!

Our Tree Named Steve by Alan Zweibel – every family should have a treelike this

Thanks Beth!  I can't wait to look for these at our library.


10 Ways to Make Today Magical...

1.  Play tourist in your town or a nearby one.  Stop by the visitor center or chamber of commerce to find out about neat things to do.  Visit that museum you never got around to checking out.  Window shop, look for souvenirs and see it all with fresh eyes.  Then make up the spare bedroom or living room and stay at a "hotel" at home.

2.  Play Mr. Potato Head the original way, with a real potato.  Either use the plastic parts or make your own with toothpicks, stuffed olives for eyes and so on.

3.  Get together the kids and some friends and help them put together a short program (song and dance, carols, even stand-up!), then visit a retirement home and perform it for the residents.  Let the kids be in charge and don't worry about perfection.  I guarantee you'll make their day.

4.  Get out the calendar with the kids and dream up some appointments and to-do items to add in of your own for the upcoming months-- wear purple on May 3rd, picnic under the table on september 9th and so on.

5.  Make ice ornaments for a tree outside.  Just freeze colored water in ice cube trays, candy molds, muffin tins and other small containers, with a loop of string in each one. Add natural materials for decorations if you like.  Pop out when they're frozen and hang them outside.  Don't worry if they'll melt out there.  Turn it into a science experiment and place bets on how long they'll last!

6.  Make up a secret goodie basket for a teacher or neighbor.  Put in some tasty treats and a note about how special the recipient is, then leave it as a surprise and make someone's day.

7.  Teach your child how to make a special recipe.  If you can, videotape it as you make it together.  Your child will have the recipe and the memory forever.

8.  Have a "snowball fight" inside with crumpled paper.

9. Use washable markers, tempera paint mixed with a bit of dish soap or window markers to decorate a window or mirror together.  "Gel effects" markers (meant for dark paper) look especially bright.  Just be sure they're not permanent!

10. Take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, from February 17-20.  You don't even need a back yard to participate!  For more info, see:


And with that, my dears, I'm off again.  I already have lots of neat stuff for the next issue so hopefully I won't be so long!  Kiss your kiddos, help your neighbors, and take very good care of you!

~ Alicia

A Magical Childhood
Copyright 2006, 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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