Magical Childhood Newsletter
February 12, 2007
I hope February is being
good to you. It's been rather nippy in our part of the world! We're
all a little stir crazy but I keep telling myself that we have to have
the miserable cold to truly appreciate the wonderful warm when spring
comes. :) I'm burning the midnight oil tonight to get this out in
time for Valentine's Day so I'll quit yapping and get on with it....
theme by theme....
Here's ways to work the holiday into every subject.
This site has instructions on how to make a beautiful little
from garbage bags, card stock and
embellishments. This craft
can be made by older children or moms can premake the books for little
ones to decorate.
painted hearts to teach about symmetry. Fold
pieces of paper in
half and show the kids how to draw a half heart shape, cut it out and
unfold it to form a heart. Give them some small dishes of tempera
paint and ask them to drop various blobs of it on the inside of the
heart, then fold it shut again. When they open it up again, they'll
have a pattern that is symmetrical -- the same on both sides. Talk
about what else is symmetrical -- some shapes, our bodies, lots of
trees.... and then ask them to find examples of things that are and
are not symmetrical around the house or in magazines.
Make festive ice cubes by filling ice trays with water and then
dropping in red hots, raspberries or other red goodies.
Kids can make easy
Valentines biscuits by
reshaping canned biscuits into heart shapes with their fingers before
baking. Alternately, you
can make homemade biscuits and cut them out with a heart shaped cookie
Chocolate Chip math. My girls have loved
after dinner treat
for years. I get a little pile of chocolate chips and just take turns
asking them math questions. Each one they get right earns them a
You could use Valentine's candies as well.
Use M&M's to make a graph. Have the kids poll friends and family
about their favorite colors. Ask lots of people and write down the
totals for each color. Then lay out the M&M's on a piece of paper
represent how many people liked each color. You may have to use dimes
to represent "other" since some people will pick colors that aren't in
standard M&M packs, like pink and purple (or see if you can find an
pack, since those generally have pastels). Eat the results!
Valentines Science-- Buy some white carnations and put them in a glass
of water with some red food coloring. Watch what happens and talk to
the kids about what's going on.
If you live in a warmer climate that still has insect
outside, do some nature studies. Have the kids leave several types of
Valentines candy outside in an area where they've seen ants. Also
leave a few natural sweets like fruit, and protein like small bits of
nut. Have the kids watch to see if the ants have a preference for
what they choose to try to carry off. Talk about why they might
choose one type of food over another. Leave some seeds in the area
and watch to see if birds will visit and take any of the types of
food. Did they pick different treats?
This page has ideas for homemade Valentines fruit
jigglers, crafts and more:
You can find lots of crafts and activities for Valentines Day here:
(some pages may require membership but there are lots of free ideas)
Here's a neat page of learning ideas related to this
You can find a list of chocolate related books and movies, play "You
ate my chocolate bar!" (a variation of Battleship), explore links
about things like how chocolate is made and where it's grown, do a
taste test of different kinds of chocolate and more.
And here's lots of great ideas for Valentines Day fun for preschoolers:
Magical Mama Neve shared
this Valentine's idea...
"I went to a Crayola presentation today...done
by a rep.
She had a cute simple easy valentine.
She bought the rolled up paper that you'd put in a calculator that
prints from Home Depot.
You measure either the length (height) of yourself or your arms spread
out (which evidently is your height).
Then cut the paper so the paper is the length of the kiddo (or
represents the length of
your arms stretched out to hug).
You then decorate the white paper with cut out hearts, glitter etc...
whatever you want.
I decorated mine at the ends with construction paper with one of my
hand cut outs on one end, one on the other.
I also accordion folded my long white paper (5 feet 2) and cut out
Anyway when the person opens it up they automatically open up their
arms as if needing a hug...in other words it is a HUG that you
send...and then the recipient gets a hug.
It was cute, simple, the youngest kiddos could do it...and it captures
height, in my case hand size etc...."
Sounds fun! Thanks Neve!
It's back! The Great Backyard Bird Count!
We participated in this fun and educational activity last year and we
all really enjoyed it. From February 16-19, people log how many birds
they see in a certain spot over a short period of time. Help
scientists, help the birds, and be part of something taking part all
over the United States and Canada. The site also has coloring pages
about birds, information, slide shows and contests.
Here's a great idea for teachers, day care workers and others who
with kids and need a lift:
"I made a
"Code Blue" Folder where I keep things that
make me smile:
nice notes from parents, particularly nice pictures from kids, etc.
This way you can take it out and it makes you
feel better anytime you
(Original author unknown)
This is also a good reminder to thank those who are doing a good
with our kiddos!
Magical Mama Janina
shared this site that lists recommended books for
preschoolers by themes like "nap time and bedtime" and "science and
nature." She writes:
"A lot of these books we love and read
there are some new ones on here for me, and I like how they are
organized, but loosely. Enjoy!"
The National Gallery of Victoria has a
wonderful list of 10 activities
for young children to do while visiting their gallery. The ideas could
be used for any art gallery and include ideas like:
~ Going on a treasure hunt for art objects that are gold, funny or very
~ Finding a painting the child really likes and coming up with her own
name for it;
~ Copying the face of a person in a painting they like and
~ Finding artwork that makes them laugh or feel sad.
See the whole list here:
masterpieces, this site has crayon-by-number pages for
famous works of art. Fun!
A few fun crafts
we've been doing....
You know I'm a big believer in crafts that take almost no advance prep,
special supplies or adult intervention. Here's some stuff the kids
have been doing around here that fit the bill.
- Mixed up
pictures: Magical Mama Jeanne introduced my kids to this one. Give
them old magazines, scissors, white paper and glue, paste or a glue
stick. Have them make crazy mixed up pictures by cutting different
images and putting them all together, like a dog with a woman's head.
They come up with some pretty creative stuff!
- Turntable art:
Someone gave us an old record player that had seen better days and I
was going to donate it till a friend reminded me of its craft
potential. We stuck paper plates on the turntable, turned it on and
drizzled paint as it spun around. It made neat designs but was quite
messy, so next we just used crayons and markers to make cool patterns.
That was almost as much fun and not nearly as crazy making for mama!
:) Kids can stick a sticker over the hole in the center when they're
- Chinese New Year
decorations: February 20th is the Chinese New Year this year and
Magical Daddy Daryl set the kids up with all sorts of fun traditional
paper crafts. They made cut paper shapes of fish, pagodas and other
symbols and then colored them various shades of red since that's
supposed to be a good luck color. They also made paper lanterns and a
long, accordion folded dragon. He got most of the ideas at this great
- Paper puzzles:
The kids cut out pictures from old magazines and then cut them into
large, curved shapes to make puzzles.
- And of course,
making a million Valentines and paper plate pocket mailboxes for the
ones they get. To make the pocket mailboxes, just cut a paper plate in
half and staple it to the bottom half of another paper plate, forming a
pocket. Staple together, punch a couple of holes in the top, thread
ribbon or yarn for hanging, and decorate.
What crafts have you been up to? If you have any neat ideas to share,
send them in and I'll pass them on in the newsletter.
Ten Ways to Make Today Magical...
1. Make a
Valentine's gingerbread house with graham crackers and white
frosting for glue (for an easy homemade version just beat powdered
sugar with enough shortening to make it spreading consistency).
Decorate the house with candy hearts, red hots, kisses and other candy
2. Play "Catch It!". First, get a bowl of pennies, marbles or other
little objects you can use as counters. Put in a family movie or watch
a favorite TV show and agree ahead of time on what word will be the
secret word. It should be one that will be said fairly often like the
name of a character. As you watch the movie, shout "Catch it!" every
time someone says the secret word. The first person to shout "Catch
it!" gets a counter. If more than one person shout it at exactly the
same time, all the players who shouted it get one counter. At the end
of the movie, the person with the most counters wins a silly prize
(like getting to wear a goofy hat for the rest of the night).
3. Make a batch of cupcakes and frost them. Then set out all
different little toppings (berries, coconut, candies, chocolate chips,
etc.) and let the kids decorate them all to make individual
4. Get out your child's baby book or scrapbook and go through it with
him. Talk about what he was like as a baby and what your favorite
memories are. Even teenagers secretly love to hear this stuff!
5. Go on a leisurely drive and make up stories about who lives in the
houses you pass. Make up awards and pick the winners for each street,
like most creative yard and best color. Pick your favorite for each
area and the one you like the least.
6. Call a local retirement community and ask if your kids can take on
an art project like decorating an area of a hall each month, handing
out cards to residents or helping out with scheduled craft activities.
The residents usually love the chance to see children and happily
display their art, and the kids get doted on by friendly and
fascinating elders. If your kids are older or not into crafts, see if
there's another area of interest where they can participate. Many
communities have activities from billiards to gardening where they
could use a hand. You can get hesitant teens into it by pointing out
it will look great on a transcript!
7. Start a tradition of picking up one brand new food every week at
the grocery store. Let the kids take turns picking out the food, which
can be anything from an ethnic drink (Who's brave enough to try "Grass
Jelly Drink" from Vietnam? It has chunks of real grass in jelly!!!) to
an exotic fruit. Make sure it's strictly voluntary to try the items
and make it fun.
8. Play the gratitude letter game to pass time driving or waiting
together. Pick a letter and then go back and forth naming things
you're grateful for that start with that letter. Teens and adults can
have a minimum number of syllables (like words of 3 or more syllables)
to keep it challenging with younger players. The words can be anything
at all that you're glad to have in your life, from artichokes to Aunt
9. Do silly makeovers on each other.
10. Start a thank you book. Each day write down one thing for your
child that you're thankful for. It can be tangible things like helping
her sister with homework or sentimental things like having such a
contagious laugh. Keep it in her room so she can read it at the end of
that, my dears, I'm off.
Hug your kiddos, count your blessings, and don't forget to take care of
Till next time,
2006, Alicia Bayer
A Magical Childhood Newsletter is just something
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