Magical Childhood Newsletter
Volume 77
September 25, 2007

Happy Falll! Or for those of you on the other side of our lovely little planet, happy spring!

This is our first edition through the yahoo list and I hope it works out well and doesn't end up as a jumbled mess. :) Many people did not receive the last newsletter so I hope word gets out that we've moved. If you know anybody who subscribes to MC, please pass on our new address. Also, if you see ads down the side of your newsletter, you have your settings on the "new" style through yahoo. At the very end of this newsletter there should be instructions on how to unsubscribe or change your settings to "traditional." This will put the ads at the very bottom where you can hopefully avoid ever seeing them at all.

Enough of that boring old stuff! Let's get on with it then!


Would you rather?

We spent a week in Maine recently and for much of the time I was in charge of my own 4 kids and a friend's 14 year old. This game kept every one of us happy and occupied on long car rides, waiting in restaurants and many other places where mayhem could easily have ensued. How many games are equally fun for a preschooler and a teenager?

For this simple game, just pose questions in "either or" format. For example:

Would you rather go scuba diving or mountain climbing?
Would you rather vacation in Hawaii or France?
Would you rather be a goat or a duck?

We got philosophical (would you rather have a long, boring life or a short, exciting one?) and silly (would you rather dye your hair pink or purple?) and we all took turns asking questions. It was great fun!


A few good Parenting books....

I always recommend great children's books. Here's are some of my favorite parenting books.

Siblings Without Rivalry by Faber and Mazlish

This ought to be required reading the instant you get pregnant with a second child! This insightful book is full of cartoons, examples and helpful advice.

Parents, Please Don't Sit on Your Kids! by Clare Cherry
This wins the award for the strangest title, but it's a useful little book nonetheless and always helps me improve as a mom. The author ran a child care center and her input would be helpful for anybody who spends time around children.

Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline by Becky Bailey
This book is about changing our own outlooks and learning to change the way we react to stress with our children. I find it enormously helpful every time I start reading it again, but I have to admit I've never gotten all the way through it! It's deep, heavy reading but it's worth the effort for me because it helps me handle tough times so much better.

What are your favorite parenting books? Please share and I'll pass them on in future newsletters.


Magical Mama Barb shared these two fabulously creative tutorials. The kitchen especially is absolutely delightful and would be a treasure for any child.

Use an old entertainment center to make a kid's kitchen:

No-sew, customized clothes for the kids:

Thanks Barb!


"The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children."
-- Dietrich Bonhoeffer


Magical Mama Becca came up with this neat animal activity:

"We went to the library today and read a ton of books on animals and then came back to the hotel and drew our own zoo and hung it around the room. Bailey drew animal "food" and the boys matched the food to the animal ( example we drew penguins and bay drew fish and the boys had to tape the fish by the penguins.)"



"Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve."
-- Roger Lewin


Magical Mama Risa wrote in...

"I had a look at your essay (Taming the Tornado), and brought a couple of my son's plastic rakes inside from the sandbox. The kids thought it was a hoot to help me rake up the toys in the living room. :-) "

Tee hee! Glad it helped. As I've said before, you may feel a little silly but as long as it works!


Here's a lovely little craft that even teens and mamas could get into. Make marble magnets from everything from bits of photographs to cool wrapping paper designs. A little tin of them would make a great holiday gift! rafts.php?id=2


Magical Mama Teresa shared:

On eBay you can find VERY old Highlights books for very cheap. I happened to keep mine from childhood and ran across them a few days ago. My son can't get his head out of them. He's having fun looking at the hidden pictures."

Victoria loves "Highlights" too and I bought her a pile of used ones as a gift that has lasted forever. Thanks Teresa!


Some Fun Fall Crafts....

Here's a few fun, easy crafts to celebrate the season.

Twig pencil holders: Have the kids gather up lots of thin twigs. Break or cut them to about 5 inches long. Loosely slip two rubber
bands around a clean, empty soup can (one near the top and one near the bottom) and have the kids slide the twigs under the rubber bands. When the can is covered with twigs, have them loop pretty ribbons over the rubber bands and tie in bows. Kids can also paint their creations before tying the ribbons on, if desired.

Leaf placemats: Have the kids gather up pretty fall leaves and arrange them on a piece of construction paper. Cover with clear
contact paper.

Stained glass pictures: Ask the kids to draw some large, basic fall shapes on a piece of black or brown construction paper with a piece of chalk. Have an adult cut out the shapes with a craft knife. Use the shapes for another use and keep the paper with the "hole." Lay the construction paper over a piece of clear contact paper, so the sticky side is facing up through the holes. Give the kids small pieces of tissue paper in fall colors to press on the sticky contact paper. Seal the back with another sheet of clear contact paper and hang in the window. The sun will shine through the picture like a stained glass window.

"Kid Gourmet" Playdough: Let kids be their own craft chefs with this fun recipe we invented. In a large bowl, have each child mix 2 cups of flour and a half cup of salt. Pour in 3/4 cup of very warm water which has been tinted with a generous dose of food coloring (fall colors like red and orange work well with the scent). Add 2 TBS of oil and stir well. Add a little more flour or oil if it's too wet or dry. Now let the kids sprinkle in the spices of their choice. Good choices are cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, allspice and nutmeg. Though this dough won't taste very good, it's completely non-toxic and smells like it's ready for the table! For a fun tactile treat they can shake in some whole cloves to make bumpy playdough too. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Magical Mama Liz shared this fall craft idea:

Today we are making maple leaf crowns and acorn tops. (Place a large acorn in a vise to hold it still while you hammer a finishing nail
into the cap.) They spin beautifully!

They sound darling. Thanks Liz!


Here is a blog entry with links to ideas for some truly lovely little homemade toys. I especially like the clothespin dolls, the fairy wings and embellished onesies. The travel finger puppet theater is very silly and I suspect kids would love it as well. :)


When's the last time you did something just for yourself? If it's been a while, take the time to give yourself a treat today. Don't forget that our kids learn how to treat themselves by how we treat ourselves! Set a good example about the importance of pampering yourself once in a while. Even a small treat or indulgence can brighten your day. You deserve it!


10 Ways To Make Today Magical....

1. Play in the leaves! Rake them up and jump in the pile. Throw them in the air. Make a big old mess and act like a fool with your little ones.

2. No fall leaves? Cut orange, red and yellow crepe paper streamers into short strips and make a leaf pile in the living room. :) Toss them in the air, rake them in a pile with a toy rake and then use them for crafts when you're done. Crumple the pieces into tiny balls and glue them in leaf shaped patterns on paper or use watered down glue and a paintbrush to glue them to the outside of a cleaned soup can for a pretty fall pencil holder.

3. Make funny little pumpkin and gourd displays together like carved castles, pumpkin sculptures (funny orange snowman, anyone?) or vases (carve the pumpkin as desired and then put a vase of water in it to hold flowers). You can also add Mr. Potato Head parts to a pumpkin for a fun tabletop display (you may have to hammer holes for the kids ahead of time).

4. Visit an apple orchard and have an apple day. Gather enough apples to make applesauce of freeze apple slices for apple pies in the dead of winter. Get lots of varieties and have taste tests to find your favorite varieties. Make apple prints with paint. Bob for apples (it's harder than you think!). Do fraction math with apple wedges. Also check out two wonderful books on the subject-- How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World and Apple Fractions. Both are favorites here!

5. Draw a giant chalk masterpiece together on your driveway, sidewalk, or at a city park.

6. Start a nature journal and set aside a time each day or each week to go out together to fill it up. Make a note of birds, bugs, flowers and other neat stuff you come across. The kids can draw the entries and help label them. Bring ID books to make it easier if you like. You can both write little journal entries about each day's discoveries.

7. Enroll together in a fitness or sports class of your child's choice.
If you want to go less formal, let your child pick out a fitness related video for the family to do together. Take up anything from African dance to Karate to water aerobics. Anything goes! Make it fun and get healthy together.

8. Go to an art museum together. Talk about all the works you see and then go home and do some art together in a style you really liked.

9. Walk silly. When Magical Mama Tiffany has a group of kids to lead somewhere, she has them form a conga line. When Magical Daddy Daryl leads the kids to the van after shopping, he plays follow the leader and has them line up and imitate animals and silly walks after him. It keeps the kids together and leads to lots of giggles.

10. Be an absolute goof with your kids. In any way, at any time, however you like. It's the easiest way of all to make instant fun. :)


And with that, chickadees, I'm off to play with the kids and pretend to clean the house. ;) Have a magical month!

Love, Alicia

A Magical Childhood
Copyright 2007, 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 blank message to  We do not use ads.  It's not about money.  :)

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