Magical Childhood Newsletter
Volume 78
March 22, 2008

Hello, magical you!  I hope this newsletter finds you happy, healthy and with an abundance of chocolate.  ;)

All is great here.  Alex is ten months old and is such a fun little blessing.  Jack is nearly five and is teetering between little boy and big kid.  We've been doing extra reading and crafts together to make up for how much of me the baby needs.  Annalee turned eight and is blossoming.  One minute she is still such a little girl and the next minute she looks and acts like a teenager!  Victoria is nearing ten and I've been telling her that she's growing up too fast.  She has been an invaluable help with the baby and she is already such a little mother. 

It's hard to believe that I started these newsletters when I just had a baby and a tiny girl!  Thanks for keeping me company during this crazy, sweet, fun, amazing journey.  Sorry that I sometimes disappear for months when it gets really hectic.  I try to send along some really cool stuff when I get back to make it worth it.  :)

So enough yapping!  On with the good stuff....


Splatter fairies!  This creative family made the cutest little fairies with just a bit of paint, a straw, a pen and some imagination.  I love them!


Here's a chart that talks about physical, intellectual, social, moral and emotional development in children of different ages.  Not only does it tell what's normal for each age, but it also lists things that are recommended for effective parenting in that area.  Very helpful!


Last year I recommended the picture book Bad Kitty and many of you wrote to say your families loved it too. Magical Mama Ina said:

We fell in love with the book as soon as we got it.  It's one of the few my husband truly enjoys reading to the kids.  We are especially fond of "endangered the goldfish", "loitered", and "filed our taxes".  :-)

Now there is a new one to recommend!  Magical Mama Erin wrote in:

The SAGA of the Bad Kitty resumes!!! Whoo-Pee!!!! My daughter and I LOVED the Bad Kitty book and now the Poor Puppy book is out!  I just got it for her xmas!  And it was Funny!  It's also a number and ABC book! It counts as high as 26, same number as the letters of the alphabet.

It's on our list of books to find at the library.  Thanks Erin!


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

-- Roger Lewin


Scratch!  MIT has a free website and program designed to help children learn how to program.  From the website:

Scratch is a new programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art -- and share your creations on the web.

Scratch is designed to help young people (ages 8 and up) develop 21st century learning skills. As they create Scratch projects, young people learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also gaining a deeper understanding of the process of design.

Victoria has already written a game and a little funny animated movie.  She's having fun looking at the codes and figuring out how others programmed their work too.  There is a page for educators and lots more on this site, too. 

I do recommend exploring the site on your own first to get a feel for it and being there with your kids while they are on it.  Since there are forums and comments, children may see inappropriate messages from other kids.  Victoria was mildly bothered by some somewhat rude messages left on some other people's programs but I have not seen anything truly out of line and nobody has left inappropriate messages on hers.  Children can also use the software and view/play other people's programs offline if you don't want them to have access to the comments and forums.  This is a really neat resource and I still highly recommend it.


Here's a sweet present for a loved one that a child of any age can make.  Give the child a sheet of white paper and some crayons, markers or paints in just a few colors or lots.  Ask her to draw or paint a special picture for the loved one and sign it.  Have her help pick out a pretty frame from a dollar store and frame it.  Voila, an inexpensive but priceless gift.

You can also coordinate these to the recipient's tastes.  Give young kids just a couple of colors like blue and yellow to match Grandma's kitchen or a favorite uncle's favorite football team.  Give little ones sponge shapes and a couple of colors of paint to make it easier to make their masterpieces.


To help kids remember how to spell a word, have them write segments with different colored pens or pencils.  For instance, 
VITAMIN.  Being able to see the parts makes it much easier to remember how to spell it as a whole.

Kids who are kinesthetic learners (who learn best by moving and touching) can also benefit from moving while they spell it.  For instance, they can bounce a ball with you and say one letter with each bounce.  Kinesthetic learners also do well writing spelling words in shaving cream, salt or lotion on a cookie sheet or forming them out of playdough.

It's also just more fun that way!


Magical Mama Barb shared this great project for cute little shoes.  She wrote:

They look similar to Robeez and the other brands, but they're made of fabric and they're just adorable! You can find the tute here:

Thanks Barb!

Mixing it up....

I consider myself so lucky that I have such a range of ages of children at once right now.  I have a baby to nurse and cuddle, a preschooler learning to read who considers me his best friend, an eight year old little girl who loves to play, and a "tween" to help out and have long, philosophical conversations with.

I try to mix up what I do with the kids and not base our interaction too much on their ages, though.  I still rock and baby my four year old.  I do whimsical, little kid stuff with my oldest.  I have deep conversations with the younger ones and act silly and maternal with the big ones.

I remember visiting my mother when I was 30 once and she pulled me onto her lap.  I protested that I was a little old and she told me "You're never too old to sit on your mother's lap!".  I remember thinking she was right.  It felt nice to be there and to feel little again, and I was already a mother myself.  I never forgot that feeling and I have always made an effort to give my kids those occasional little kid moments no matter how big they seem to be on the outside.

Likewise, it can be easy to think of little ones as too young to understand deep concepts or enjoy older activities.  I try to give my little ones occasional grown-up moments with me nonetheless and it has led to some wonderful memories.  I have had deep conversations with a two year old in our front yard under the stars. I have gone out for coffee and hot chocolate with a preschooler and had some pretty neat conversations.  My little ones always seem to relish these times when they get to feel so grown up.

Big kids never outgrow the love of the occasional little kid game or snuggle with mama.  Little kids adore being treated like big people.  Next time you have a little extra one-on-one time, try not to be at all age appropriate!  It might lead to a magical memory.


Here's a sweet little kitchen you can make from a cardboard box and a few spare parts.  What a darling project!


Magical mama Lori wrote in...

Try going to home depot and get those self adhesive tiles.  I stick two back to back and then let the kids slide on the carpet with them.  They usually like to push themselves around with brooms or the swiffer that is now called "The Skaping Stick" because my son can't say skating.

What fun!  Thanks Lori!


Ten Ways to Make Today Magical....

1.  Send your child a funny card in the mail. 

2.  Give each other facials.  Magical Mama Nancy says that even her boys like to goop her up and feel like they're pampering her.

3.  Start the day with a fantastic, impractical, fun breakfast splurge like a pancake cake (spread jam between layers of pancakes, then decorate with a light dusting of powdered sugar, piped jam and some whipped cream if you want to be especially decadent.  Poke some candles in, set them on fire and sing "Happy Morning"!  Make portions small and serve some healthy stuff in the mix somewhere so they don't end up with stomach aches and sugar highs!  :)

4.  Longing for spring?  Fill an old baking pan with potting soil and grass seed and put it by a sunny window to grow your own miniature lawn.  Let your child trim it with safety scissors.

5.  Give the kids an assortment of grapes, melon cubes and other small fruit shapes, plus a box of toothpicks.  Let them create fruit sculptures and contraptions and then eat their work.

6.  Sign up for a walkathon or other fundraiser to take part in together.

7.  Plan a family "pride week" the way high schools do.  Assign a different theme to each day (all one color, PJ's, backwards clothes, funny hats, dress like a career, Hawaiian, toga...) and plan snacks and activities around the themes.  Sound like a lot of work?  List the themes by day and put the kids in charge of coming up with their costumes and games and snack ideas.

8.  Make memory stepping stones.  Use a kit or do it yourself, and then press in shells and rocks from vacations, smooth bits of broken toys, dragon tears or whatever strikes your fancy.  Here's some instructions:

9.  Put bells on your little one's shoes.  Thread one each through the laces and then double knot to keep them on (and out of little mouths) and tie as usual.  They will make music wherever they go!

10. Play in the mud.  Spring is here in our part of the world and that means mud season.  Dress yourself and the kids in old clothes and go get dirty!  Really dirty!  Squish your toes in it, play in it with sticks, smush it and smack it.  It's messy but it's fun, and the kids will love you for joining them in the silliness.


And with that, I'm off to tackle the other 85 things on my to-do list.  :) 

Have a wonderful month. 

Kiss your babies, count your blessings, and don't forget to take care of you!

~ Alicia

A Magical Childhood
Copyright 2008, 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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