Magical Childhood Newsletter
Volume 79
August 28, 2008

Hello!  I'm terribly sorry to be gone so long again.  I seem to make a habit of it!  Perhaps I should officially designate this as an annual newsletter and then I can feel like a fantastic overachiever.  ;)

In any case, I'm back for a bit with lots of fabulous stuff I've found to share.  Let's get on with it then, shall we?


Send your child a potato parade!

I can't tell you how much our family enjoys this goofy little site.  You can type in your kiddo's name and some lovely British potatoes will say hi and put on a wonderful little parade just for him!  We play it for baby Alex and he hoots and points and boogies till he nearly falls over.  You must try it.  :)


Along similar lines, Magical Mama Diana shared these darling ideas on the Magical Childhood e-list...

We've done some silly stuff here lately. We have an Apple computer which makes it very easy to do home video stuff. So we've been making little videos of ourselves dancing to my son's favorite songs (he's just shy of 3 years old). Then we sit around and watch the videos. He laughs hysterically.

Also using our computer we use the "Photobooth" application to take silly pictures of ourselves. Then we email them to Daddy while he's at work. Daddy takes pictures of himself at work and emails them to us. We have this silly dialog going throughout the day. It's very cute. It keeps my son and husband connected throughout the day.

What fun ideas!  Thanks Diana!


We're big fans of quirky homemade playdough here.  This recipe is a good one for this time of year.  It smells heavenly.  I stock up on discount spices just for crafts like this one.

Gingerbread Playdough
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tsp. vegetable oil
Spices: cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg (or just a big cheap jug of pumpkin pie spice or anything you have on hand from this list)

DIRECTIONS:  Mix the dry ingredients in a medium sized pan.  Have the kids add the spices until they get the scent and color they want.  Add water and oil. Mix well.  Cook the mixture for two to three minutes, stirring frequently. The dough will start to pull away from the sides of the pan and clump together. Once it forms a solid lump, take the dough out and plop it onto some waxed paper.  As soon as it's cool enough to touch, knead it until it becomes soft and smooth.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

NOTE:  This is a nice natural color but you can tint the water with orange food coloring before adding it if you'd like a brighter color.


What are your favorite children's books?  What picture books do you not mind reading time and time again?  Which ones would you replace if you lost all your books in a fire?  What are your children's all-time favorites?  Discovered any new gems lately?  Please send in your list of the best of the best and I'll pass them on.

As for us, current favorites include...

The Paddington Bear chapter book series
Llama Llama Red Pajama
Miss Mary Mack
The Harold books (of purple crayon fame)
The Little House series
Esperanza Rising
The Little Prince
And Dilbert and Calvin and Hobbes!  The girls run off with Daddy's copies and read them for hours.  :)

Now that fall is coming, I'm expecting we'll be getting boatloads of library books out at a time again.  Any you care to recommend?


Magical Mama Melissa shared a bunch of neat craft ideas.  Here's some...
  • Put paper in a square cake pan, take paint and marbles and roll the marble from on side to another.
  • Thumbprint art-- making bugs and animals. We did Lady bugs(fingerprints) on flower pots .
  • When kids outgrew their rainboots we made planters out of them and let them paint them. Drill a hole in bottom for drainage.
  • Paperplate spiders:  Use the plate, color it. Take construction paper & cut into strips. Fold  to crinkle legs.
  • Chalk art on Black construction paper.
We've done a lot of these too and they're always hits.  I'll pass on more in upcoming newsletters.  Thanks Melissa!


This neat blog has easy, fun art projects for kids.  Some are already on our list for things to try this week...


Here's a wonderful photo tutorial on how to make roses from maple leaves.  Aren't they beautiful?!  They'd make a lovely little fall crown or could be used for centerpieces or nature tables... the ideas are endless!


High Chair Busy Work

Need to get occupy a little one so you can do a bit of housework or homeschooling with an older child?  Here's ten of my favorite ways to occupy babies and toddlers in the high chair for a few minutes.  Remember to always keep your little one in sight, of course.
  • Give her a wooden spoon and an assortment of small pots to bang.
  • Give her a bowl of O cereal, a small spoon and an empty bowl.  Show her how to scoop from one bowl and fill the other.  She can snack as she goes!
  • Give him some homemade playdough and some things to poke and pound it with.  My little guy likes to stab it with chopsticks.  Every few minutes I make it into a bunch of new shapes like worms, bricks, balls and bowls to give him a new way to play with it.
  • Tape.  Okay, it sounds a bit silly, but Alex will happily waste 10 minutes if I let him waste our scotch tape!  Get some really cheap stuff and let him unroll it and make a big sticky mess of himself.  You may want to mark it with a giant mark so he knows that he's only allowed to unroll that type of tape though.
  • Likewise, a box of cheap bandaids will buy you an awful lot of minutes.  It's cheaper than stickers and somehow far cooler in most toddler minds.
  • That said, garage sale stickers are great fun.  Give her a whole page of big bright stickers and a piece of paper to stick them to.
  • Older toddlers can experiment with using safety scissors to cut a variety of materials-- yarn, paper, tissue paper, tin foil, a leaf, etc.
  • Fill an old purse with a variety of baby-safe items and let him explore it.  Some ideas are a mirrored compact to open, an empty change purse, a small notebook, wood or plastic baby keys (real keys often contain lead), a soft ball, etc. The more zippers and pockets the purse has, the better.
  • Wash out some yogurt, sour cream or cottage cheese containers and show her how to stack and nestle them.  When she's tired of that, put the lids on them and put different things in each-- lots of safe cereal in one, a pacifier or other large item in one, and so on.  Show her how they each make a different sound.  Carefully cut a hole in one lid and show her how to drop cereal into it to extend the fun even more.


"She discovered with great delight that one does not love one's children
just because they are one's children
but because of the friendship formed while raising them."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez


Here's some beautiful, cool t-shirts to make with the kids.  Not only are they lovely and fun, but they teach science.  What more could you ask for?  :)


Ten Ways to Make Today Magical...

1.  Serve dinner in ice cream cones or layered in parfait glasses, as pretty as possible.

2.  Grab a couple of sketch pads, drive out to the country and sit and sketch together.

3.  Do an act of random silliness together.  Brainstorm some nutty things to do just to make people go "huh?".  Leave a post-it note inside the medicine cabinet that says "woodchucks."  Print out a Shakespearean sonnet and tuck it into the corn flakes.  Just scatter a few random insane bits together and see how long it takes before anybody notices.  Kids love to be in on this kind of stuff!

4.  Play flashlight tag after dark in the back yard. 

5.  Help the kids dress up like clowns and put on a show.

6.  Next time it rains, grab the kids and go dance in it--  unless there's lightning, of course.  Then wait till it passes and go stomp in all the puddles together.  Get soaked!

7.  Go bowling or roller skating together.

8.  If your child takes her lunch to school, start a new tradition of tucking a tiny red heart somewhere in or on her lunch every day. 

9.  Give your kids a box of old clothes and let them use scissors, permanent markers, fabric glue, ribbons and assorted odds and ends to make new runway creations.  Have them stage a Project Runway style fashion show with their finished creations and take pictures. 

10. Leave elf footprints around the house.  Cut tiny, pointed shoe prints out of a piece of sponge and dip them in a plate of flour.  Stamp a trail around the house-- up on a windowsill, over by the children's toys, all the places an elf would visit. (Adapted from an idea at


And with that, I'm off again. 

Daryl read in a book once that September is the month of winds and magic.  Here's wishing you and your kiddos a magical month!

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

Till next time,

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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