Magical Childhood Newsletter
Volume 80
March 28, 2009

Hello magical people! Long time no see! :)

This newsletter marks an ending and a beginning. This is the last issue of the Magical Childhood newsletter, but it's the start of something I hope will be even better.

Over the 8 years I've been doing the newsletter, the space between them has gotten longer and longer. I always feel like a deadbeat not getting them out in time but they require a whole lot of time and with 4 children I find I have less of that than I once did!

I could never stop writing you all and sharing neat crafts and yapping about the wonderful, whimsical, sometimes crazy-making world of loving children, though. So I've found a way to keep doing it in a manageable way...

The Magical Childhood Blog
(If the link doesn't work, the address is:

The blog has been up for a little over a month but I wanted to make sure I had the hang of it before really going public with it. So far, so good! I love being able to pop over and share a quick craft or neat web site. I can ramble in the middle of the night all I like, but if I only have a few minutes for the day's post I can just steal something from a newsletter from years back that seems like a good fit for the day. :)

I generally post every day and it's the same sort of mix that the newsletters delivered-- a few crafts, a few links, neat quotes, a deep thought or two, silliness and so on. Every Monday I post 10 ways to make the day magical.

If you visit once a week, you'll get about a newsletter's worth of stuff. I think you can also set it to deliver it to your inbox if you prefer.

To make this final newsletter complete, here's a few things from the blog...


I love this dragonfly craft from CraftScope! Click here for the printable template and instructions for this easy, whimsical little project. Be sure to browse the blog for other fun projects too. The "flower garden" looks sweet and fun too.


Here's some fun games to do with a child who's just learning her letters or phonics, and some more advanced ones. These are a nice way to pass the time in the car, waiting room and such.

Play "I Spy" with letters.... Tell your child you're thinking of something in the room that starts with the letter c and ends with a t, for instance. Or "I spy something with oo in it."

Another fun game to convert into a phonics game is charades. Take turns going through the alphabet and acting out something that starts with each letter. First you act out an A word that you think up, like anteater. Once your child guesses it, she acts out B and so on.

In the car, try to find something that starts with every letter of the alphabet, in order! Words on billboards count.

For more advanced spellers, take turns thinking of words that contain two consecutive letters.... first a word that has an a and then a b somewhere in it, then one with a b and then a c....... absolute, because, code, develop, effervescent...... it gets tricky at times!


A nice way to look at things...

"All the masterpieces of art contain both light and shadow.
A happy life is not one filled with only sunshine,
but one which uses both light and shadow to produce beauty.

-Billy Graham


I thought I'd share some of my favorite sites for art and crafting for children.
If you have more to add, please leave suggestions in the comments!

Art Projects for Kids is a daily blog of creative, interesting art projects for elementary aged children, though any age would enjoy most of them. Sometimes she incorporates art history lessons, teaching about great artists and showing the kids how to emulate them, for instance. I like to go and search for themes we're doing to find neat project ideas.

The Crafty Crow is a daily blog that features a craft project from a different site every day. There are so many wonderful projects here! This is one to bookmark for sure.

Unplug Your Kids is a challenge blog that features a different theme each week. Participants do any art project, craft, science activity, etc. that they like that has to do with the theme. Past themes have included water, 3D, square and smooth. This is a great way to give yourself a little shove to do something creative with the kids and it's also always fun to take a look at what other families did with the theme.

Dollar Store Crafts isn't specifically for kids, but they often feature crafts that would be great for kids. I love the premise of this fun craft blog, which uses dollar store items or free things to make all of their projects. One of my favorite projects was this Waldorf style doll.

Sometimes, though, I also like to avoid the craft sites completely. Most of our favorite projects were born out of a little bit of boredom, a few raw materials and plain old creativity. The fairy wands the kids made the other day are a great example.

Those blog projects are fabulous and are perfect for jump starting our creativity and giving us rainy day ideas. When you're not up to playing art director, though, that's okay too. Have a variety of good quality art materials around and encourage the kids to dream up their own projects. Acorns caps become fairy bowls. Rocks become canvasses. Old toy wheels become robot parts. Maybe the end result won't look like a featured craft on a fancy blog, but to kids and their fans they can be even better. :)


Note to Self:


10 Ways to Make Today Magical....

1. Ask the kids to help make a spring wreath for the front door from found materials. The base can be an old wreath, a wire coat hanger bent into a circle, bound branches or even a cardboard O cut from a pizza box. They can wrap, glue, wire or otherwise attach whatever they like-- strips of rags, ribbons, bits of nature, toys, artificial flowers, ornaments, you name it. If it is too fragile to hang outside, display it somewhere inside. Stress that it doesn't matter how it looks! The fun is in creating it (though I'm sure it will look fabulous because it's made by them!).

You don't have to help if they don't need it, but be present. It's often our contributions (in terms of commoditities like laughter and company) that make the difference between a magical memory and "just a craft."

2. Get out paint pens or permanent markers and let them decorate an old pair of shoes.

3. Start a "mom and me" (or dad or grandma and me!) scrapbook. Find or make a blank book (you can use printer paper in a binder or folder, hole punch some paper and a cardstock cover and tie it with ribbon or make a more elaborate book with instructions like these). Do some pages every week together about the two of you. For instance, write notes to each other (be sure to date them!) or find a picture of yourself at your child's age and make side by side pages comparing yourselves. At age 8, what were each of your favorite books, hobbies, colors, friends, wishes?

4. Tell the kids that for dessert today, they're not allowed to use their hands! Have a camera handy.

5. Set a big goal to do something together that your child loves. One day my girls and I decided to see if we could read 30 picture books. You could also challenge yourselves to finish a puzzle with a whole lot of pieces, hike to the top of a really high hill or even make 20 pictures to cheer up loved ones.

6. Find a park you've never been to and go play together.

7. Find something junky in the house and let your child alter it. One of the advantages of having old, unloveable furniture or belongings is that you have nothing to lose with this sort of project! :) Let her use paint pens on the old wooden chair in the basement or permanent markers on the inside of a beat up dresser (make sure they don't come off on clothes though!). I once took a gold paint pen to a really boring computer monitor and covered it with swirls and polka dots. You can even designate an old T-shirt for altering.

8. Start garden dreaming together. Grab some seed catalogs or garden books (or just your imaginations) and make a list of all the things you'd love to plant this year. If you can't have an outside garden, maybe you can plan a windowsill herb garden or some patio tomatoes. If not, you can still have fun dreaming. What size garden would your child's dream garden be? What would he plant? If you can have a garden (or even a pot!) outside, commit to planting at least one whimsical, wonderful thing with the kiddos. Sunflowers are easy and magical. Nasturtiums grow well from seed and make colorful, spicy flowers that you can eat in your salads. Cherry tomatoes are a must here for snacking all summer. Or you can dream big and make a bean teepee hideout or other really wonderful garden element.

9. Put the kids in charge of "dressing" the table for dinner.
When I was in college, I was a banquet server and we had an entire room of props to use for this sort of thing, from lanterns to leis to mirror rounds to bandanas. Ask the kids to get as fancy as they like (tablecloth, beautiful centerpiece, folded napkins, candles...) or as original as they like (frisbees for chargers under plates, wacky centerpiece, chopsticks for eating and soup bowls for drinks...). If you have multiple kids, you might want to alternate days and even assign themes sometimes (beach, Japanese, hoedown, space...).

10. Hide a dozen little notes that say "Mama loves you" in unexpected places.


Late Night Ramblings...

It's the middle of the night and the rest of my family is sleeping. It's so strange to hear silence in this house that's usually so full of noise. We are a very noisy family!

We've all been sick this week, but especially Alex (22 months) and now me. Daryl has been pulling all-nighters taking care of everybody and now he finally gets to get some rest. I'm too hot and achey to sleep. I finally gave up and eased myself out of bed and now don't know what to do with myself.

There's something about the middle of the night that I dearly love. It's the space between the chaos when I can recharge and hear my own thoughts. I watch my children sleep and I fall in love with them again, ready to start over in a new day and fill our lives with as much as possible. I look at their sweet features, their tiny hands, their beautiful faces, and I feel so blessed to be their mother. It can be a noisy, messy, crazy-making life but it's our life and deep down I love it.

I had years of quiet. It wasn't my thing. ;)

I'll close with a poem I have always loved. It reminds me of the important stuff when life is not so quiet and calm.

To My Grown-up Son
by Alice E. Chase

My hands were busy through the day
I didn't have much time to play
The little games you asked me to.
I didn't have much time for you.

I'd wash your clothes, I'd sew and cook,
But when you'd bring your picture book
And ask me, please, to share your fun,
I'd say, 'A little later, son.'

I'd tuck you in all safe at night,
And hear your prayers, turn out the light,
Then tiptoe softly to the door.
I wish I'd stayed a minute more.

For life is short, and years rush past,
A little boy grows up so fast.
No longer is he at your side.
His precious secrets to confide.

The picture books are put away,
There are no children's games to play,
No good night kiss, no prayers to hear.
That all belongs to yesteryear.

My hands once busy, now lie still
The days are long and hard to fill.
I wish I might go back and do
The little things you asked me to.


And with that, my dears, I'm off to go find someone to give a bunch of kisses to. And do laundry. The laundry fairy is so unreliable.

I hope you'll come peek at my new little corner of the net and keep me company. I'm continuing to add new things to the Magical Childhood site, too. Look for a flurry of crafts and goodies in the next month or two.

Hug your kiddos, count your blessings and don't forget to take care of you!

~ Alicia

A Magical Childhood
A Magical Childhood
Copyright 2009, 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.  :)

Feel free to pass this on.  Don't steal it, that would be rude.