Tag Archives: all ages

Silly Photo Shoots!

Here’s a fun and easy way to make a little magic with your kiddos. 

Have a zany photo shoot! 

We’ve done many of these over the years and it always leads to smiles.

There are some free apps that let you get pretty creative, too.  :) 

wacky photo shoots

Happy Wednesday!

 

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Talk Like a Pirate!

Arrr!  How could I nearly let International Talk Like a Pirate Day slip by without posting about it!  Tsk!

Never fear.  I’ve assembled a few pirate goodies for you to take part with your wee pirates with what’s left of the day.

You can check out the Magical Childhood archives to help your kids choose their pirate names.

You can find sunken treasure at National Geographic education.

You can make Jack Sparrow’s tricorne hat cookiesAny cookie stuffed with peanut butter cups is a winner in my book!

You can find pirate crafts and activities at DLTK-kids.

You can make quick and easy (adorable!) newspaper swords, bandana pirate skirts and more at alphamom.

You can find activities for junior pirates (even a pirate curriculum!) at talk like a pirate day (the main site is not always child-friendly).

Lastly, you can have fun with the kids translating text (poetry, news items, homework!) into pirate speak at the english to pirate translator.

And for fun for the grown-ups, be sure to change your Facebook language to pirate for the day!

Here’s how:

  1. Click the Gear icon at the top of the Facebook page and select Account Settings.
  2. The account settings page opens and the language setting is the last one in the list.
  3. Click the Edit link next to it. The Choose Primary drop-down list appears.
  4. Click the drop-down list and click on Pirate English.

And with that, me hearties, I’m off to t’ play with me sprogs!

Have a swashbucklin’ day!

 

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Ten Ways To Make Today Magical

Hello magical people!  I hope everything is wonderful in your corner of the universe.  Here’s a few ways to make some memories with your kids this week.

1.  For September, use a white crayon to write an invisible message or fun activity on each square in the calendar. Each day, let your child color the square with a marker to reveal the secret message.

2.  Tie-dye some clothes with tissue paper and squirt guns.  I first saw this darling craft on Dollar Store Crafts (that’s their versions below!) and loved the versions (and reports on what worked best) at How to… do something.

3.  Have a paper airplane derby. You’ll find free patterns for simple to fancy planes, helicopters, rockets, frisbees and more here.  This is also a fun way to reuse old coloring pages, worksheets, scrapbooking paper and even maps.

4.  Make crab apple cider If you’re lucky enough to have access to crab apple trees, you have to try making crab apple cider with the kids!  It’s easy (no apple press required) and the cider is beautiful ruby red and delicious.  We have friends who go to a park near their home every fall to harvest unsprayed crab apples for this stuff since we introduced them to it.  It’s a fun, tasty tradition!

5.  Do bleach pen altering.  Here’s a shirt Victoria did a couple of years ago and here’s how she did it.

6.  Invent a secret handshake or special good-bye.  Some families have special handshakes that mom or dad do with each child every morning before school.  Victoria and I had a long series of signs we went through every night when she went to bed for years.  It’s a special way to start the day or end the night and know you’re loved.

7.  Start making toasts every night at supper.

8.  Have a bake-off for your pup!  The internet is full of fun and easy recipes for dog treats, from sweet potato “rawhide” dog chews to gluten free pumpkin dog cookies to no-bake peanut butter oat balls. You can find assortments of recipes on sites like Dog Treat Recipes too.  Make up an assortment together and have your dogs do a taste test to determine their favorites. 

9.  Have a cleaning party with the kids.  Dress up in fabulous play dress-up clothes (party hats and/or tiaras are a must!), blast some happy music, grab some fun treats and clean like crazy together.  Set a timer for every 15 minutes to take a break and enjoy some treats together, and concentrate on being as wild and wacky as possible as you clean.  Decide on a fun family treat to enjoy together when you’re done. Who says cleaning has to be dull?!

10. See if a city near you has a sculpture walk.  Our family loves to visit Sioux Falls every year to walk the annual “sculpture walk” downtown.  Dozens of artists display their sculpture each year and the city gives out pamphlets that tell a little bit about each piece and let you vote on your favorite.  We all walk the streets together checking out all of the works and deciding which ones we like best.  I just found out that a city even closer to us has an annual sculpture walk too.

And with that, my dears, I’m off to catch up on the other 99 things on my to-do list!  Have a wonderful week and don’t forget to take care of you!

 

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10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday!  Sorry I’ve gone off for so long again.  I seem to always be behind in everything but my heartbeat.  :)

Here’s a few ways to make some magic with your kiddos this week….

1.  Plan a silly theme pot luck in the park with friends.  Have the kids agree on a theme (foods that start with B, family heritage recipes, naturally red foods, finger foods, foods on a stick, round foods…) and meet up at the park to enjoy the fun together.

2.  Do art in the rain.  Whether it’s drizzling or full on pouring, gather some sturdy cardstock, watercolor paper, canvas or poster board and art supplies and go out to create in it.  Let the rain help make the art.  Lay the paper flat to see how the raindrops splatter paint and markers as the kids create, or prop it up on an easel to make running paint effects.  Bring it someplace safe to dry and then admire the kids’ artistic collaborations with nature.  No rain?  Use the sprinkler!

3.  Explore a cave.

4.  Make mix-and-match fruit slushies.  Just freeze some fruit (chopped if it’s large, or whole if it’s small like berries) and then blend it in a strong blender with a little water and a bit of sugar to taste.  Let the kids mix and match flavors and colors and then do taste tests to choose favorite combinations.  If you have an ice cream maker you can also make fruit slushies or a soft serve sorbet by pouring in juice instead of your milk mixture.

5.  Decorate some old hats as crazy as you can, and then wear them out in public. 

6.  Clear out a back closet or other out of the way place to become a secret hideaway for your child.  Stock it with flashlights and lots of fun items to decorate it.

7.  Start a family poem wall.  Put up a large piece of paper on a door and put a pen nearby.  Ask every family member to add a word every time he or she passes.  It can be silly or serious.  Save the finished poems in an album or scrapbook.

8.  Make a bubble frenzy somewhere public.  Get lots of bottles of good bubbles and head out someplace where you and the kids can make masses of bubbles to bring smiles to as many faces as possible.  We used to love to do this at a park on a corner where evening traffic was always congested, just to see the smiles break out on grumpy drivers’ faces.

9.  Drape some blankets over a clothesline, tree, tent poles or other props in the back yard and make some impromptu forts.  Stock the insides with some fun books, games, snacks, a flashlight, whatever, and see what fun the kids dream up to have in their new fun space.

10. Go to another town and on the way make up totally different identities for yourselves.  I’ve recommended this one several times over the years, because it’s a family favorite.  :)  All day, call yourselves by your fake names and play along with your alternate life.  Encourage the kids to really get creative for eavesdroppers. 

And with that, my pretties, I’m off to tackle the next 99 things on my to-do list… or get distracted by something shiny on the internet.  That’s pretty likely too!

Have a magical week!

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Our Craft Sheet

sheet1

Those who have been reading Magical Childhood for a while know that I often recommend sheet painting.  It’s even one of the first crafts I put up on the original Magical Childhood site.

We have been using an old white bed sheet for crafts and sheet painting for over a dozen years now. 

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In the summer time, we hang it on the clothes line and the kids use paint to decorate it. 

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Sometimes we put it on the ground and they decorate it with their feet. 

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Sometimes it’s washable paint, sometimes not. 

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The sheet looks different every year and every project. 

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In the winter time and on rainy days, the sheet is our art tablecloth.  It doesn’t matter how messy or staining an activity is, because if it stains the craft sheet it just adds more character and another memory. 

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I love my craft sheet and it makes me smile every time I spread it on the table or hang it on the line for another round of staining. 

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It’s so amazing to look at little one year old Fiona using it now and remembering when her teenage sisters were making those stains. 

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You can use any old flat bed sheet for an art cloth or pick one up for a dollar or two from a thrift store. 

I highly recommend starting your own. 

You’ll never find another bunch of stains to make you smile more.  :)

sh8

 

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Oodles of Ways to Have Fun With Pumpkins!

Want to have a little pumpkin fun besides the usual jack-o-lanterns? 

Here’s a whole slew of fun ways to decorate and play with these fantastic orange veggies...

Lowe’s suggests using hardware to make all sorts of whimsical, wonderful little pumpkin creations.

Oasis Accents tells how to make glittered pumpkins.

The Magic Onions posted the delightful idea of letting kids pound nails in and then string yarn on their creations.

The Preschool Toolbox made sweet little pumpkin boats.

The Swede Records featured some gorgeous melted crayon pumpkins.

Sweet Paul made this lovely little pumpkin diorama.

Country Living has a whole slideshow of fun ideas, including using stencils, decals, paint with painter’s tape, and more.

And for a few more ideas, check out my round-up of 35 Ways to use pumpkins for crafts, entertaining, education and more.

What’s your favorite way to use pumpkins? 

…Besides in pie, of course!  :)

 

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Marble Mice!

Here’s a fun little printable craft from The Toymaker — Marble Mice!  Just print out the pattern on cardstock, cut out, and add a large marble inside. 

The Toymaker says…

These Marble Mice are fun to make and roll around on your desk. Cats love them!

What fun!

 

 

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10 Ways to Play With Your Kids Today

10 Ways to Play With Your Kids Today

Photo by Victoria Bayer

Is summer slipping away as fast for you as it is for us?  Here’s a few easy ways to take advantage of the end of July with your kiddos this week…

  1. Grab some boats (or make some simple floating ones with bark or paper) and spread out a tarp, shower curtain or plastic tablecloth in the yard.  Drizzle water on it with the hose and sit right smack in the middle of it — getting cool, floating boats, making little island getaways, you name it.
  2. Have a photo shoot outside.  Be sure to let the kids take your picture too!
  3. Shoot some hoops — even if that means tossing balled up socks into a bowl on the coffee table because it’s 115 degrees outside.
  4. Go on a sprinkler walk.  Head to an area of town where people have their sprinklers going and sidewalks that go through them, and try to walk through as many sprinklers to cool down as possible.
  5. Make some real fruit slushies.  Toss frozen fruit like strawberries in the blender with some water and sugar to taste.  Blend like crazy and enjoy.  Make it extra fun by playing chef with a big variety of frozen fruit choices.
  6. Freeze lots of ice cube trays and muffin tins full of colored water and then put all your multi-colored ice treasures in a big bowl.  Head out to the kiddie pool and grab some buckets of water to melt and color mix like crazy.
  7. Take blocks of ice to the top of a grassy hill and go ice blockingHere’s more info on this activity that’s on our bucket list this year!
  8. Make mud pies.
  9. Play balloon volleyball.
  10. Go camping.  Can’t do that?  Camp in the back yard.  Can’t do that?  Camp in the living room.

And yes, I know it’s winter for some of you!  I think a lot of these are still options.  If not, please do something fabulous and then come back and tell us about it.  :)

 

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Build Your Wild Self!

The New York Zoos and Aquarium and the Wildlife Conservation Society have created a fabulously fun site!

Build Your Wild Self lets kids build themselves with all sorts of animal parts, while learning about animals along the way.

Customize your creation with your own hair, eyes and features, and then add elephant ears, monarch wings and so on, or create random funny characters.  You can even create your friends and family as wacky animals!

Fun!

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Painted Soap Clouds

Painted soap clouds (A Magical Childhood)

Remember when I recommended microwaving a half a bar of Ivory soap as a way to make the day magical a couple of months ago? 

We took it a step farther and had the most fun! 

We microwaved the soap for about 30 seconds (set your microwave for about a minute and just stop it when the soap stops expanding) and watched it puff up.

Then I gave the kids muffin tins filled with colored water (we used water and food coloring but you could also use liquid watercolors) and eyedroppers. 

They had so much fun! 

I highly recommend it!

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