Tag Archives: boredom busters

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

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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.  :)

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A Little Snow and Cold Fun When You Don’t Have Snow and Cold!

If you’re lucky enough not to live in one of the freezing cold places right now, you can still take part in lots of fun with snow and ice!

Here’s a list of ten ways to make the day magical, warmer style for warmer climates.  And here’s a little round-up of online snowy fun.  Help the kids make some snowmen, “cut” some snowflakes and more.  :)

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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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Easy Puffy Paint!

I’ve seen recipes for homemade puffy paint many times over the years, but I never took the time to make it with the kids until today.

What a shame I waited this long!

The kids had a blast and developed lots of ways to use it.

Even Harry Potter crests and pendants!

 

The original instructions were to mix one tablespoon self-rising flour, one tablespoon salt, food coloring and enough water to make a paste, once for each color.

Since I made up little cups for four different children (life is too short to listen to “Mom, Alex mixed all the colors into brown!” and “Hey!  Victoria used all the red up!” all day!), I soon realized that it made much more sense to just mix up:

  • One part self rising flour
  • One part salt
  • Enough water to make a paste

and THEN divide it into muffin tins or ice cube trays and add food coloring!

Either way, all you do is give the kids Q-tips or paint brushes and instruct them to dab it on cardboard.

We used recycled Priority Mail boxes for our canvases, cut into small squares.  You want a nice sturdy canvas.

When the picture is finished, microwave it for about 10 seconds (we did 5 second intervals and occasionally needed longer for really thick and wet paintings).

All four kids had a blast using this stuff and they used it off and on the whole day and into the night.

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Five Fun Things

There’s been so much fun stuff catching my eye on the web lately.  Here’s some favorites you might like….

1.  Things I want to teach my children everyday:  Steph from Modern Parents Messy Kids has a great post and free printable at Bloom

2.  Dress-up wings, courtesy of Little Eco Footprints

3.  And dinosaur wings, courtesy of I’m Feeling Crafty

4.  We made our own pool noodle race track yesterday after being inspired by Home Spun Threads.  Alex loved shooting marbles down it but it turns out that one of our nutty cats had as much fun “wrestling” it when we weren’t looking and shredded it! 

5.  Lastly, recycled robots (think metallic Mr. Potato Heads) from Family Fun

And with that, I’m off to tackle a to-do list as long as the city phone book.  (Yes, magical moments are on the list!)

Wish me luck!

~Alicia

 

 

 

 

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Acorn Cap + Pen = Instant Fun

We had to kill some time outside with a crowd of antsy kids recently and my ingenious husband whipped up some instant fun to keep them all happy.

He grabbed some acorn caps, stuck them on his fingers and on the children’s, and drew some corresponding faces.  Presto!  Instant finger puppets!

Happy Sunday!

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New Uses for Old Markers

What do you do with a dried out marker?  I’ve been listening to the boys’ Pirate CD for too long, because I’m hearing that phrase in my head to the tune of “What do you do with a drunken sailor?”.  ;)

In any case, there are plenty of ways to get more use out of them once they seem to be all dried up.

In our family, we like to use them to color on packed snow.  The water brings them back to life and it’s cheap, easy fun on wintery days.


We also like to wet coffee filters and then press them all over to make bright designs.

But this site has lots of ideas that I never dreamed of.  From coloring homemade concoctions to soaking them in water to color the water, there’s oodles of fun ways to use the markers one (or more!) last time.

What do you do with dried out markers?

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A Little of Everything

First off, thanks for all your fabulous comments yesterday on my mothering post!  Every one of them meant so much.  :)

Today was a pretty fabulous day.  It was filled with strawberry picking, playing with friends at the park, sitting in the shade on the lawn swing watching the kids play, gardening, talking, tree climbing, homemade strawberry sorbets and lots of other good stuff.

There weren’t exactly bluebirds circling our heads (though a grackle did dive bomb me in the back yard as I was hanging laundry!), but the kids were pretty much happy and nobody stripped down, scaled cars, shouted at me or alarmed the neighbors.  A success in my book.

Now on to other things…

If you’ve been alarmed about the recent news stories concerning lead found in juice boxes, Z Recommends has another side of the story you might want to read.

Yes, there is probably lead in your child’s box of juice. There is also lead in your honey, your salad dressing, your teething biscuits, your store-bought chocolate chip cookies, your pickles, your lettuce, your spinach, and your sweet potatoes (fresh). There is lead in many of the things you – and your children – eat on a regular basis. That’s because there is lead in pesticides, in the air, in the soil… almost everywhere…

It’s good information that puts it all in perspective.

If you’re like us and have an abundance of strawberries (say 55 pounds!) this page of strawberry recipes might come in handy.

I highly recommend making strawberry sorbet with some of it, though.  My easy way is to blend fresh strawberries in the blender with a little water and sugar to taste, and then freeze it in the ice cream maker.  It’s that easy!  Victoria says she likes it even better than ice cream.  You can put the mixture in popsicle molds too.

We also made some jam and syrup but most of it we just froze for later.  If you’re new to freezing berries, the best way to do it is to wash and hull them and then spread them in a single layer on a cookie sheet in a freezer until they’re just frozen (1 to 2 hours) and then put them in gallon bags (squeeze out all the excess air to protect them from freezer burn).  Flash freezing them first means they’ll be individual berries and not a solid lump of strawberry ice when you want to pull some out later.  :)

Lastly, Here’s some sweet little paper dolls of all sorts to print out next time you need a little rainy day fun.

And with that, chickadees, I’m off to read “The House of Dies Drear” to a very impatient night owl.

Kiss your kiddos, count your blessings, and don’t forget to take care of you!

Happy Thursday!

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Easy Craft: Make Paint With Water Pages!

(Art by Victoria)

Here’s a super simple craft that’s fun for all ages.  Make paint with water pages!

Here’s how:

  1. Draw a picture with a permanent pen or dark crayon.  If you like, you can draw it in pencil first and then go over it with a dark permanent marker.
  2. Fill in sections of the picture with dots, lines, cross hatches or other designs with watercolor pencils.  Alternately, draw a line inside the marker lines with watercolor crayons (watercolor crayons are bolder and don’t require as much of a pattern to spread the color).  You don’t need to color the entire sections in — just a pattern or lines are fine.
  3. Paint each section with a wet paintbrush to reveal the color.

Note:  This is an example of “you get what you pay for.”  Cheap watercolor pencils are rather pitiful for this so if you get a chance to pay a couple of extra dollars for nicer ones then I’d recommend it!

You can tell in the art above which sections were drawn with the cheaper pencils and didn’t blend as well (like the stems and leaves), as opposed to the ones that turned into vivid paint (like the flower center and the pink petals).  All of the sections were basically colored in the same with just cross hatches, and good pencils will blend and disperse so the pattern virtually disappears.

You can find watercolor pencils and watercolor crayons (which are great fun!) at craft stores like Michael’s (look for 40% off coupons online to help cut the cost).

For younger kids, do the art up for them (write their names in big block letters, make flowers, etc.) and then do the patterns for them or have them color inside to make the patterns.  Then give them the paintbrushes and water so they can magically paint while you’re cooking supper or otherwise otherwise occupied nearby.

Happy Friday!

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