10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday!  Long time, no see, huh?  <sheepish look>

I’m sorry for being gone so long.  Life has been busy and has just gotten busier over the nearly eighteen (!!!) years I’ve been writing Magical Childhood in one way or another.

When I first started writing Magical Childhood, I had a two year old-daughter, Victoria, and a new baby daughter (Rhiannon Lee, whom we called Annalee back then).  I’d write in the middle of the night with Annalee in my arms.  Last week, that baby (who now goes by Rhia) turned eighteen!

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Our baby boy Jack, who came along later, is now 14 and a foot taller than me.  Alex and Fiona (10 and 6) still count as little ones, though, and I’m not above being silly and sappy with any of them, no matter the size or age.  🙂

My goal for this year has been to get back to this blog and the Magical Childhood site (badly in need of a 21st century upgrade!).

So how about we get back to ways to make things magical, just like the old days?

Here are a few ways to work in a little magic this week….

1. Print out and assemble some paper crafts.  Yahama has the most amazingly intricate paper motorcycles, Japanese animals and more (even stag beetles!) for you to print out for free on their site. 

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2. Teach the kids pig latin and try to have a conversation in it!  Here’s a Wiki page if you need some help!

3. Have a beach day inside!  Fiona came up with this idea last week when it was too cold to go out and play.  She got herself a towel, some sunglasses, books, a homemade fruit drink and even some rocks for atmosphere and had herself a blast on the living room floor.

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4. Or a snow day!  Alternately, if you’re in a warm climate, switch things up and play at winter inside.  Make up crumpled paper “snowballs” for a snowball fight (balled up socks work too!), pull the kids around on towels on the kitchen floor and pretend they’re sleds, make ice cream scoop snowmen, you name it!

5. Do squirt painting!  This is a fun and easy craft we made up years ago.  All you need are squirt bottles (recycled ketchup and mustard bottles work great), flour, water, food coloring and a big box to contain the mess.  Here’s how we did it back in 2010.

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6. Hide silly and sappy fortunes around the house.  Make up a load of fortune cookie-style fortunes and stash them in cereal boxes, snacks, the cookie jar, etc.  Make some especially silly (Beware of odd rabbits today.  You will have a monkey on your head….) and some sappy (Your mama loves you more than peanut butter cups.  I’m proud of you…).  Slip some in drawers and leave some for your sweetie, too.

7. Let the kids play with their food!  Alex loves to cut up apples and other fruits and veggies and build elaborate toothpick structures with them.  As long as he eats his work, I’m happy to supply the materials.  Baby carrots, black olives, cauliflower, grapes and cherry tomatoes also make great building supplies.

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8. Make watercolor snowballs.  We’ve been doing this one for years. Just bring in a pan of snow and give the kids some watercolor paints and paintbrushes.  They can pack the snow into snowballs and then paint them.  Store them in a bucket in the freezer until you’re ready to return them to the wild.  😉  You can decorate the yard with them or the kids can toss them, but let the kids know they should toss at targets like trees and not people since they freeze a little hard and could hurt!

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9. Make some giant ice suncatchers.  Even in warm climates, you can make these beauties (you can even have the kids make predictions on how long they will take to melt).  Here’s how we make ours, though I recommend making your hole farther towards the middle so it doesn’t melt through the drop and fall too quickly.

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10. Start a pride jar.  Every time you’re proud of your child, write the reason on a slip of paper and put it in a pretty jar. Encourage the kids to peek in their jars!

And with that, I’m off to snuggle a little girl who’s woken up and wants some mama time.

I hope to be back very soon.  Have a magical week!

 

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Free Vintage Drawing Book!

Here’s a wonderful, whimsical freebie to help kids (and parents!) learn to draw.

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What to Draw and How to Draw was written in 1913 by E.G. Lutz and is one of the public domain books from the New York Public Library on Open Archive online.

The 78-page book is full of old-fashioned, simple drawings for children, such as a castles, fish, birds, cats, all different people and toy soldiers, among many others.

The book also contains simple instructions such as how to paint in watercolor, draw a five-pointed star and create ovals and ellipses.

Here are a few of the whimsical drawing lessons.

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The book is copyright free and was uploaded by volunteers. You can read it online with your kids, or download it as a free pdf file, e-reader file, Kindle ebook, and more.

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Have fun!

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Assignments for 2018

In the words of one of my favorite singer-songwriters, Jason Isbell, in the song High Road, “Last year was a son of a b**** for nearly everyone we know.”

I don’t know if your 2017 was a good one or a bad one, but we’re in a brand new year now and I have high hopes for 2018 for all of us.  It’s going to be awesome!  I’m insisting.  🙂

You may have made some resolutions for the new year, but I have a few to add if you’d like to play along.  These are for myself and for all of you, if you’re game.

Things to do more of in 2018

  • Give more hugs and kisses
  • Say yes more
  • Act more foolish
  • Tell more corny jokes
  • Care less what other people think
  • Laugh more
  • Laugh even more
  • Spread kindness
  • Take chances
  • Read a lot of books
  • Make a little magic

Feel free to add to the list!

Have a wonderful 2018.  One of my other to-do items for this year is to yap to you all more often here, so I will see you soon!

May 2018 be Magical

 

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What’s Your Fairy Name?

Our family volunteered at a wonderful local festival this weekend and the younger kids and I we were presented with marvelously fun name tags from some volunteer fairies.

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It was so much fun that I thought I’d look for a fairy name generator online, and I found a whole host of them.

Here are all kinds of fairy name generators (plus one we made ourselves).  See if you and the kids can find one that suits your crew.

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There’s even a pirate fairy name generator!  🙂

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Of course, we’ve done pirate names here before.

And in the spirit of the generator we made for that, here’s our very own Magical Childhood fairy/elf name generator.  And just like the pirate name generator, this one works for boys and girls.

To find your fairy name:

Pick 3 numbers, each one ranging  from 1-9 (you can use the same number more than once), such as 555 or 931.

Then find the name that corresponds from each list.  In the first set, your child can pick from a fairy or elf name for that number.  The second two names go together to form your fairy/elf surname (such as Glitterbug) :

 

Fairy/elf first name:

  1. Flora/Felix
  2. Sparkle/Teasle
  3. Petal/Bramble
  4. Daisy/Clover
  5. Willow/Wilder
  6. Peaches/Fidget
  7. Meadow/Hemlock
  8. Poppy/Berry
  9. Juniper/Jupiter

Fairy/elf last name part one:

  1. Glitter
  2. Pepper
  3. Star
  4. Ice
  5. Sparkle
  6. Flutter
  7. Moon
  8. Silver

Fairy/elf last name part two:

  1. Bug
  2. Twig
  3. Dust
  4. Blizzard
  5. Leaf
  6. Sprite
  7. Splatter
  8. Goblin
  9. Sparkle

Her fairy name was Daisy Glitterbug. ✨ #rotr #magicalchildhood

A post shared by Alicia Bayer (@magicandmayhem) on

Have fun!

 

 

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Chore Sticks Help Make Chores Fun for Kids

Looking for a way to get the kids to help out more around the house without nagging or fights?  Try chore sticks!

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My fabulous friend Tiffany came up with the idea of chore sticks and we’ve adapted it here with great success.

Here’s all you do:

  • Write some simple chores on one end of some popsicle sticks.  Also write some fun things and surprises.
  • If you have children with very different abilities, you can add a colored dot to the blank end corresponding to each child (so your preschooler would pull sticks with red ends, for instance, and your high schooler would pull ones with blue).
  • Put the sticks, writing side down, in a mug or similar container.
  • Have the kids pull out a chore stick and do the job assigned.  Make up family rules about how many sticks they should do a day (we do 3 a day, plus as many as they like after that) and whether they can swap (we allow one swap per day if chores are drawn that the child really doesn’t want to do).
  • As kids do chores, have them put the sticks back upside down so that chore isn’t pulled again that day (or that week for chores that don’t have to be done often).

The chores don’t have to be just housework.  You can add in anything that you’d like the kids to do more of — exercise, reading, flossing, school-related jobs, you name it.

Some examples of chores on our chore sticks are:  Do 15 minutes of exercise, vacuum the living room, read a book to Alex, write a letter to a relative, do a workbook page in math, dustbust the stairs, brush your hair and tidy your room. 

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Some examples of the treat sticks (which are mixed in, so the kids are anxious to keep pulling chore sticks) are:  Take a walk with Mom, get a quarter, win a prize (I keep small prizes in a drawer for emergency gifts and fun), get a candy and color with Mom.

Everyone I know who has tried chore sticks has had great success with them.  My kids love them and tend to pull way more than 3 a day.

Here are some tips to keep it fun and easy:

Make the chores small and relatively quick.  Nobody wants to pull “clean your room” but pulling “straighten your bookshelves” or “make your bed” is easily doable.

Focus on chores that are pretty enjoyable.  Kids often find out that they don’t mind chores if they get to do things that almost seem like play.  Dustbusters, Magic Erasers, feather dusters and other tools can make jobs even more fun.  If you have many chores in there like “scrub the toilet” and “scoop the cat box” you may find that the kids aren’t too anxious to pull chore sticks any more!

Make it a routine.  Put the mug where you’ll see it often and have a general time every day when the kids pull their chore sticks.

Don’t be afraid to change it up.  If the kids don’t enjoy it, ask for their suggestions on what to add.  They may volunteer to do chores you hadn’t thought of.  Also consider adding more fun and silly jobs.

Keep the treats small and easy.  You don’t want to put “go see a movie” in there if that’s not something you can do at the drop of a hat.  Also be careful not to outweigh the chores (which are the main point) with too many treats.  They should be a special surprise, not every other stick.

Get wacky!  Toss in some “chores” that are pure silliness.  Who wouldn’t like having to do chores like “cluck like a chicken” or “give someone a magic marker ankle tattoo”?  Again, just do a few to keep them as fun surprises.

You could even try making up a grown up version for yourself and put some fun rewards in there!  🙂

Have fun!

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Signs of Love

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Here’s a sweet art project that’s perfect for the times right now.

Girls to the Moon offers instructions for how to make Signs of Acceptance to show people that you care about them and are on their side.

The site says:

What are some words you could say to let people know they are safe with you?

If you felt left out, what could someone say to you to make you feel more included?

If you could make a sign to let people know you will always accept and include them, what would it say?

This project, Signs of Acceptance, turns your favorite words, phrases, slogans, and symbols of inclusivity into beautiful pieces of art you can display at home, school or work.

Better yet: Give it to friend, a local business, or leave it in a public place for someone to find as a nice surprise!

All you need are some basic supplies like foam boards (from grocery store packaging), paper and paint.

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What a great way to combine art and kindness, which we could all use a little more of right now.

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If you do this with your kiddos, please feel free to post links or pics!

 

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Mama’s Holiday Helpers

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I love this sweet idea from Magical Mama Lisa at Simple Gifts Toys.

She says, “I thought I’d show you all how my kids are earning Christmas gifting money while helping me get through the busy season. In the white envelopes are things like cup of cocoa, book with mommy, and a few tiny items from my shop.”

What a lovely idea!

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