Category Archives: Ways to make today magical

50 Ways to Make Today Magical (Coronavirus Edition)

Hello, magical people!  I know that many of us will be at home with our kiddos for quite a long time with the Coronavirus quarantines around the world and I thought a list of ways to make the day magical might help.  I have a master list of 100 ways to make today magical, but some of those are decidedly out right now (like visiting museums, throwing fairy parties, and probably that one about using toilet paper for fun!).

So I’ve compiled some of my favorite ways to make the day magical from over the years in a list of 50 ways to make a little magic (at home) with the kids right now.

50 Ways to Make Today Magical (at home)

1. Make pillow and blanket forts — pillow forts from the couch cushions, table forts with sheets, a clothesline fort in the back yard, or even giant forts with lengths of rope strung across the room and blankets draped over them.

2. Look through old family photos and videos.  Talk to the kids about what they were like when they were little, or what your own childhood was like.  Cuddle up, tell stories, and talk about happy memories.

3.  Watch a free streaming concert together.  MSN has All the Live Streams & Virtual Concerts to Watch During Coronavirus Crisis, which is being updated often.

4.  Teach your child how to make a favorite recipe.  Even little kids can learn to make simple things like sandwiches, and big kids love to learn how to cook fancier dishes.

5.  Print out some free toys!  Made by Joel offers free printables of everything from a Travel Size Paper City Paris Champs Elysees and Champ de Mars to paper slotted animals to an oscillating bird and more.  We’ve also loved the toys at The Toymaker for years.

6.  Sit down with your kids and make up lists of 10 or 20 things you each love about special people in your lives.  You can write the lists for kids who aren’t writing yet, but keep it in their words and have them add some decorations. Take a picture to text or email to each loved one.

7.  Have some fun with photo apps.  We created this fun picture of Alex with the free Photo Labs app.  Or just open up Snapchat and take some fun selfies together.  Print out and frame your favorite, if you like.

8.  Have an early morning balcony picnic and watch the sunrise together.  Get up early and grab something simple like fruit and a cup of tea and go sit and watch the sunrise together.  You can watch from your balcony, the roof of your apartment, your back yard or even a good window.  Take some time to just soak in the beauty and connect.

9.  Have a cleaning party together.  Yes, really!  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.  Celebrate when you’re finished by making a fun new mess by cooking together or doing crafts.

10. Make colorful soap clouds.  If you happen to have any Ivory soap and a bit of food coloring, this is a great time to make colorful Ivory soap clouds (and learn the science behind what’s happening).

11. Waste a box of birthday candles on repeated wishes at lunchtime.  Blowing out the candles is some of the most fun of birthdays for some kids, so sometimes it’s fun to do it just because.  Just put them one at a time in a muffin, sandwich, whatever.  Light the candle, make a wish, blow, repeat!  You join in too!

12. Make puzzles for breakfast.  Use cookie cutters to cut shapes out of toast, pancakes or french toast.  Let kids match the shapes to the pieces with the holes and fit back in.

13. Blow bubbles off the balcony or out the window.  This is especially fun if you live up high!

14. Do freeze dancing.  Put on a CD (or find some good songs on you-tube) and have the kids all dance wildly.  Every time you hit pause, they have to freeze in place.

15. Have the kids make up funny fortunes and put them in homemade fortune cookies or leave them in unexpected places like cereal boxes.

16. Play the gratitude game at dinner.  Go through the alphabet taking turns naming one thing you’re grateful for in life for each letter.  Anything counts, from artichokes to Aunt Julie.  🙂

17. Send people some laughs.  Task the kids with finding their favorite corny jokes, funny videos and other things that crack them up.  Text them to friends and family or have the kids call and tell them over the phone.

18. Cut out dozens of construction paper hearts and write a reason you love each other on each one.  Cover the windows or a door with them all, or hang them from the ceiling on lengths of yarn or ribbon.

19. Make poetry shells.  Gather up a bunch of pistachio shells, smooth rocks  or other natural objects and use a magic marker to write words on them.  Make sure to use adjectives, nouns and verbs.  For example…. I, you, we, love, wet, dogs, jumped, lick, stars…. the more words you make the more variety you can get in your poem.  Drop the rocks in a bucket, shake, and grab a handful to arrange into each line.  Make sure to add some funny words!

20. Throw a dinner party just for your family.  Put out the good china and some delicious appetizers, set the table grandly and dress the part.  Put on some music, light some candles and take your time enjoying your own company together.

21. Make up a batch of homemade playdough (white) and then hide different colors inside.  Poke a hole in the middle and add a little bit of food coloring.  Encourage kids to knead their balls of playdough and watch as they discover there’s more to it than it first appeared!  You can also do color mixing this way (make yellow and add blue to the center of one and red to another, for instance).

22. Bring snow or mud inside for the kids to play with.  Fill a big tub and give them cars, chopsticks, you name it to play with it.

23. Try circus tricks together.  See if you can juggle, balance a ball on your nose, walk a “tightrope” on the floor, clown around and so on.

24. Discover a new (old) TV series together.  This is a great time to introduce the kids to comedies that might have been before their time.  Our kiddos have really enjoyed My Name is Earl, Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn 99, Raising Hope and Malcolm in the Middle (note that there is sometimes mature content for little ones).  There are other great shows besides comedies too.  Smallville was a huge family favorite here (and it was on for ten years so there are tons of episodes!).  Other old shows to check out include Monk, The Great British Baking Show and Trading Spaces (though I’m not sure if that one’s available on streaming?).  Please add your recommendations in the comments!

25. Challenge the kids to make each other laugh as much as possible.  Try for all out belly laughs, snorts and the type of giggles where you can’t catch your breath.  If you can, catch it on tape to make you all laugh all over again later.

26. Go sledding or ice skating in the kitchen! Pull little ones around on towels, or have them put on socks and slip around the floor.  Older kids can pull the little ones and accidentally get some exercise in at the same time!  If you’re brave enough, give them a bucket of warm soapy water and have them “mop” the floor with their stocking feet.  My girls used to love to do this, though it can get pretty wet!

27. Start a recipe box or cookbook of family recipes you teach your child. Bake and cook them together and write each one out as you teach it to add to the collection.  Don’t know very many?  Learn together!

28. Be outrageously silly at odd times, for no reason, all day long!  Suddenly widen your eyes and say, “Oh no! I forgot to give you noisy kisses!” and scoop up your toddler.  Stick your tongue out and grin at your teenager.  Be silly as much as you possibly can.

29. Do some Pinterest-inspired arts and crafts.  Find a fun project, tutorial or bit of inspiration and sit down together to give it a try.

30. Start a paper chain of happy memories and accomplishments.

31. Have a family jam session.  Gather up instruments or make your own by filling containers with pennies and getting pots to bang on.  I love having older kids now who are great at playing the guitar and ukelele, but I also love hearing the little ones playing the kazoo or just shaking maracas.  My husband is great at playing a dozen instruments and I have a hard time even keeping a beat while clapping, but we have such fun all playing together.  Play songs you know and love, or make up songs together as you go.

32. Learn how to do The Cup Song with the kids.  Or, go old school and teach them how to do The Macarena or The Hand Jive.

33. Have fun with boxes.  If you’re getting lots of boxes coming into the house right now, why not let the kids put them to use?  Let them use them to make robots, tunnels, playhouses, you name it.  You can be fancy and help out, like the ultra-creative mama at Life as a Thrifter

Or just let the kids loose to make up their own fun!

34. Cut up a zillion paper snowflakes and decorate the house.  Paint them with watercolors to make them extra special.  Coffee filters make it even easier.

35. Have a silly word day.  Pick an ordinary word to be the silly word of the day, and anybody who accidentally says that word during the day has to do something silly.  For instance, if the silly word of the day is “car” and you forget and say it, you might cluck like a chicken or yodel.

36. Compliment each other, balloon style!  Pick someone in the room to focus on and toss a balloon up in the air.  Everybody else has to keep bopping the balloon up and keep it from hitting the ground.  You can’t bop it without calling out something fabulous about your subject though!  Think quick! See how long you can keep it up (and how many wonderful things people can think up about each other!).

37. Have an inside snowball fight!  Crumple up oodles of paper from the recycling bin and give each player a laundry basket full.  Find some good launching spots (behind the couch, behind a table…) and commence flinging!

38. Wear fancy clothes all day, just because.  We’ve had a whole stash of thrift store costumes, capes and prom dresses for years to make an ordinary Monday seem more special.

39. 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.

40. 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.

41. Start making toasts every night at supper.

42. Bake bread together.

43. 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.

44. Play balloon volleyball.  If you have enough balloons, try some of these other fun balloon activities.

45. Do some melted crayon art.  Line a warming tray or electric griddle with tinfoil and then place a sheet of paper on it.  Let kids draw on the paper with crayons, pressing down and drawing slowly so the crayons will melt into vibrant, waxy pools as they draw.  You can use mittens to help protect little ones from getting burned, but close supervision and cautions about the heat are the best protection.  We turn the heat to around 200 for little ones and 250 for older kids (and more satisfying results).

46. Take apart a bunch of old jewelry and try to make a new artistic creation together.

47. Let the kids decorate you.  As a busy homeschooling mama of five, I’ve had many days of entertaining kiddos even when life was… interesting.  One noteworthy day when I was particularly tired and sick from morning sickness, I let my little ones decorate me with washable markers and an older child gave me a pedicure.  🙂  They had a blast and I got to rest on the couch with my feet up!

(Side note: Every week for my prenatal visit with Fiona, my doctor would look to see what kind of a pedicure I had for that visit, since my kids were so fond of giving me crazy paint jobs and they always made her smile.  I also once accidentally showed up with magic marker legs under my pants that I’d forgotten about!)

48. If you have the go-ahead to walk around your neighborhood, grab a pack of colorful sidewalk chalk and head out to make the world more cheerful (even your own driveway).  Have the kids leave happy faces, sweet notes, rainbows, silly cat faces, flowers, goofy aliens, you name it, in various places just to make people smile.

49. Learn some new games — or make them up!  We play lots of card games here but also have fun making up games.  My older kids are especially good at finding creative new games online and then coming up with homemade versions.

50. Stage a virtual talent show for loved ones.  Assemble costumes and props and then sing songs, put on clown acts, recite poems, tell jokes, do magic tricks, whatever and record it all.  Send it to a loved one who could use a smile (and save it for years later when you can all smile at the memory!).

But most of all…

Have a little fun.

Our kids are relying on us to keep them feeling safe right now, so it’s a good time to turn off the TV and just focus on staying healthy and happy at home together.

This list is literally just a drop in the bucket of all the wonderful ways to make the best of the situation right now, but I hope it gives a little inspiration.  I’ll try to be back soon with another list.

Please add your favorite suggestions to the comments!

And with that, I’m off to play Nerts with my kiddos and rustle up lunch.  Stay well.  We’re all in different circumstances and some of us may feel especially alone right now, but we’re all in this together.  It’s a good time for all of us to count our blessings, love on our kiddos, and as always — don’t forget to take good care of you.

     ~Alicia 💙

 

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10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday! 

Long time, no see, I know!  How about we make a little magic this week? 

Note:  I started this post early Monday morning but I have a sick little girl today so I am just now finishing it.  Lucky for me, it’s still Monday so I’m still good.  😉

Here are ten little ways to make a little magic with your kiddos this week…

1. Leave some painted rocks in nature for folks to stumble upon. 

painted rock fiona

2.  Give the kids some paint pens or labels and pens, and let them alter some of your spice bottles with magical or crazy names.  Basil can become fairy grass or peppercorns can become eye of newt.  Let the kids’ imaginations run wild!  We did this a few years ago and it was so fun to open the cupboards and find our renamed containers!  

3.  Make a wreath for the door together. It can be made of anything — grapevine wreaths decorated with ornaments and ribbon, pine boughs wired in a circle with a big bow, or simple colored paper hand prints.  Do it together and hang it proudly.

4.  Head outside for a nature scavenger hunt.  If you like, make it an alphabet hunt and try to find items that start with each letter of the alphabet (like wooly bear caterpillar for W). 

5156395983_4f897a8ef4

5.  Give little ones laundry basket rides in the kitchen or down the hallway.  Put a pillow in the bottom, plop a child in and then push, pull and spin it around to your little one’s delight.  You can thread a jump rope or scarf through some holes or the handle to make it easier to pull.  Kids can give each other rides too (and the pulling is great exercise to expend some of that extra energy!).

6. Learn a song together and film yourselves singing it (as flamboyantly as possible!). Send the clip to loved ones and spread some smiles.

7.  Make Painted Soap Clouds

soap

8.  Go gather some pine cones (or whatever is similar in your part of the world) and bring them home to craft with them.  Cover them with glue, glitter, sequins and multicolored paint to display them all over the house and as ornaments.  Nothing is more fun to your average small child than getting to make gluey, glittery, multi-colored messes!

9. Leave silly notes in hiding places all over the house. It may take months for somebody to stumble on all of them, but it’s a wonderful way to break up an ordinary day to suddenly stumble on a note that says “Mama loves you” or “Kisses!  You must come give your grandma 18 kisses immediately upon finding this!”.

10. Dress up in super fabulous clothes and go grocery shopping.  Crowns optional!

And with that, chickadees, I’m off to hopefully not disappear for quite as long this time.  Have a magical week!

 

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10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday! 

It’s been too long since I’ve popped in and I’m once again resolving to find a way to do so more regularly. 

So let’s start by getting back to some ways to make the day more magical.  🙂

Here are 10 ways to make a little magic this week…

1. Go on a nature scavenger hunt.  I have a free fall nature scavenger hunt printable page here that you can use, or you can make up your own.

October nature find

2.  Make a leaf crown!  All you need are some pretty leaves (nothing else!) and about five minutes to make a gorgeous leaf crown.  Here’s a short video showing how to do it.

3.  Teach your child how to make a favorite recipe.  Even little kids can learn to make simple things like sandwiches, and big kids love to learn how to cook fancier dishes. 

fiona pizza sauce

4.  Go see a free presentation.  Local libraries, museums, schools and other community centers tend to sponsor all kinds of free talks on everything from butterflies to meteor showers to prohibition.  See if you can find some upcoming talks that your kids would be interested in and go learn something new together.

alex still

5.  Make up some homemade instant hot cocoa mix.  I shared our basic recipe in the Instagram post below. You can adapt the formula to make it vegan, sugar free or otherwise meet your dietary needs and preferences (chime in if you have a favorite paleo version!).  Adjust the proportions until you find the proper ratio for your tastes and then you have your own personal hot cocoa mix that the kids can mix up when they want to warm up with something sweet.

6.  Help your child start a collection.  Kids love to collect things — any things!  Some of our kids’ favorite collections over the years have been rocks, artist trading cards, bugs and bottle caps (Jack’s favorite collection).  You can even collect non-physical things, like types of clouds you’ve spotted (check out The Cloud Collector’s Handbook for a great book for doing that!).

bottle caps

7.  Have some fun with photo apps.  We created this fun picture of Alex with the free Photo Labs app.  Or just open up Snapchat and take some fun selfies together.  Print out and frame your favorite, if you like.

alex comic

8.  Leaf a message.  Use pretty leaves to write sweet or silly messages outside and see who will wander onto them!

View this post on Instagram

#justbecause #leafamessage

A post shared by Shari (@sharizat_eats) on

9.  Make some marbleized fall leaves.  Even if you don’t have fall leaves where you live (or not right now), you can make some gorgeous ones with your kiddos.  Apartment Therapy tells you how to use shaving cream, acrylic paint and watercolor paper to make these pretty leaves.

marbelized leaves

10. Have an early morning picnic and watch the sunrise together.  Get up a little early and grab something simple like muffins and a thermos of hot tea and go sit and watch the sunrise together.  You can watch from the back yard, your balcony, the roof of your apartment, a local park, or even pulled over in the car in a pretty area on your way to work and school.  Take some time to just talk and soak in the beauty. 

photo of toddler standing near lake

Photo by Káťa Prouzová on Pexels.com

And with that, my pretties, I’m off to find some food for a hungry little girl and try to wrestle my house in order.

Have a magical week!

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10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday!  I can’t wait to get back to yapping with you all again (if anybody is still out there!).

I’m sorry to be gone so long this time.  Life has only gotten busier since I started Magical Childhood nearly 18 years ago in 2000 (and later this blog instead of the emailed newsletter, in 2009).  Back then, I had a baby girl and a toddler, who are now both officially grown ups  — Rhiannon (Annalee) is now 18 and Victoria is 20 years old!  Luckily, I still have little ones too.  Fiona is now 6, Alex just turned 11 and Jack just turned 15.  My hands are full but my heart is happy, and I love having all different ages of kiddos to play with now.  🙂

I’ll start updating you all with some of the happenings here in our family, but in the meantime how about an old fashioned list of ways to make the day magical?

Here are 10 ways to make some magic this week!

1.  Make mud art!  Find a good place to dig in the dirt and provide some water, spoons, platters and pretties to decorate with (dried flower petals, dried beans, dragon tears, beads, etc.).  Let the kids mix up mud and make whatever designs they like and leave them to dry.  Take pictures and then just rinse and reuse the special stuff later.

mud art

2.  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.

pirate

3.  Use clean sand castle molds to an make ice cream castle.  Decorate wildly and eat!

4.  Teach the kids how to play marbles.  This is such a simple way to have fun at any age.  Here are the instructions if you’ve forgotten (or never learned!).

marbles

5.  Put birthday candles in each child’s dinner tonight.  It doesn’t matter if dinner is sandwiches and it’s 9 months from their birthdays, kids just love blowing out candles and feeling special. Relight them and do it again and again!

6.  Make paper boats and sail them in puddles or the kiddie pool.

7. Make some fairy wands.  This is a simple craft we’ve been doing for years.  Simply attach some colorful ribbons to sticks and you’re good to go.

ribbonwands

8.  Have a bubble relay outside.  Players blow or carry their bubbles from person to person and start over if they pop.  Alternately, blow a bubble and see if you can work as a team to blow it across a finish line.

9.  Go for a walk in the rain with your child.  Umbrellas optional.

puddlesboots

10. Have a family “3” challenge. See if each of you can do three sweet things today for each other family member today.  They can be tiny little things, just something to show you love them, things that you know will make them happy.  Make your teenager’s favorite dish for supper.  Leave the dishes and go read a story to your toddler.  Give extra monkey hugs (in our family, we dip kids upside down and holler “monkey hug!” and swing them back up again and again), and so on.

Have a magical week!

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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!

rhiaguitar

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. 

paperanimals

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.

fionabeach

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.

squirt

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.

alexapples

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!

snowballs

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.

icecatchers

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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10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday!

Sorry to be MIA for so long again.  Let’s see if I can do better this month!  🙂 

Here are a few ways to make some memories with your kiddos this week…..

1.  Head outside to enjoy the spring weather for some simple, old fashioned fun together.  Blow bubbles (the photo above is from about 8 years ago when the local paper caught me playing with Jack and Victoria in the front yard).  Fly kites. Toss the frisbee.  There’s a reason those things have lasted so many generations.  They’re just fun!

bubblenews

2. Paint some walking sticks.  Head out to the woods and found some good specimens, and then bring them home and decorate them.

3. Play magic eight ball radio.  This silly game is something my husband and our sixteen year-old, Victoria, came up with on their way to play practice together last month.  All they do is ask the radio a question (How is opening night going to go?  Should the family go to Sioux Falls tomorrow?  How is Alex going to act at the restaurant?) and then press “seek” on the radio.  The first line or sentence that someone says or sings after it finds a station is the answer.  Sometimes they have to press seek a few times to get a proper answer. The answers tend to be pretty funny, and our whole family was laughing when they taught us how to play last week.  🙂

radio

4.  Make some yarn eggs together.  We first did this craft when my Annalee was a preschooler.  She’s now fifteen!  Here are the instructions.

5.  Do some dice drawing!  Here’s a free printable to play this fun art game, or you could make up your own together.

6.  Go for a walk in the rain (or after the rain) and go puddle stomping together.

Dancing in the rain

7.  Make some Ivory soap clouds in the microwave and then paint them.  Here are the easy instructions and the science behind what happens.

8.  Do some chalk art around the house and yard together.  Parents magazine says:

Walk around outside your home with a piece or two of chalk and look for interesting patterns — eyes in knots of wood, oddly shaped cracks in the sidewalk or driveway, a nail hole in the wall — that can be turned into a little picture with a few quick strokes. Let your imagination lead you; chalk isn’t permanent. Take a photo for yourself, then leave your art for someone else to find.

9.  Do a photo shoot together.  Kids of all ages love to pose for photos, and then you can play with filters and photo apps to perfect the shots.  This is also one of my kids’ favorite ways to make memories with each other.  My big kids are always getting the little ones to pose for them.  🙂

Photo by Jack (age 9), edited by Anna (age 12)

Photo by Jack (age 9), edited by Anna (age 12)

think

Photo of Fiona (age 3) by Anna (age 14)

10.  Make some DIY cardboard box kits!  I absolutely love this idea from Inner Child Fun.  Head over for the easy instructions.

And with that, chickadees, I’m off to try to catch up on the next 150 things I’m behind on!  Have a magical week!

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Random Acts of Holiday Kindness

Happy Tuesday!  Sorry to be gone so long again.  There has been all sorts of mayhem in our busy little house, as always.  Once again, I’m working on finding a way to post here more often.  We’ll see how it goes!

I know that a lot of families do Random Acts of Kindness this time of year and I stumbled on this post from coffee cups and crayons that listed 24 of them to do with kids.  There are even free printables to go along with it. I especially like the idea of “candy cane bombing” a parking lot.  🙂

FCUBED has just a few RAK ideas but I really liked the idea of taping popcorn to the Redbox machine.  🙂

My friend Tiffany does her own RAK holiday fun with her kids each December and you can follow along with their sweet ideas on her blog at Harried Homeschooling Mama.

And this one isn’t random acts of kindness  but I really love the idea of 25 Days of Zen – Holiday Edition from Zen Schmen.

And for heaven’s sake, don’t worry about starting late or doing enough days.  Do a bunch of little ones in one day together, or do one a day from now on, or one total, or anything that works for you and yours.  Those of you who know me know that I’m all about letting go of guilt and perfectionism!  Just have fun with it!

Happy Holidays!  Don’t forget to slow down and enjoy the magic of the season.  🙂

 

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10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday!

I hope things are good in your little corner of the world.  Things are pretty good in ours.  I have all of my chicks back in the nest, which makes for a crowded but happy nest in my book.

This summer, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder related to my blood (Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome or Hughes Syndrome) and also with a seizure disorder.  My neurologist has prescribed anti-seizure medication but it’s a pretty serious medication and I’m generally a natural kind of girl.  If anybody has experience with natural treatments to help manage seizures, please leave me a note!  These are not the type of seizures that make me lose consciousness or anything like that, just frequent “sharp waves” and “lightning strikes” throughout the day that make life a little more challenging (as if having five kids doesn’t do enough of that already!).

My husband read once that September is the month of winds and magic.  This certainly is a magical time of the year.  Here are a few ways to make some memories with the kiddos this week….

1.  Stop at a park you pass and explore it together.

August 8

We passed this tiny park about an hour from our home and we got a kick out of the quote by Ole Synsteby about how busy folks are “these days” with their motor cars and such.  🙂

August 8

2.  Teach the kids some magic tricks.  Here’s one site that has some simple ones for kids.

3.  Go feed some ducks, pigeons or seagulls.

4.  Tell the kids that they can’t use their hands for dessert tonight.  Take pictures!

5.  Do some playing in history.  Make cardboard viking shields, have a Little House on the Prairie day, eat like the Colonial Days, make LEGO pyramids or otherwise delve into history through play.  You can peek at my Playing in History board on Pinterest for inspiration.

6.  Watch movies with the kids of when they were little or snuggle up on the couch and look through old photo albums.  Tell stories and be sappy.

7.  Throw a family cocktail party.  Make up some little appetizers and arrange some party platters with tasty favorite foods that you usually reserve for parties.  Put out some fun and fancy looking drinks and fancy glasses (or plastic partyware).  Even orange juice turns fancy in a special glass with a sugared rim!  Tell everybody to dress up, put on some background music and mingle!

8.  Find a really old cookbook and make a meal fit for an old fashioned family.  Some of the intriguing recipes we’ve found include Porridge, Lone Ranger Sandwiches, Creamed Chicken in Potato Nests and Jumbo Prunes with Cream.  Some sound more tempting than others!

9.  Do balloon chores!  Write simple jobs on small pieces of paper and slip them into balloons.  Blow up the balloons and let the kids each pick one to pop.  They do whichever job is inside.  When their job is finished, they get to pop another balloon and do the next one.  Fill a few of them with jokes or other fun freebies, too.

10. Have a Ten Good Deeds Day.  Each family member picks 10 things to do for others (strangers or loved ones) and writes them down.  When the last one is done, everybody celebrates with a little group reward.  Try to log the good deeds in a special place so you can look back on them later.

And with that, I’m off to feed my hungry masses and wrestle the kitchen into shape.  Have a magical week!

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10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday!  And happy Labor Day to those in the states, as well!

Here are a few ways to make a little magic with the kiddos this week…..

1.  Go splash in the rain together — or in the puddles after the rain is over.  My 14 year-old Anna took 2 year-old Fiona outside to dance in the rain yesterday and before long she was joined by her big sister Victoria and then Dad and then 11 year-old Jack.  They had a blast before they finally came back in, soaking wet but grinning ear to ear.

Dancing in the rain

2.   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.  Who says cleaning has to be dull?!

3.  Take part in the Spore Project!  This fun art project involves simply making mushrooms from paper lunch bags to decorate a bit of land someplace.  The creators explain:

The SPORE Project is an awareness program to support creativity and art education by constructing and planting mushrooms made from paper lunch bags.  

Ten of thousands of paper bag mushrooms have been constructed and planted by hundreds of individuals, students and organizations around the world.

As of may 2011, paper bag mushrooms have been planted in every continent of the world.. including Antarctica!

Take part in the Spore Project!

You can learn more on the Spore Project website or their fun Facebook page.

4.  Make colored ice blocks for the bath.  Here’s how we do it.

5.  Go graffiti spotting.  My Anna is a huge graffiti fan and she loves to go places to photograph particularly well done work.  Trains and urban areas are where we’ve found the best stuff.  (This one was a memorial for a young man who died.)

 6.  Make up some batches of play dough with natural dyes.  It’s great fun to experiment to make your own colors.  Here’s our recipe.

7.  Sit down with your kids and make up lists of 10 or 20 things you each love about special people in your lives.  You can write the lists for kids who aren’t writing yet, but keep it in their words and have them add some decorations.  Then mail them out or take a picture to email to each loved one.

8.  Head out with a permanent marker and alter some leaves.  Leave them discreetly in nature where observant passers-by will happen upon them and get a smile.  🙂

alter leaves

9.  Set up some art supplies outside and let the kids make a glorious, artistic mess.

10. Have you microwaved a bar of Ivory soap with the kids yet?  Take it one step further and make colorful soap clouds!  Here’s how we do it, along with the science behind the fun.

And with that, chickadees, I’m getting back to work.  I have lots of updates to share, but they’ll have to wait till slightly later.  I have a broken oven, a (mildly) flooded basement, a recovering boy and the messiest house this side of the Mississippi to deal with. 

I’ll be back soon, but in the meantime — have a magical week!

 

 

 

 

 

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10 Ways to Make Today Magical

10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday!

Sorry for my long absence.  This has been a busy bunch of months for us, with lots of doctor visits and tests for me, along with lots of fun and activities for our whole family.

Here are a few ways to make some memories this week….

1.  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.

2.  Waste a box of birthday candles on repeated wishes.  You join in too!

3.  Make up a batch of homemade playdough (white) and then hide different colors inside.  Poke a hole in the middle and add a little bit of food coloring (we like the paste food coloring sold for cake decorating because it’s so intense and comes in lots of colors).  Encourage kids to knead their balls of playdough and watch as they discover there’s more to it than it first appeared!  You can also do color mixing this way (make yellow and add blue to the center of one and red to another, for instance).

4.  Write something random and silly halfway down the toilet paper roll and then roll it back up again.

5.  Get together with friends and take wacky photos around town.

6.  Make a vision board for the new school year together.  Gather up a bunch of old magazines, sheets of posterboard and scissors and glue.  Have your children cut out words and pictures that represent things they want for the new year, then glue them onto the board.  Encourage them to be optimistic and to dream big!

7.  Make fizzy cupcakes.  Bake and frost cupcakes and then sprinkle them with Pop Rocks.  We usually avoid junky stuff like that but every once in a while it’s pretty fun to have really crazy treats.

8.  Challenge the kids to make each other laugh as much as possible.  Try for all out belly laughs, snorts and the type of giggles where you can’t catch your breath.  If you can, catch it on tape to make you all laugh all over again later.

9.  Go on a joking spree!  Write out corny jokes on small pieces of paper and leave them for folks to find– on counters, in bathroom stalls, you name it.

10. Throw a dinner party just for your family.  Put out the good china and some delicious appetizers, set the table grandly and dress the part.  Put on some music, light some candles and take your time enjoying your own company together.

And with that, I’m off to tend to an injured boy, snuggle with a small girl, hang out with some bigger kids, figure out lunch, work on a family video message for a certain teenager and clean like crazy.  Or at least a bit of that…  We’ll see how it goes!

Have a magical week!

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