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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Filed under Book Recommendations, crafts, printables

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

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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Garden Potions!

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Here’s a sweet way to make a little magic in the back yard this summer.

My Alex had been having fun making “potions” with rain water, grass clippings and such, and he asked me to help him find new ingredients.  I decided to make it a little extra magical and went and got a pitcher of tap water and a can from the recycling.  I secretly dropped a few drops of green food coloring in the bottom of the can, and then made a show of filling the “empty” can with some grass clippings from the yard.

I gave him the pitcher and told him that I’d put magic grass in the can.  Then I had him pour some water into the can and pour the can into a bucket.  Of course, the water in the can instantly turned bright green when it mixed with the food coloring at the bottom, and Alex and Fiona watched in amazement as the magically green water poured into the bucket.  🙂

I also asked the kids to find 8 yellow dandelions for a second can (that I’d already secretly sprinkled with some yellow food coloring), and we used spent lilac blossoms for a third can that had some blue. 

I also gave them a jar of fairy dust (Florida sand from a vacation) to sprinkle in.

Lastly, I had them gather dandelion puffs so they could blow wishes into their concoctions.

I gave them lots of buckets to pour into, so they could also have fun with color mixing.

Alex is old enough that he easily figured the secret out, but he had fun pretending anyway.  Little Fiona just had fun gathering the ingredients and pouring and pouring.

They happily played for an hour with their potions.  It was an easy, nearly free, absolutely magical way to have some back yard fun.  We’ll definitely be doing more of it!

I also picked up an old spice rack with little glass bottles at a thrift store, and I’m going to assemble a whole magic potion rack for them to use sometime soon in their outdoor play kitchen.  I’ll try to post pictures and update how that goes!

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