Tag Archives: fall

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 Sharizat (@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!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under activities, crafts, happy stuff, neat stuff elsewhere, printables, Ways to make today magical

Shrunken Apple Heads!

Here’s a fun little science and nature craft just in time for Halloween.  The kids and I made shrunken apple heads this month and it’s been great fun watching them change over time.

shrunken apple heads

All you need are some apples (we used imperfect ones off a generous neighbor’s tree), salt and lemon juice.

First peel your apples.  You can leave a little on the top and bottom like a little hat and scarf.

Then give your child some carving tools (a chopstick, grapefruit spoon or pen knife all work well, depending on your child’s age and skill level with tools).  You can trace your design first with a pen or pencil, if you like.

Carve out a face, making sure to make each feature large since they will shrink up and collapse somewhat.

shrunken apple head

Then mix up some salt and lemon juice and apply it all over, especially in the parts you’ve carved out.  This will prevent mold and also protect them from getting too brown.  If you like, you can talk to the kids about how salt has been used for thousands of years to preserve foods and other things, and how acids like lemon juice slow oxidation (browning caused by a chemical reaction when substances react with oxygen).

preserving shrunken apple head

Now just put your apple heads somewhere to dry.  Choose a location where you can watch them and keep up with how they change.

Have fun!

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under activities, crafts

10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday!

Sorry for disappearing for so long again.  It’s a busy time of year for us here, with lots of hiking to enjoy the season and lots of “putting things up” from our gardens, from friends’ apple trees and from produce bought in bulk from local farm families.

October is such a magical month.  It isn’t hard to find lots and lots of ways to make the days magical.  Here’s a few options for the week.

1.  Get the kids’ shoes or bare feet muddy and help them “walk” across the ceiling to leave muddy footprints. 

2.  Dress up the dog in a different crazy costume each night this week and go walking with the kids.

3.  Do some fall nature crafts.  You can find a round-up of ten of my favorites here.

4.  Use a pumpkin for a Mr. Potato Head or use playdough to make fun faces.  Here’s a few dozen other fun things to do with pumpkins besides just carving them.  🙂

10 Ways to Make Today Magical 10-28

5.  Dress the kids up in their Halloween costumes and visit a nursing home to deliver treats to the residents (call first and find one who’d welcome the treats and visitors).

6.  Here’s a delightful suggestion from Sakina on the Magical Childhood Facebook page:  here is my magical childhood moment earlier today… perhaps it’s already on your list somewhere??… let your child become the make up artist on yourself.  🙂

sakima

I love it!  🙂  Thanks Sakina!

7.  Do some Day of the Dead crafts and teach the kids the history of this historic festival that honors loved ones who have died.  Here’s some information about the day and here’s some fun crafts.

8.  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

9.  Dress the kids up in old fashioned clothes and go visit a historic site like a train museum or a pioneer village.  Pretend you live in those old times and talk about what it would be like.

10. Try this lovely idea from Parents: 

You can brighten your yard with this temporary art project that highlights (but doesn’t harm) a favorite tree. First soak sidewalk chalk in water for a couple of hours to soften it, then go outside and choose a tree that’s looking a little drab — the smoother the bark, the better. Rub the chalk on the trunk to give it a coat of color. Smooth out the chalk and blend the hues with a large paintbrush and water.

Originally published in the March 2013 issue of FamilyFun

And with that, my dears, I’m off to play ball with a small boy, bake some gluten free bread and wrestle some piles of laundry into order.

Have a magical week!

 

4 Comments

Filed under Ways to make today magical

10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday!

I keep meaning to get back to posting daily or near-daily, but life is still so busy  here.  We are finishing up the season of “putting things up” — making applesauce and apple cider from extra apples on friends’ trees, grape jelly from Grandma’s backyard grapevines, salsa from flats of tomatoes from the farm family down the highway, and so on.  I love this season and I love that Daryl and I have taught ourselves these old fashioned skills and are teaching them to our kids, but it is a lot of work and I will also love the slower pace of winter once the apples, zucchinis, tomatoes, pumpkins and other goodies have all been dealt with.

We’ve also been busy with making the most of fall — lots of hiking and outings, nature studies and so on. 

Magical Childhood is always busy this time of year, when What Should a Four Year-Old Know? gets shared again and brings a new flurry of visitors.  Many of you know it was also shared in Huffington Post last month, and it was translated into another handful of languages.  Another neat thing is that a community magazine in North Dakota asked to reprint my article 10 Things to Do Instead of Yelling, which is one of my favorite articles from my parenting columns at examiner.com.  I’m trying to finish up the Magical Childhood book at last, too, but to be honest I am more than a little flaky about finishing it and I tend to go off and play when I should be working.  🙂  Perhaps saying it here will help motivate me to get back to work!

And that’s enough yapping out of me. 

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

1.  Make some leaf art, like Color Me Katie She punched out little hearts from dead leaves and then created whimsical vines and such around her neighborhood with them.

2.  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.  🙂

3.  Take your child out for coffee or dessert.  Head out someplace, just the two of you, to enjoy some lazy conversation over something tasty.  Take the time to really talk (and listen!).

4.  Bring the kiddie pool inside and fill it with fun nature items like dried leaves and seed pods.  Spread a sheet out underneath it to help with cleanup.  To make it even more fun, give your little one some markers to decorate the leaves and items.  Be sure to involve the kids in the clean up!

5.  Make pumpkin pie playdough.  We made this every fall for years and I need to make it up again soon (I’m going to try swapping corn flour for the flour for my gluten free little guy this time).  It smells heavenly and is so much fun to play with!  Note that this makes a lot (we have a lot of kids!), so feel free to use some math with the kids and make smaller batches.

Pumpkin Pie Playdough Recipe

  • 5-1/2 cups flour
  • 2 cups salt
  • 8 teaspoons of cream of tartar
  • 1 container (1-1/2 oz) of pumpkin pie spice  ( If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, just substitute cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves, or whatever combination of them you have on hand!)
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • orange food coloring (2 parts yellow, 1 part red)
  • 4 cups water

Mix all ingredients. Cook and stir over medium heat until all lumps disappear. Knead the dough on a floured surface until it is smooth. Store in a plastic bag.

Note:  For extra sensory fun, you can also let the kids press in some clean roasted pumpkin seeds. 

6.  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!

7.  Make some fall projects like twig looms.

8.  Write a letter to your child all about who he is right now, what he loves and why you love him.  Tuck it into someplace safe for the future.  Be sure to show him or tell him all those things too!

9.  Stick a giant piece of clean contact paper to a window (sliding glass doors are also perfect) and gather up an assortment of seasonal pretties for your child to stick to it.  You can use fall leaves, squares of colorful tissue paper, shapes cut from construction paper, natural items like milkweed fluff, you name it. 

10.  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.

And with that, magical people, I’m off to do the oh-so-magical task of several loads of laundry.  Perhaps I’ll tickle some small people on my way….

Have a wonderful week.  Don’t forget to take care of you!

 

 

 

7 Comments

Filed under Ways to make today magical

10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Tuesday!

I hope all is well with you and yours.  Here’s a few ways to make some memories with your kiddos this week….

1.  Make some playdough pumpkin faces.

2.  Make a spooky family message for the answering machine.

3.  Play Household Chore Bingo.  Add some silly ones too!

4.  Cancel everything and just hang out together.  Sit on the porch swing and talk, go for a walk, bake bread or sort through old pictures and do a scrapbook together.

5.  Make painted jar luminaries like these from Crafts By Amanda.

6.  Assign each family member the task of writing up 3 interview questions for the family.  Drop them in a jack-o-lantern or big bowl and put them in the center of the table to read during lunch.  Take turns drawing a question and answering it, then pass the pumpkin to the next person.  The questions can be silly (If you were an ice cream flavor, which one would it be?) or serious (What is something you did but later wished you hadn’t?  What is something you’re really proud of?).

7.  Take the time to write a letter to your child, just saying how much you love him and some things you’ve enjoyed doing with him lately.  Tuck it in a school book for him to find later.

8.  Go to a book reading at a local bookstore.

9.  Gather a pile of leaves and dive into them together.  Make a wild, wonderful mess.

10. Set up a picnic table or card table outside and have a fall picnic supper.  Light a Jack-o-lantern for a centerpiece and serve hot cider or cocoa to keep folks toasty warm.

Also check out my list of 50 fun ways to connect with your child in fall here

And with that, chickadees, I’m off to go on a fall walk with some small children and a Sharpie marker, and graffiti some fall leaves for passers-by! 

Have a magical week!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Ways to make today magical

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!  🙂

 

1 Comment

Filed under crafts

10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Friday!

Long time, no see, huh?  Life has been busy here, but in mostly wonderful ways.

Among our biggest new developments…

  • Our family took a trip to Ohio to see my long-lost father’s family and my grandmother.  My late mother hid me from my father until after his death and I grew up not knowing that side of my family.  I found them in 2001 and got to go home and meet them all when the girls were itty-bitty, and this trip I got to return so my kids and husband could meet them too.  I am so happy to have them in my life.  They have told me and my kids so many wonderful stories of my dad and they are such loving, fun, fabulous people.  It was just a profoundly wonderful trip back!
  • Little miss Fiona is getting ready to turn one year old next month!  How did that happen so fast?
  • Best of all… Victoria had her three month PET-CT scan and the doctors found no traces of cancer!  She needs to wait five years before she can be officially declared cancer free, but this is such wonderful news!  🙂

Now, how about we get back into the swing of things with a few ways to make a little magic this week?

1.  Go on a natural toy hunt.  Head out with your favorite small people and tromp through the woods, park or neighborhood looking for all sorts of wonderful autumn items to take home and play with, craft with and imagine with.  Acorns, seed pods, gorgeous leaves and chestnuts are just a few of the wonderful goodies you can collect this time of year.

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.  Make up some masking tape inside games The kids can do target practice, tic tac toe and lots more. 

4.  Or just give the kids a roll of painter’s tape.  Let them make roads, targets, towns, mosaics, paths, words or whatever their hearts desire.

5.  Carve and dye some mini pumpkins!  Isn’t this a darling idea?

6.  Make leaf mazes.  If you have a large yard full of leaves, rake a maze pattern in it and have the kids run, walk or bike it.  Challenge them to make lots of leaf mazes and then rake the leaves into piles for jumping.  (When you’re done, put the leaves on your gardens or in your compost pile or offer them to gardeners to keep the bags out of landfills.)

7.  Make pumpkin pie playdough.  We made this every fall for years and I need to make it up again with some gluten free experimentation for my little guy.  It smells heavenly and is so much fun to play with!  Note that this makes a lot, so feel free to use some math with the kids and make smaller batches!

Pumpkin Pie Playdough Recipe

  • 5-1/2 cups flour
  • 2 cups salt
  • 8 teaspoons of cream of tartar
  • 1 container (1-1/2 oz) of pumpkin pie spice  ( If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, just substitute cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves, or whatever combination of them you have on hand!)
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • orange food coloring (2 parts yellow, 1 part red)
  • 4 cups water

Mix all ingredients. Cook and stir over medium heat until all lumps disappear. Knead the dough on a floured surface until it is smooth. Store in a plastic bag.

8.  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!

9.  Make a spooky family message for the answering machine.

10. Go find a big pumpkin and plop your favorite tiny person inside it.  🙂  I still smile when I see pictures of when we did this with baby Jack all those years ago.

And with that, chickadees, I’m off to clean some messes and make some new ones!  Have a wonderful weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Ways to make today magical