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December 2004:

10 Ways to Make Today Magical

By Alicia Bayer

1. Fill the bathtub with water balloons and let your tike take a bath with them.

2. Carve mini jack-o-lanterns out of oranges and use them as bowls for lunch or dessert.

3. Have a pajama party with another mama friend and her kiddos. Everybody camp out in the living room, or head home at bedtime. Pop popcorn, watch movies everybody loves, play games and be silly.

4. Find a tiny little museum to explore together — the odder, the better!

5. Go out for dessert together, just one-on-one with your child. Take forever, and really talk.

6. Jump in leaf piles! Throw them, roll in them, stomp in them and be a total fool in them. No leaves in your part of the world? Make up a whole slew of them from all different kinds of paper and toss them around. Afterwards, use them as window and wall decorations.

7. Serve soup or dinner in a pumpkin.

8. Make homemade dolls. Challenge the kids to be creative and use all sorts of found materials: acorns, corn husks, socks, tennis balls, scrap material, plastic bottles, spools — you name it. If you have boys, call them “people” instead of “dolls.”

9. Start a new dinner tradition. Blindfold your kiddos and let them point to a place on the map. Research it, and decide on a meal to cook from that area later in the week.

10. Play “Family Fear Factor”! Design a whole slew of gross, scary, wacky and harmless tasks for the kids (and grownups!) to go through together. One child can help plan the challenges with you each time. Some ideas: eat a pile of cooked liver and onions without using your hands; close your eyes and fall backwards into waiting arms; drink carrot juice with tomato chunks in it; bob for apples; hop on one foot through the kitchen … The winner gets a special crown or necklace and helps plan the next competition.

© Alicia Bayer. Reprinted by permission from A Magical Childhood.

NFO contributor Alicia Bayer is the publisher of A Magical Childhood, a web site celebrating the joy and simple pleasures of childhood. See more about Alicia.

NFO is maintained by volunteers. If you enjoy NFO, please help us cover our costs. Every single dollar counts!


"The media have become the mainstream culture in children's lives. Parents have become the alternative. Americans once expected parents to raise their children in accordance with the dominant cultural messages. Today they are expected to raise their children in opposition to it." -- Ellen Goodman, Boston Globe columnist


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