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August 2004:

10 Ways to Make Today Magical

By Alicia Bayer

1. Go tree climbing together.

2. Have your child write up a letter about who she is, put it in a jar and bury it in the back yard. No back yard? Bury it in the park -- without identifying information, for safety reasons.

3. Conduct an experiment together. Develop a hypothesis and a way to test it, and then carry it out and record the results. Possible experiments include setting up a taste test of different brands of snacks; comparing reaction times for adults and kids (use a stopwatch and a ruler; have the person hold her finger and thumb open and then drop the ruler between them and say “go”, and then record how many inches pass before she can grab it); or making up concoctions to add to garden plants to see if any grow bigger.

4. Have a bubble race. Each person makes one bubble and tries to blow it across the room. If your bubble pops, start over. Everybody who reaches the finish line wins!

5. Have the kids decorate the bottoms of each others’ feet with washable markers (or do it with your little ones). This can be delightfully tickly. When they're all done, take a picture if you like and then assign them the task of running around in puddles ‘til they're clean. To extend the fun, mist a large piece of white paper with water and let them stomp on it and leave foot stamps of their designs.

6. Go to an "Art in the Park" exhibit together.

7. Each of you make a list of 15 things you want to do before your life is over. Take steps (no matter how small) toward making one come true for each of you. Does your daughter want to sky dive? Check out a book and find out the basics she'll need to know. Do you want to go to Europe some day? Look up tour rates online to see how much you'd need to save up. Resolve to do something towards one of the goals once a month together.

8. Go on a sprinkler walk. Take the kids and head to a neighborhood where lots of sprinklers spray onto the sidewalks. Try to get as wet as possible.

9. Invent your own soda pop together. Mix club soda with different fruit juices until you get the perfect taste.

10. Go swimming under the stars. Kiddie pools count!

© 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.


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"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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