magical childhood

What Makes Childhood Magical? Part15: Collections

The Magic of Making A Collection

As adults, we forget that magic for kids can be something very ordinary, everyday, and simple, like making a collection. Every time we go out for a walk, Little Sister soon stops to pick up a rock or two to tuck into a pocket. If she happens to be wearing something without pockets, she will hold it tight in her hand before eventually asking someone to carry it for her. All pockets have to be checked diligently before putting any clothes in the washing machine! For her, rocks are very special.

making a collection for childrenMany children will collect rocks or something else such as buttons, stickers, shells, driftwood, shiny foil, pine cones, matchbox cars, dinosaurs, or other items. Not only are these important to kids, but they help with early learning and development.

making a collection for kidsWhen children make a collection, they practice paying attention to what they see and they learn to search for their particular items. They check the characteristics of things they find to see if they would match their collection items or not. Sometimes, kids have to choose among objects because they can not collect everything. We all need to practice making decisions and this is especially true for young children. Vocabulary, explaining, organizing, displaying, counting, categorizing, grouping, deciding, etc are just some of the kindergarten readiness and life-long skills that kids develop.

Collections can begin in childhood but continue for years, even becoming part of an adult’s career. I’m sure many researchers and scientists collected rocks, bugs, or nature items, when they were children. Occasionally, collecting also requires creative problem-solving with regards to finding storage solutions. Egg-cartons, fishing tackle boxes, and craft containers are possibilities for storing collections. Many, many adults have collections such as ball caps, old cars, vinyl records, stamps, books, teacups, coins, marbles, and clocks, to name just a few. I think it would be safe to bet, that the wonder and joy in collecting began in childhood, wouldn’t you?

What Makes Childhood Magical? Part 14: Pets

The Magic of Pets

magic of childhood petsHaving a pet is the dream and wish of many kids. Pets can be common or unusual, inside or outside. Sometimes as adults, we may put pets in a list of importance, starting with dogs or cats, then maybe hamsters, gold fish, and on down to frogs, caterpillars, and bugs. But kids have their own ideas about what to have for pets. A family in our neighborhood has a pet stick bug that lives in an old aquarium. It’s name is Branchy. In a way, choosing a pet is practice for being able to choose friends. Together, kids and pets play.

magic of childhood petsAs kids develop a bond with their pets, they also learn to be gentle and caring. Having a pet comes with responsibilities like cleaning, feeding, and exercising. Children also learn to think not just of what they themselves want but the wants and needs of their pets. Does the kitty like to chase a stick? No, it likes to chase a piece of string. Does the dog like to watch tv? No, it likes to go for a walk, (and eat icecream).

magic of childhood petsThe presidents of major unions should have the negotiating skills of kids as they try and talk parents into getting a pet. But there are lots of reasons why some pets are not possible, such as allergies, being in a place that doesn’t allow them, expense, and being away from home all day.

magic of childhood petsPets, in all shapes, colors, sizes, and kinds, become part of children’s family. Not only do kids become attached to their pets, but they learn about responsibility, and controlling their impulses and actions so they do not hurt their pets. This is the beginning of empathy for others. There’s some basic science too, about what pets eat, how they move, creating mini-environments, and more. Even though animals do not communicate in words, they encourage children’s language as kids talk to their pets, explain what their pets are doing, and tell others about them.

Are pets so magical for kids because they both have such a deep capacity for love, as well as for play? Does your child have a pet?

What Makes Childhood Magical? Part 13: Community Events

The Magic of Community Events

Magic comes in many shapes, sizes, colors, sounds, and tastes. One place to find a whole variety of these is at a community event or celebration. From clowns and candy floss, to parades and pony rides, and everything in between, kids remember special events and anticipate them from year to year. As grownups, we remember them too and can hardly wait to share them with our own children.

magic of childhood community eventsDo you have memories of some exciting events from your childhood? Growing up in a rural area, each spring and summer I got to go to a few rodeos and fairs. Some communities have been having these events for decades, and in a few cases, for more than 100 years! That is magic that endures.

Not only are events full of all kinds of stimulation for the senses, they also have lots of action and ways to move. Giant slides, bouncy castles, boat rides, and merry-go-rounds are a few of the exciting activities.

Unfortunately, some of these can be expensive, but there are often some that are affordable or even free. Packing a backpack of your own food and water and only buying a special treat is one way of saving money.

magic of childhood community eventsBeing part of a community is also important for social development. We all need to feel like we belong. Sharing community events and celebrations with others helps to promote this sense of belonging in kids and stretches their circle beyond the family. After a whole day of fun and magic, there might be fireworks to light up the night sky. Are community events and celebrations magic for your children–and you?

What Makes Childhood Magical? Part 12: Helping Out

Letting Children Help At first, letting kids help would seem to be the opposite of a magical childhood but involving them, where possible, contributes to feeling important, trusted, and capable. We all like to be included and that’s also true for kids. Do you remember times from your childhood when you were allowed to help? … Continue reading What Makes Childhood Magical? Part 12: Helping Out

What Makes Childhood Magical? Part 11: Singing

Sitting around a campfire and singing makes for magical moments and memories, but families can create that magic anytime. That includes lullabies, silly songs, songs to help when scared or sad, action songs, and more. Plus, songs can happen anywhere. Just in case you think songs are ordinary, here’s some proof. One is a video … Continue reading What Makes Childhood Magical? Part 11: Singing

What Makes Childhood Magical? Part 9: Active Play

The Magic of Active Play Abracadabra and Hocus Pocus might be magical words, and what words would be the opposite, especially to a child? I can think of two: Be still. The command to be still is not just unmagical, it’s practically torture. Did you know that kids need to move their bodies? That movement … Continue reading What Makes Childhood Magical? Part 9: Active Play

What Makes Childhood Magical? Part 8: Mud Play

To children, mud is magical. Altho countless generations of children have loved to play with mud, to a child mixing some, it seems to be unique and personal. Once kids know the formula, it can be created over and over. Mud Play There are so many different ways to play with mud. It’s fun to … Continue reading What Makes Childhood Magical? Part 8: Mud Play

What Makes Childhood Magical? Part 7: Dress-Up Play

The Magic of Dress-up Play Instead of needing a magic wand to transform boys and girls into princes and princesses, fairies, knights, pirates, doctors, superheros, or other characters, kids only need a dress-up box. Ordinary, everyday objects add to the play as a paper towel tube becomes a sword, a stack of bottle lids counts … Continue reading What Makes Childhood Magical? Part 7: Dress-Up Play

What Makes Childhood Magical? Part 6: Forts

What is it about blanket or other kinds of forts that makes them so special? As a child did you build them both inside and outside? Memories of childhood often include playing in forts and they certainly have a magical quality. Blanket Forts are Magical Spaces A fort, or GORF—good ol’ reliable fort—can magically be … Continue reading What Makes Childhood Magical? Part 6: Forts

What Makes Childhood Magical? Part 5: Magic Words

Formulas for magic include some special words like Alakazam or Abracadabra or Hocus Pocus. When children are young, many of us remind kids to use the magic words please and thank you.  While please and thank you get results, the other ones don’t seem to be very effective; but no matter what the words, words … Continue reading What Makes Childhood Magical? Part 5: Magic Words