magical childhood

What Makes Childhood Magical? Part 4: Nature

If you were writing a recipe for a magical formula for childhood, what would you include? How about a heaping dose of NATURE?

Formula For A Magical Childhood Needs Nature

nature and childrenNo matter where we go in the world, there will be Nature. Regardless of our age, we are all part of nature and to children, a connection with nature is a constant adventure. Turning over a rock can reveal a secret world of bugs and worms. A tiny butterfly almost comes with an extra set of wings for a watching child. From the ground beneath a small pair of boots to the vast sky, there is the mystery of change balanced with the certainty of nature’s cycles. No wonder Nature is magical.

In his book, Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv writes, “We have such a brief opportunity to pass on to our children our love for this Earth, and to tell our stories. These are the moments when the world is made whole. In my children’s memories, the adventures we’ve had together in nature will always exist.”

These nature adventures do not need to be extensive or expensive. They can be as simple as a walk around the block to see the changing of seasons, a blanket in the backyard to watch the clouds against the backdrop of the sky, planting seeds in a corner of the yard or in a pot on an apartment balcony, splashing in puddles left by the rain, throwing rocks in the pond, making leaf soup, peeling the bark off a stick on the ground, noticing a spider web on a bush, and more.

Sometimes, in urban areas, nature isn’t as obvious but it’s still there. Bunnies and squirrels are fascinating creatures to watch, so are ants. Petting zoos may appear in your area in the summer and give an opportunity for children to see more animals. Parks, playgrounds, and community gardens are also pockets of nature in most areas.

What sort of encounter of the Nature kind will your child have today?

What Makes A Magical Childhood? Part 3: Books

When we become parents, we all wish that we had a magic wand to conjure up a wonderful childhood for our kids—as well as some sleep for us, but that’s not exactly the reality. However, there’s another sort of magic which we can share with our kids, and that’s the magic of books.

A Book is Like A Magic Wand

books and magic of childhood Yes, we live in a digital age but physical books involve children to a far greater extent than stories on screen. A book is an entire self-contained unit. Kids can see the pictures and the book as a whole. The story seems to begin at the front of the book and ends at the back, but it echoes in the mind over and over. The pictures and words do not change, they are always and predictably the same. Kids learn that the book is not responsible for any changes and can correct tired parents who try to skip over parts of the story or make mistakes. That’s just part of the magic.

The story itself can cast spells and transport us through time and space. Children see strange animals and plants in books places in the world they may never see. They can visit other people, in the past and the future. They can travel to outer space and explore under the sea. What we can do and where we can go is limitless in books. Reading and sharing books and stories with kids is one of the most valuable activities of childhood. And anytime grownups want to reconnect with the magic, all they have to do is open a book. Is there a book that immediately reminds you of your childhood? Once upon a childhood…. What would you write for the next line? What would your child?

What Makes A Magical Childhood? Part 2: Imagination

Have you come across the article about a magical childhood by Bunmi Laditan? Making a childhood magical doesn’t require a magic wand, or that parents and caregivers be magicians—altho we often are. This is the second in a series of blog posts about ways to weave some spells for kids.

magical childhood imagination

Magic Needs Imagination:

Although it’s not listed as a factor in intelligence, imagination is a tremendously powerful tool of the mind. In the words of Carl Sagan, “Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were, but without it we go nowhere.” Could you use a few tricks to help your child develop and use imagination? Here are some abracadabras:

  1.  Read books and tell stories–magic on every page.
  2. Change the endings of the characters. There’s a wonderful story about Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems that want Goldilocks to stay so she can be lunch. Kids catch on to the humor and find the story very funny. You and your child can make up something similar with 3 of practically anything.
  3. Turn ordinary into extraordinary. For example, make up a conversation between a fork and spoon when unloading the dishwasher. When folding the clean laundry, slip a sock on your hand and have the sock tell where to put the clean clothes, like the fridge and other mixed up places. Put a sock on your child’s hand that tells the right way to do it.
  4. When riding on the bus, imagine if it goes someplace else like to the moon, or across the ocean.
  5.  At mealtimes, add a voice for the table.
  6. When it’s bathtime, maybe the tub can be the ocean.

Imagination is not something confined to childhood. It’s also a valuable skill in adulthood. Many companies require people with highly developed imaginations for new ideas, products, and solutions. Imaginative activities require little or no expense. They can be done anywhere, anytime, and with anything. Does imagination have a part in your child’s play?

What Makes Childhood Magical? Part 1: PLAY

PLAY Makes Childhood Magical Recently, a popular article has been circulating written by Bunmi Laditan declaring “I’m Done Making My Kid’s Childhood Magical.” This mom states that she’s had it with themed birthdays, elaborate crafts, and contrived memories. She explores some of the things that made childhood magical for her. After reading, I tried to … Continue reading What Makes Childhood Magical? Part 1: PLAY