Here are 10 ways to add some magic to your days with your kiddos and turn an ordinary day into a memory.
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.
Alicia Bayer lives in rural Minnesota with her husband and five children, ages two to fifteen. She has maintained the non-profit websites “A Magical Childhood” and the Magical Childhood blog for over ten years. She also writes columns for examiner.com on the topics of homeschooling, green living and attachment parenting.