1. When a piece of beautiful glassware breaks, save the pieces. An older child can file the sharp edges smooth with an emery board or file. The broken pieces are now gems. They can be used in a fountain instead of rocks, as part of creative cement work for your garden, as counters for young children, as tokens for home made games, or piled in a glass to look at - maybe set by a window so the sun can shine through, or dropped in any transparent liquid bottle, i.e. dish soap, perfume, etc. Every time you pick up that bottle to wash dishes, the tinkle of beautiful glass will make the task a bit easier.
2. I have been watching the drawing skill of Elizabeth grow and grow. She continually amazes all of us at school with her ingenuity and realism. What is essential about all her art work is that she paints what she sees. She does not paint from memory. And that is the secret! Visiting artists have shown us their photo journal and then the resulting painting. The impressionists went out to the fields and cafes for their impressions. Artists have models for their portraits. So the next time your child wants to draw a dragon, a car, a fairy.....find a picture in a magazine, encyclopedia or story book. Discuss with them what they see: a curve, a circle, a straight line. Then have them draw. They will be delighted (and so will you) at the result.
With 2 and 3 year old children, guide the child with words as well. Mackenzie drew a mermaid and everyone wondered 'did Mackenzie really draw that?' She did. We talked about what she wanted to draw, we looked at a drawing of a mermaid, and then I guided her with words....'you'll draw the body first, draw a long line, now the tail, draw a M, now another long line, go up, make a circle for the the head and go back to the other line." Cheyenne who is 2 wanted to draw her dog, Henry. So we looked at our dog - for our model, and talked about her body shapes. Then I guided her with words: draw a big circle for the body, draw a little circle for the head, draw lines for the legs,.....etc. Have fun drawing!
3. Every child at some time imagines themselves to be a fairy. A bit of costuming always helps to create this effect. Here is an easy way to make fairy wings. Use any gossamer type fabric - sheer curtain fabric, nylon net, silk, anything that is light and flowy. You will need two yards of fabric, cut one yard for each wing. Fold the yard of fabric in half. Stitch a running stitch about 3" parallel to the fold from one end to the other. Pull and thus gather the fabric with this stitch. Essentially you are making a sleeve in this folded fabric. Now cut the hem into jagged fairy type ribbon streamers. Have your child slip her arm through each sleeve and flutter in her new wings. Depending on the interest of your child, she could easily do the sewing with your guidance. It would be fun and easy to do at a child's birthday party. There is a nylon net with glitter in it that is particularly effective.
4. Having experienced major earthquakes and the Laguna Beach fire with children, I know the importance of emergency drills. Children should know what to do and where to go. Practice a fire drill and tornado drill. It is essential that you have a meeting place - usually a tree or light pole is easiest for children to remember. This is something one needs to do, not talk about. It only takes 30 seconds and is valuable information for your family.
5. A fun and easy game to make is the half game. Collect a set of 12 postcards of a subject your child is interested in. Cut them in half. Now use the cards as a memory game. See who can match the most halves. It's fun and interesting to see a half of something. This would be a nice present for a friend's birthday. Or use family photos (laminate these) to make a game to send to a distant cousin.
6. Children want to help in the kitchen and it's nice to have a child height table for their work. It's easy to create this in every kitchen. Pull out a cabinet drawer that is child height, set a tray on it, push the drawer in so that it holds the tray tightly. You now have a table for your child to chop lettuce, peel carrots, or slice cheese. Finish the work, put the tray next to the frig (that space that always is between the frig and the wall) so your child can easily find the tray. Next time, he can set up his own work space and be ready to help with meal preparation. We like to call it the presto table.