I Made a Magical World for My Girl to Make up for the Real One
I’m a woman of faith, but have always believed that magic, fantasy, and loads of imagination can benefit any child. Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny are always welcome, any closet in my home might just be a doorway to Narnia, and invisible best friends can sit at our dinner table any night of the week.
Adulting is tough. Reality smacks you hard in the face every morning when you wake up and think about that day’s overwhelming list of to-dos. By the time high school rolls around (which is always sooner than we think!), our little ones face their own stressful version of reality, as well.
With this knowledge looming heavily over me, I’ve endeavored to find as many ways to weave magic and fantasy into my little girl’s daily life as I could for as long as she would accept it. She is grown now with three littles of her own now, but we both look back fondly on some of our favorite magical memories from her childhood.
The Magic Oven
My husband and I were ridiculously young and undeniably broke when our daughter was born. “Fancy” toys were hard to come by, so she treasured any special gift she received. One of her favorites was not meant to be a toy at all.
My mom worked at a large retail store at the time and brought us a tiny oven that had been some sort of sale display. The door really opened and it even had little racks inside. My preschooler was in awe.
The little stove brought hours of fun for many years, but the most memorable times were when we baked magic play dough cookies. I would set my daughter up with everything she needed to roll and cut her play dough into cookie shapes, which we would place on a little tray and pop into the oven.
Convincing her they needed time to bake, I would set a timer and send her to another room for some reason or another. I just needed to buy a minute or two of time alone. Quickly, I would grab a handful of real cookies from the cupboard and swap them for the dough. When the timer rang, she would trot back into the room to check on her cookies.
No matter how many times we replayed this scene, she was always thrilled to discover that the magic oven had turned her play cookies into real ones.
Starry Sky Fort
Cardboard boxes were a cherished prize in our home. First, they were usually free (read: young and broke, above) and second, they could become virtually anything. One that became my daughter’s special retreat was a simple yet enchanted fort.
We crafted the fort together. She drew on a door, a window and curtains, I cut out the openings and we painted it inside and out, with the ceiling colored the dark blue of the night sky.
Later, when she was on an outing with her Mema, I dug up a string of white Christmas lights. Strategically poking holes in the top of the box, I pushed each light into place in the roof of the fort. After moving the box close to an outlet, I draped a piece of fabric over the top. When she noticed, I said I thought it made the fort prettier, although it was actually an attempt to hide the white cord. Fortunately, she agreed with my assessment.
When evening rolled around, I suggested she go inside the fort and see if she could see the stars. She complied, but then informed me there were no stars to be found. I urged her to try again, this time scrunching her eyes tightly closed and wishing with all her might. As she did, I plugged in the cord, quickly rewarded by a fascinated gasp as she opened her eyes to see that her wish had come true. (Of course, I never left the cord plugged in when I was not right there keeping an eye on things.)
Fairy Pen Pal
As my daughter grew a little older and started school, her life became a little more stressful. There were the best friend arguments, the difficult math work, and the worries about fitting in. Although I was always available to lend an ear, offer advice, and give a big hug, sometimes she just needed something a little more to boost her spirits.
That’s when Meadow Goldglitter came along. One morning, she awoke to a small, glitter-laden, cardboard mailbox on the kitchen counter (again, those boxes come in so handy!). Inside was an equally glittery note from Meadow asking if she would like to be her pen pal. My daughter was still young enough to go for this sort of thing and began writing her little heart out to her magical new friend.
Sometimes Meadow replied with a profound tale of encouragement or guidance. Other times, a short note and a small gift, such as some fairy stickers or a temporary tattoo, seemed a better fit. Although she outgrew the friendship too quickly for my liking, that mailbox provided hope, cheer, and a bit of magic that helped my little girl weather some childhood storms.
As children have a habit of doing, my baby girl flourished into a young woman. However, I do believe the magical moments left an impression on her. I would share more about the fantastical fun we had all those years ago, but I have to run. My grandchildren are visiting and we have some play dough cookies to pop in the oven.
What are some ways you bring magic and fantasy into your kids’ lives? Share your stories with us!
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