Kay is a bit late with some things. She's more of an active girl, so the fact that she's on the later end of average in writing her name or drawing recognizable pictures may not be a surprise. She's just started drawing people (faces with stick legs - no head, the body parts sort of just float there, but I love it!).
On morning we took out the easel (she was still calling it her weasel, as in "I want to paint on my weasel.") because our friends at CraftProjectIdeas.com had sent us an artist smock and she wanted to try it out. The apron was a cloth one, with 8 pockets, each holding a paint brush of a different size.
Kay got started and immediately said, "I want to draw a tree but I don't know how." As usual, I encouraged her to try and see what happened. Well, sure enough, she drew a tree (-ish).
"I did it!" she proudly exclaimed.
"Maybe that's a magic apron!" I said half-jokingly. She didn't take it as a joke.
The rest of the painting session, she continued to try painting objects she never would have even attempted before - cars, flowers, more trees. Each time she would beam, "I made a flower. This apron really is magic!" and then she'd whip out another paint brush from the pocket to start again.
Now I could have gone into a "the magic isn't in the apron, it's inside you," kind of thing, but she may be too young for that kind of thinking. In any case, I looked on with pride as she painted with more confidence than she ever had, asking for more paper eagerly as she finished each work of art.
The difference wasn't in the apron. (Disclosure: It's not really magical!) But the confidence-boost it gave her was very real. When I was in first grade I used to worry about spelling tests enough to get migraines over. My grandmother gave me a special heart-shaped necklace that I only wore on test days. It was "magic" - I always got through the tests just fine when I was wearing it. My grandmother was one smart woman.
When Kay was finished, I did tell her that "Now you know you can do it!" But she may not have found out on this day without that apron. Maybe it is magic after all.
(Kay was 5 1/2 at this time.)