Newest favorite: The Shifu Orboot Globe (https://www.amazon.com/Shifu-Orboot-Educational-Augmented-Reality/dp/B075WW3JKQ)- way cooler than described, it teaches about cultures, food, animals, monuments, etc all over the world and from every continent
Dollar Store- Alphabet and numbers workbooks, toys related to units (for the best chance at finding goods, go once a month and start looking for supplies for your units months in advance), books related to units (especially Bible and Christmas stories, as they have tons of these), coloring books
Michael’s- craft supplies, activity kits, Safari Toobs, books, etc (never pay full price here! Always look for coupons in advance or pull them up from their site while in the store. Also, keep an eye out for the big sales of the year and stock up). The Sarfari Toobs are generally expensive and never on sale, so Jessica and I would usually wait for a 40% off coupon and go once or twice a week to get a Toob.
Bags of animals, ocean creatures, dinosaurs- the brand isn’t important, but you can usually find bags/boxes/tubs of these at every toy store. Find a deal and load up because they can be put to so much use during the year
Tents/teepees- we have a tent for a camping unit and a space ship tent for the solar system unit. We also have a teepee for our Thanksgiving unit. Not that you need all of these items, but a tent of some sort is great to have because it can be used in different ways than expected. Think: you use a tent and pretend you are Dave in the Lion’s Den. Just great things to have for pretend play
Rice box/water beads- great sensory materials when creating sensory boxes for different units. Rice has been our go-to, but water beads have an interesting feel that my kids really enjoy. If your kids are really messy, be prepared to have to clean as soon as they are finished playing!
Organized drawers/boxes for each unit (see my “how I organize my house” blog)- what I love about this is that not only are my units organized for each year so that I know exactly what I have for each unit when lesson planning, but also that Aria knows what each drawer and box is for and can pull the materials out, play with them, and put them back where they go when she is done. In a small space like my house, it is absolutely necessary for my sanity to stay organized
Craft drawers (also, see my “how I organize my house” blog)- we have a craft table, and right next to the table is a bunch of drawers full of craft materials that Aria can pull out as the need strikes her. In our school and guest room, we have paint, glitter, stamps, etc that Aria can also play with and freely pull out, though we set strict rules on paint and glitter only being used outside unless mom otherwise allows.
abcmouse.com- this has been a great resource when I needed to get something done as something to help me feel like Aria is doing something educational even if I am unable to help her. As Skylar has gotten bigger, she has started to use this more while I help Aria with her workbook. It’s nice that you only have to pay one fee for your family
DK Geography workbooks- for some reason, Aria loves the way these are set up and finds them to be really fun workbooks. She’s already excited about doing the kindergarten workbook next year
Sibling shelf- Skylar has her own shelf on our school shelves in the living room where she can pull out “school stuff” to do while we work on school. Mostly, I picked age appropriate learning games and tactile items.
Insect Lore bugs- our whole family loves these kits. The praying mantis one wasn’t quite as fun, but the butterfly kit is amazing! Ants and Ladybugs are next on the list! (http://www.insectlore.com/)
Preschool Prep videos- I cant speak highly enough about these. My girls watch these in the car and both of them will copy the sounds out loud. It has really helped Aria with her pronunciation and sight word recognition (https://www.amazon.com/Preschool-Prep-Collection-Letters-Digraphs/dp/B005XO7524)
Leapfrog Tag Reader- these can get expensive unless you find one at the consignment stores (as I luckily did), but they have helped Aria a lot with reading and she loves using her Tag Reader (https://www.walmart.com/ip/LeapFrog-LeapReader-Reading-and-Writing-System-Green/23662229?athcpid=23662229&athpgid=athenaItemPage&athcgid=null&athznid=PWVAV&athieid=v0&athstid=CS002&athguid=466001f5-c846a645-bfa64d2c82f6e870&athena=true)
Magic School Bus Science Kits- Human Body and Rainbow are the two we have and they are great because we can keep using the materials each year (https://www.amazon.com/Young-Scientists-Club-Magic-School/dp/B000MAD7FS/ref=sr_1_1?s=toys-and-games&ie=UTF8&qid=1528743817&sr=1-1&keywords=magic+school+bus+human+body)
Raddish Kids Cooking Club- I found a deal on this cooking club and it has been a fun way to get Aria more interested in cooking in the kitchen. Plus, I’m a foodie and the food is actually good! (https://www.raddishkids.com/)
Please keep comments contructive
Jessica and Ana
Our Homeschooling Mission Statement: We will strive to be patient, godly examples to our children, integrating biblical principles and morality into every subject. Learning should be fun. We will foster an attitude of lifelong curiosity and play while providing the best possible education we can through books, art, technology, food, tactile activities, and cultural experiences. Learning will not be dictated by hours on a clock but will be a way of life for our families.