Saturday, June 11, 2011

Finding treasures with found treasure

Big bummer! If it keeps on raining all morning I won't be heading out to shop the Mendon townwide yardsale event as planned.  This is an annual fundraiser event for the Mendon Senior Center and they organize it very well. I've been able to go a few years but weddings, work events and rain dates have prevented me from going too many times.

Last Saturday I took off of yard sale-ing so I could enjoy the beautiful weather and go for a nice walk in the woods with the family.

Approaching the historic bridge at Parklands in Hopedale.
 Darren and I love to walk and hike and anytime we go away by ourselves that's usually what we do (what we wouldn't give to go back to Glacier National Park!). Now that both the kids are old enough to walk a decent ways themselves, we want to do more nature exploring with them. And since our plan is for me to try homeschooling Kindergarten next year, I've been extra focused on raising kids who love to learn, finding ways I can make learning fun, and taking advantage of every-day "teachable moments."

Two week ago I scored some great treasures that will help my kids discover treasures for themselves. I hit the jackpot for educational toys when a woman that used to be a rep for some company (she didn't say what company and its not obvious on any of the packaging) was selling all her samples. I scooped up quite a few things for the kids (as well as some stationary for myself). I can't wait for us to use these books and toys to investigate the world around us over the summer and the coming school year.

This $2 Nature Watching Fact Pack comes with a nature watching book, binoculars, insect observatory, inspection jar with magnifying lid, tweezers and 2 informative animal charts. We'll definitely have to take this on nature walks and see what we can find.

This $2 Stargazer Fact Pack comes with a 32 pg guide, activity book, hand telescope, flashlight, stick-on glow stars (so we can put the constellations on the girls' ceiling), a planesphere and a moon map.

This $5 V-Tech globe is pretty cool. On one setting you can use the joystick to move the magnifying glass around the globe and stop it where you want. Then press buttons to hear about the music, people or culture of the continent, country or important landmark where you stopped. Another setting quizzes you to see if you can find certain countries or points of interest.  After fiddling with this by herself for a couple days my 5 year old has learned a bunch about geography and international culture.
 Both of these $2 books will be great for my kids to learn fractions and play math games and they come with flash cards to boot. Hey, anything that makes learning math fun...

 Next there is a $2 kit includes a Tree & Leaf Guide and a Leaf Collecting Album. This will be great to take along on our nature walks. I still remember doing my own leaf collection project in 6th grade I think. Below that is a $2 book is called Squashing Flowers & Squeezing Leaves - a nature press and book. My 5 year old loves to pick wild growing things (just like I do) so this will give us something fun and educational to do with what we collect.

 On top of these educational items, my kids also came home with Hungry Hungry Hippo - a childhood classic. I have to admit I actually found myself laughing and having fun playing it. My 5 year old also continues to add to her Toy Story characters collection. This same week she came home with a reproduction of the old Fisher Price rotary phone character and an electronic Buzz Lightyear.

Oh yeah, and here are the Papyrus stationary sets I got for myself for $1 each:

Papyrus price tag on back - $12.95 for 20 blank cards and envelopes in a lidded box

Papyrus price tag on back - $11.95 for 12 blank note cards and envelopes

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