Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Amazing (& Sometimes Hidden) Resources for Parents and Kids

Games, toys, books, and more!

Looking for fun, educational, engaging toys, books, and movies for your kids? The more I speak with parents (especially those who don’t homeschool), the more I am convinced that homeschool parents have found accesses to resources that offer great products for kids and families, no matter where your kids spend their days. So many times people will ask: Where did you get that toy? or Where did you find that? Parents who don’t homeschool are often amazed at the resources available – and in true homeschool fashion – are available at low prices.

Kids are kids, and if you are searching for some wonderful opportunities, toys, and activities for your children, listen to what homeschool parents around the world have already learned. Beyond the shelves of Target and WalMart or within the isles of your local bookstore lies a magical forest of parenting tools just ready for you – and the best part is – you don’t have to homeschool in order to bring these things into your children’s lives.

I shop these places for birthday and Christmas gifts for nieces and nephews, find super ideas for engaging activities with my own kids (and their friends), and keep going back to the enriching options available at various vendors and suppliers. Below are just a few of my favorites I would recommend to any parents looking to add a little something more to the toy box, bookshelf, or conversations in their homes.

Rainbow Resource Center

While this is touted as one of the mainstays of diverse homeschool curriculum, it is far too overlooked by non-homeschooling families. Order the free catalogue to be delivered to your door and you will most likely never have another print item like it, complete with product descriptions as well as user reviews on every product under the sun. The catalogue is absolutely huge – thicker than my phonebook – and filled with great products. More best things about Rainbow Resource – the prices – which are almost unbeatable, and the items are delivered quickly with reasonable shipping fees. Here are just a few of the things you can find (not including the thousands of books).

  • Everything for your toddlers’ dining needs, from kids’ dinnerware to insulated food jars
  • Jump ropes, airplane kits, and walking sticks – everything for outdoor fun
  • Wild Goose 3-in-1 Science kits –kid friendly ways to learn about the world (our favorite was using a magnet to literally pull the iron out of fortified cereal)
  • Baby and toddler toys designed to stimulate and promote good old fashioned play

Khan Academy

Despite the formal sounding name, this innovative online education opportunity is a free extension for your child’s academics and interests. Short video instructions on things like biology, chemistry, history, mathematics, and finance provide lessons and practical applications. Use it for homework help, advanced studying, or just for the simple joy of learning something new.

Brain POP

A worthwhile collection of videos, lessons, and games that help expand on basic subjects, BrainPOP.com is available for older elementary kids, as well as a junio division. You can use the free trial version for a week or pay a marginal fee for membership and extended access. It appeals to kids who learn well through video instruction and online interaction.

Starfall.com

This site is a fun and easy reading encouragement and opportunities for emerging readers. It also offers curriculum for schools and homeschools, but your kids can enjoy the virtual stories as extra reading activities without purchasing the curriculum.

ChristianBook.com

Like Rainbow Resource Center, ChristianBook.com offers loads of products for families (not just those who homeschool). The online store offers a wide selection of products (most with a Christian theme), and I love to shop here for DVDs and holiday games and toys for the kids. Check out their clearance sections and even stock up on school supplies here, especially in the spring when they are clearing their shelves.

Vegsource.com

This is an eclectic (and sometimes confusing to navigate) site that is mainly focused on vegan and vegetarian lifestyles, but it is also where people offer gently used items for sale or trade on the swap boards. The items are offered in order by date listed, but you can search through the list more easily by pressing the “Control and F” keys at the same time to “Find” something. The downside is that the sellers and buyers don’t have ordering controls like on larger scale swap sites, but if you are discerning with your money and ask questions of the seller, you can find great, honest deals.

Online Educator Pages

Go online to some of your (or your children’s) favorite sites and chances are there will be a page or two devoted to educator resources. Even if you don’t homeschool you are still educating your child bit by bit every day. Check out the pages offered – they don’t require a teacher ID for entry – and take advantage of the opportunities to expand your child’s favorite toys, games, and interests. Some of the favorites in our home include:

  • LEGO – the educator website is awesome for ideas for my building boys.
  • National Geographic for Kids – great extras to help extend the ideas the kids find in the magazine or in daily life.
  • Discovery Channel – more great teacher references that are perfect for parents

Homeschool moms are frugal and in constant pursuits of inexpensive, effective, and worthwhile activities for their kids. Whether you homeschool or send your kids to public or private schools, there are great resources that can help you enhance your children’s daily lives. Besides, thing like Wild Goose experiments are just fun to do, even for moms and dads!

Related posts:

  1. 5 Great Resources for Work-at-Home Moms
  2. 10 Amazing Transformations of The Natural World
  3. Good Parents Know How to Criticize Well

View full post on Parenting Tips For Raising Successful Kids | BetterParenting.com

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