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Homeschool Shopping in Target’s Dollar Spot

I’ve written before about how much I love shopping for school supplies at Target’s Dollar Spot during all the back to school sales. (Confession: I am a homeschooling parent but I love LOVE love back-to-school shopping season. School supplies are fun!) Here’s what I got from my local Target in fall 2014:

Target Dollar Spot: Foam Clock and Blocks

I buy foam clocks pretty regularly. They don’t survive more than 6-12 months. Still, for $1, I’ll buy them over and over. This one had a special feature: it’s double-sided with the numbers of minutes arranged next to the hour numbers. Useful! I also love the little foam blocks, great for counting, graphing, sorting, and categorizing. They will also make good math manipulatives as well as being useful for building.

Target Dollar Spot: $1 Classic Adaptations

Next up: books! My jaw dropped when I saw that these illustrated adaptations were only one dollar. As you can see…I went a little nuts. I regret nothing, though, except perhaps that I didn’t pick up the little dictionary, thesaurus, rhyme dictionary, and a few other books that were there. One dollar! Obviously these don’t replace the original texts, but for the two older boys who have really only started on chapter books seriously this year, they’re the perfect level and a great way to get them exposure to some classic literature.

Target Dollar Spot: Cheap Educational Reading

I’m fortunate in that I usually only have to provide educational material to the boys and they’ll just suck it right up. When I saw small $1 books about the 50 states, all US presidents, American historical figures as well as “cool” plants and insects, I didn’t even blink. Into the cart they went!

Wipe off Cards and Workbooks

Finally, I picked up these dry-erase workbooks and cards. They had a variety of regular workbooks there as well, but with four of the boys I’d have to buy four of each one I wanted to use! Dry erase works better for my budget, because each boy can do whichever ones they like (and more than once) with only one book.

There were also flash cards (alphabet, phonics, math facts), cardboard frame puzzles, small books for early readers (I believe I saw Disney princesses and Lightning McQueen), pens, markers, pencils, notebooks, square blank books (for kids to make their own stories in), dry erase boards with lines for writing, and more. If you’re looking for some fresh supplies and inspiration for your homeschooling, check out your local Dollar Spot.

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…No, I haven’t been paid or compensated in any way for this post. Too bad, too.

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…And the storm did cease.

Prayer can calm the storms in our lives. Click on the picture for a bigger version.

1 Nephi 18:21

Original photo credit: Stanley Zimny (Thank You for 9,000,000 views) / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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DIY I Spy Bottle

It’s easier than you may think to create your own I Spy bottle. They are excellent for quietly occupying children, and turning the bottle over and over to search for the small objects hidden inside can be very calming.

So, without further ado, here’s what you do!

DIY I Spy Bottle

You Will Need:

  • A small bottle of clear, sturdy plastic, with a lid
  • Rice
  • A collection of small, random items
  • Glue (I used a glue gun)
  • Rubber band or string (optional – to fasten tag)
  • Paper (optional – for tag)
  • Wide Clear Tape (optional – for tag)
  • Hole Punch (optional – for tag)

First, remove any labels from your bottle and remove the sticker goo; allow to dry completely.

Next, assemble the objects. At first I did not think that I’d be able to assemble enough items for an I Spy, but the more I poked around, the more I saw. Here are some of the things I used or thought about using for the I Spy bottle: a googly eye, a pompom, some buttons (plain and fancy shaped), glass stones, plastic gems, a small seashell, a jingle bell, beads, 3D stickers (I stuck them back to back to avoid having them stick to the rice), small shaped erasers, a stray puzzle piece, a rhinestone, an abandoned game piece, a penny. Look around! You’ll find something to put in.

If you want to make a picture tag, take a picture of your objects at this point. I lined them up on a piece of white paper and took a photo. If you just want to make a regular list, write down what objects you are putting in. If you’re not providing a list, skip this step.

Place objects in the bottle and cover with rice. Be sure to leave some space at the top of the bottle; the more empty space there is the easier it will be to uncover the objects. Close your bottle and test it out, adjusting rice levels until you are satisfied.

Glue the lid shut. Be thorough.

Prepare your list. This can be as simple as writing on a piece of paper, or typing the words next to the pictures. Cut your list to size and cover on both sides with tape to protect it. Put a hole in the top, string the rubber band or string through the hole, and fasten to the neck of the bottle. You’re done!

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