Whether you’re enjoying some time off or schooling year-round, summer is the perfect time to add learning elements that are often overlooked in the course of a typical homeschool day. The problem is that there’s not always room in the homeschool budget for these extra opportunities by the time summer rolls around.
At this point, most homeschool parents are in preparation mode for the upcoming year and aren’t planning for extra expenses associated with summer learning. No worries, summer learning doesn’t have to be costly. There are plenty of items for summer learning at your local dollar store! Here’s what I’ve found while strolling the aisles:
1. Puzzles – Every dollar store I’ve shopped has a great selection of puzzles. From ABCs and 123s to maps to famous paintings, puzzles are great for summer learning.
2. Glow sticks – If your kids are anything like mine, they’re obsessed with glow sticks. Summer is the perfect time to make the most of that obsession and use those glow sticks for delightful learning!
3. Marbles – Grab a bag of marbles from your dollar store and challenge your kids to create a marble run using items they find around the house. This STEM activity can involve LEGO bricks, toilet paper rolls, paper plates, or whatever you choose.
4. Pool Noodles – These foam noodles are plentiful all summer long and have a multitude of uses. For younger kids, they can be cut up and used for stamps, lacing activities, and motor skills. For older kids, they can be cut up and used with toothpicks to create structures, with marbles for marble runs, and to build robots.
5. Workbooks – Dollar store workbooks are good to have on hand for rainy days and reinforcing concepts learned earlier in the school year. They may not sound like summer fun, but these workbooks are usually colorful and engaging. In fact, my youngest kiddo has been begging me to do more in her cut and paste workbook!
6. Flashcards – It’s tempting to let the kids watch movie after movie and spend hours playing on mobile devices while traveling, but it doesn’t have to be that way! Stock up on flashcards from your dollar store and give the screens a break while you’re on the road this summer. Your kids can use these to quiz each other on a variety of topics: math facts, animal trivia, and geography, to name a few.
7. Bug catching supplies – My kids love watching the creepy crawlies they find outside in the summer. The bug kits we find at our dollar stores make it easy to capitalize on their interest and enhance learning. These kits often include observation cups and magnifying tools and they’re a perfect complement to summer nature studies.
8. Stationery – Stock up on dollar store stationery items to connect with family or a pen pal. Your kids will have fun writing letters and receiving mail, but they’ll also have a chance to practice language arts, penmanship, letter formatting, and addressing envelopes.
9. Drink koozies – These make perfect pool noodle connectors and can be used to turn noodles into a life-size STEM building challenge in your yard.
10. Puzzle Books – Don’t bypass this section of your dollar store! Word searches, Sudoku, and crossword puzzles have tons of educational value. They promote pattern recognition, deduction skills, spelling, vocabulary, and logic. Better yet, they don’t need batteries or electricity!
Your turn now! What summer learning items have you found at your dollar store?
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