Five Free and Frugal Ideas for Your Classroom

Here’s five free and frugal ideas you can use for educational pursuits today!

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1. REPURPOSE plastic pieces leftover from broken or partially misplaced games.

Use them for new game markers for:

  • homemade or TpT games (like the ones in my store)
  • sorting
  • matching
  • counting
  • one-to-one correspondence

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2. ACCESS tumblebooks.com to read and/or listen to thousands of FREE books with audio and highlighted text.

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  • You can sort by type of book, age, reading level, etc.
  • If you have an account with your local library, be sure to ask if they have a tumblebooks account. We are able to access it completely FREE with our library’s code!
  • This site is formatted to work on tablet devices as well as your laptop!

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3. TRY simple scientific experiments with your students!

They can be done with items you DEFINITELY have on hand and will DEFINITELY inspire your students to seek out even more LEARNING opportunities!

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  • A review of the Commutative Property with four glasses of water, two with a smaller but equal amount and two with a larger but equal amount.
  • Does it matter if you add the glass with the lesser amount of water to the glass with the larger amount OR if you add the glass with the larger amount to the glass with the lesser amount?
  • No it doesn’t! Whether you add 4 + 6 for instance or 6 + 4, you still get 10!
  • Try it especially if your students are struggling to understand why the two amounts are in fact equal no matter which way you add them up!

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  • All you need for this experiment is MAGNETS of various sizes and objects to test whether they are magnetic or not!
  • If you have them, brass brads are the MOST FUN, especially with a large and very attractive magnet!
  • Challenge your students to see how many they can pick up with just one magnet!

4. GO OUTSIDE and explore in nature.

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Whether you can find a nearby creek or just a nearby tree or field to explore, get outside and see what you can discover with your students! The world is our classroom!

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5. SAVE PAPER and packaging you find in products you buy.

It has so many uses, not to mention it doesn’t end up in the trash or recycling bin quite yet!

  • Paper piecing: you might notice the chicken pictures in the picture below. They were created with scrap papers including another piece of brown paper that was salvaged from packaging!
  • The history projects on the top of the shelves in the picture below were also saved from the round file! They were intended to be the back of some cubeical shelves, but my Dad made me real wood back instead. These very sturdy (but still paper) boards were the perfect size for 2nd grade history projects!

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Here is a close-up shot of one of the projects in progress!

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  • Instant mural! (this paper below that our children turned into a mural of space “and other things” was wadded up as padding in a package of books I ordered.

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These ideas are free and frugal, yet they are sure to enrich the education of those you teach! If you have some more ideas, PLEASE do SHARE in the comments!

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Skeet and Squirrel, Critters and Chicks?

We do live in the country and technically on a farm since we do have our free-range chickens and one really cantankerous rooster plus two cats and a dog … and maybe some baby chicks very soon. In the meantime, aren’t these eggs just beautiful?

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People ask me all the time if we really eat the eggs and do we like them. They also ask how many we use a week. Let’s see: Yes, we really eat them and yes, most of us like them. We have one child who is really turned off from eggs of any kind, not just “our” eggs. He is fine to eat them cooked in something, just not scrambled or fried.

We typically will use about 4 dozen a week. Yes, 4 dozen. If we scramble them or make omelets or cook them with spinach, we use at least 12 so it doesn’t take long to use 4 dozen. We also sell on average 4-6 dozen a week in addition to the ones we eat. Our ladies are quite the layers!

I *might* have suggested to the Prez that one valid reason for him bringing home the baby chicks would be for blog-worthy material as we observe nature. The Prez was the one who came home yesterday telling me about how the local Tractor*Supply has the chicks.

Seriously, aren’t they so cute? Don’t remind me of the incubators and keeping them warm … and the freezing temps outside currently.

I thought while on the subject of the possibility of baby chicks coming home to our little farm soon, I would take a moment to post some photos that I never got around to posting in the last few months. The theme will be of an animal nature, and I will warn you now that some of the photos will show deceased animals and/or animals that we have hunted and used to fill our table … and our bellies. Continue reading

Looking Back: Disney Trip 2011 {The Studios}

I thought while planning for our DW 2014 trip, I would take a stroll down memory lane. I cannot believe how little all of our children are!!!

Here is a repost from September 2011 from my old blog:

**Editor’s Note: I am going back to document our Fall 2011 Trip to Disney World. I also posted an Intro, Day 1, and Day 2.**

On Monday, September 19, we visited the Hollywood Studios.

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Looking Back: Disney Trip 2011 {EPCOT}

I thought while planning for our DW 2014 trip, I would take a stroll down memory lane. I cannot believe how little all of our children are!!!

Here is a repost from September 2011 from my old blog:

**Editor’s Note: I am going back to document our Fall 2011 Trip to Disney World. I also posted Day 1 at the MK.**

On Sunday, September 18, we visited EPCOT.
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We had another very important reservation, and we planned it for a late breakfast on this day as well. For our family, this worked out well because we had time to ride a few rides before the crowds were heavier (though we didn’t encounter too much in that regard in mid-September) and we were inside during a part of the day that was hotter than earlier morning.

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EPCOT has always been our favorite. I don’t know if we love the larger size (thus it rarely feels crowded) or if we like the learning part of it (though our children don’t seem to mind this part) or just the nostalgia of it (I think this is it for me). They still have it set up like the future will really be this way, and many of the narrations refer to a time that used to be in the future but is here and now (and we’re riding around like George Jetson LOL!). We headed for fast passes at Soarin’ (well the Prez did) and then we headed over to Test Track.

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Looking Back: Disney Trip 2011 {Magic Kingdom}

I thought while planning for our DW 2014 trip, I would take a stroll down memory lane. I cannot believe how little all of our children are!!!

Here is a repost from September 2011 from my old blog:

**Editor’s Note: I am going back and documenting our Fall 2011 Trip to Walt Disney World. On Saturday, September 17, we visited the Magic Kingdom.

After the Prez and Mo left for the Swamp, I was alone in the Magic Kingdom with four children ranging in age from just turned 13 down to 5. 🙂 They did great though and it really wasn’t hard. Still, I survived the MK ALONE with four children. I wish I had more photos later in the day, but I was more worried about returning to the camper with four children in tow! 🙂

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Easy Ways to Share the Love on Valentine’s Day

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, I thought it would be fun to share a post about ways to share the love with others around you on Valentine’s Day.

One thing I’ll promise is that these are EASY things to do! With six children in the mix and mayhem and memories that are made here, I am usually not able to put together anything that requires more than three ingredients … whether it be food or art … or both!

Valentine’s Family Dinner

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These first few photos are from our Valentine Dinner last year. For several years now, Valentine’s Day has been a celebration of our family rather than for just the Prez and me to celebrate LOVE. I will admit that sometimes it would be nice to go out on a date, but our reality is that this is just not a reality right now.

So, I decided several years ago we would start a new Valentine’s Day tradition of having a meal complete with foods I know our kids LOVE, and that have a color theme of red and pink!

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What Is Homeschooling … With a Three-Year-Old in the Mix!

I had such a great response to my What Is Homeschooling? post the other day, I decided to write another installment!

I do get asked frequently what our three-year-old does “all day” while we do school. Let’s see …

  • She changes her outfit 50 times. (Well, not quite, but maybe 10. And not because of a need to do that. She just wants to.)
  • She finds her scissors and cuts her hair. (Well that was a long time ago. I don’t think she has done this in at least six weeks.)
  • She tries to get herself a snack … and maybe makes a little mess in the process.
  • She whines and cries.
  • She colors on the table … instead of her paper.

OK, seriously, this has all happened, BUT she also does a whole lot more! She learns right alongside all of us, and she also keeps us all laughing along the way. She is three years old after all. Continue reading