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I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my daily digest via email or RSS feed. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Top 5 Homeschool-Friendly Toys to Occupy Boys

Top 5 Homeschool-Friendly Toys to Occupy Boys-The Unlikely Homeschool

At the risk of sounding politically incorrect, boys are a completely different breed of folk than girls. I think that is no-more obvious to me than during the school day. Now, I'm not saying one gender is better or worse than another, they are just...different. And require different strategies to teach...to train...and even to occupy. 

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During a "down" moment of the school day, my Sweetie Pea is content to curl up on her bed with a good book. While I know many boys who would choose this past-time, as well, I know many more who would not. Boys are by design, more active and require a certain level of DOING in the day. Most of my boys lean towards large-motor skill activities that require expansive outdoor spaces. Unfortunately, the frigid temperatures we have been experiencing lately, do not permit DAILY outside play.

While I never mind indoor imaginative play with this or that toy, it is always nice to see CONSTRUCTIVE action vs...well, the opposite! Over the years, I've been fortunate to come across a handful of homeschool-friendly toys to occupy my boys during school day "down" time. Here's my current TOP 5 list...

Discovery Kid's Fort set

Discovery Kids Construction Fort

This 72 piece fort building set has been a lifesaver for my living room furniture. In the past, my boys have used couch cushions, old sheets, furniture, and even little brothers to Macgyver themselves sturdy forts. Now, with only the addition of a few bed sheets, my little guys can build any number of secret hideouts and my living room decor can stay intact.

building a fort

Snap Circuits

I'm not sure if I have a budding engineer in the family, or what, but my oldest boy has always loved to take things apart in order to see if he can put them back together again. Snap Circuits (or its junior version) and its handy building guide offers him a chance to "invent"...and I don't have to have the fire department on stand-by.


Snap Circut

Excavation Kits

A few weeks ago, we were snowed in at a hotel a few towns away. It just so happened that prior to the snowfall we had picked up a new Rock & Crystal Excavation Kit that we were hoping to save for a rainy day. Turns out, it was perfect for a SNOWY one. My two oldest boys camped out in the hotel bathroom for most of the day uncovering a handful of gems and rocks. (What they couldn't finish was packed up and brought back to be excavated on my kitchen floor...as you can see here.) What makes rock or dinosaur excavation kits so helpful is that unlike many science-themed kits, they don't require any parental set-up or involvement.


Rock excavation set

Magnetic Mosaics

Although we love the original sticky mosaics, the small pieces are not for EVERY boy. The magnetic versions, however, have larger tiles and have been easier for my boys to manipulate. These mosaic kits have helped to encourage longer periods of quiet, focused play.


Magnetic Mosaics

Building Sets

I think Legos are probably a no-brainer for most mothers of boys. But, in addition, its nice to have a few OTHER building essentials at the ready. Bristle blocks, Tinker Toys, K'nex and classic wooden blocksare just four of our favorites.

Are you a mother of boys?  What are your GO TO toys to occupy during those "down-time" moments of the day?

8 comments:

  1. Wooden train sets have occupied our little boys for surprising lengths of time. We have enough that they can make different layouts with bridges and a turntable.
    This last weekend, my little one was playing with a 40 year old set of meccano. It had large nuts and bolts and long struts and could be used in an open-ended way. Sadly, when I looked on the site, the newer meccano just seems to be kits which would be too difficult for him to manage. I would love to find a source of something like the older meccano.

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  2. The construction fort looks great! And I'll have to look into Snap Circuits. Seems like Jonny would really like that.
    My boys are really into games right now. Uno, Checkers, Chess. They're playing Chess right now. They just learned how to play from a friend of theirs (definitely not from me!) and they love it. I like when they play games because it's a very controlled mess. :)

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  3. That fort-building set looked like something my boys would LOVE and I jumped right over to Amazon to check it out. The majority of the reviews are not so great, though, I am wondering how you have found them, as far as user-friendliness, and stability.

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    1. I think it depends on what they are trying to build. My kids have never had trouble assembling a fort, but it occasionally will tip if there were a bit too ambitious with what they were attempting to build. It has definitely taught them the importance of building a strong foundation and the need for "sturdy" over "size". I would not recommend you buy this if you have only hard floors. But it works great on the traction of our carpet. It also works much better with lightweight sheets rather than heavy blankets...as is the case with ANY fort building effort. My boys love to build, so this makes for a perfect activity for them. But, I can see where it would be frustrating for kids who don't like to build.

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  4. I am a mom of an 8 year old boy and two younger girls. I actually blogged today about how much I love open-ended toys for my kids. Specifically how much they all love Magna Tiles - have you seen them? They are wonderful!!!

    http://livelaughbehappy.blogspot.com/2013/02/building-with-magna-tiles-george.html

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  5. It's my first time reading your blog, just stumbled upon it via pinterest and I will for sure be a frequent reader! I have 2 little boys and a little girl and one of my little boy love taking thing apart and putting them back together, he his 2 and a half years old and lately what has been keeping him busy is an ink pen which he takes apart all the little pieces and then puts them back together...it keeps him quiet for some surprising long period of time! So I think that definitly the snap circuit will be a winner for him eventually! The construction fort seems awesome too! :) Cheers for your blog! :))

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    1. I should try that pen trick with my oldest son. He would love that! Thanks for your kind words. Hope to "see you" around these parts again!

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  6. We love our Discovery Kids Construction Fort. Of course for my boys, anything messy and that allows them to build is their favorite! Thanks for sharing!

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