Monday, August 30, 2010


This isn't going to be a philosophical post, and I'm not saying that these things are either excess, required, or sparse.... it simply just Is.  For us.
Maybe someone wants to know what or how we do it if we don't do curriculum or lesson plans.  (Though lots of folks around here do things the same way we do, certainly!)

We just play!  So here are some of the things we play with.

I'd love a hundred maps up... but I simply am out of wall space. We do, however, have a few displayed.

These are two art shelves - they're in the den.  One shelf holds oil and chalk pastels, a box full of watercolors, Mama's magic pencils -as Maddie calls them- my markers (I need reliable, not-dried-up markers, thankyouverymuch, and  the books are coloring books and art books.

First case (Reading, Peoples)
  •  On the top: light bright, number and letter cards, and scrabble pieces with tile stands for Maddie.and a wooden set of alphabet letters.
  • Second shelf: a set of books containing stories of peoples around the world.  And our holiday books - there simply because I have no where else to store them!
  • Third shelf: bios, places, and culture books
  • Bottom shelf: reading stuff - workbooks for pre-k thru 2nd grade, and some classics.

Next case (Art):
  • At the tippy-top is chalk, wax for art projects, a box of clays - modeling, heavy, and air dry, a box of odds and ends for sculpting and making collaged art, and a box foam letters, foam shapes, beans, tiny wooden tiles, sparklies, paper mosaic pieoces, those bendy wax-stick thingies, and pixos.
  • Shelf #2 holds two weaving looms, a large tray of beads with many different kinds (including different kinds of letters and seed beads), things for sewing, fabric pieces for looms, and wool that we've dyed - some of it spun.
  • Shelf #3 : a box with pull-out trays (this one belongs to Mama) - it holds scissors, a compass, glue sticks, glitters, pens and pencils, tapes, tacks, brads, etc.... mod podge and tacky glues also live on this shelf... as well as all of our washable paints and biocolors.  (The watercolors live upstairs, but these down here are used mostly for refilling the smaller bottles and pots, which reside upstairs on the "used every day" shelves.
  • Next shelf: paper!  all different kinds and colors of paper.  There are also four containers of craftiness - popsicle sticks, pompoms, assorted stiff paper pieces and shapes, and buttons. The white and clear boxes are also sort of mine - they contain feathers, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, wooden shapes, plastic laces, and pinwheel supplies.
  • The bottom two shelves on this case are for Science: 
  •  First up is books ... all sorts of books... but certainly not all of our science books - we have several in every room of the house.  On the bottom shelf are our science kits:  

Third case (Science):
  • On the top is our microscope, a lovely Elements chart, and our human torso (it comes apart).
  • Next shelf is a glass milk bottle, a box full of crystal-making kits and supplies, and a box of miscellaneous - eyeclops, solar beads, netting for water/tension experiments, prisms, alligator clips and battery holder, prism glasses, etc

  • Next shelf: Four boxes - one has magic sands, instant snow powder, and super snow,one has beakers, ph paper, goggles and chemistry stuff, the third has things that need to be sorted :) (evidently I was in a hurry when I brought them down from upstairs)and the fourth overly-full one on the right is our biology stuff - casts for bones, owl pellets, microscope slides (prepared and empty), petrie dishes, forceps, dna tubes, Eosin Y, and Methelyne Blue.  There is also a stack of goldenrod paper here, for acid and base testing.
  • On the bottom shelf are the WildLife Fact FIles - hundreds and hundres of cards on species and ecology.  To the right of that are a few sets of animal cards, and a plant press.

Next case is Math!
  •  On the top lives a little box full of weights and dice and jacks... different things to play with on the balance scale. There are a couple of rulers, a timer, our catapult, an abacus, and a box full of various things... rubix cube, rubber bands for the geoboard, the gyroscope, and stuff for math bingo.
  • Second shelf is a box full of all different kids of magnets - including a neodymium and iron filings.  There are also two other boxes that have different magnet things in them - shapes and numbers, mostly. The balance scale is on this shelf, as well as two sets of dominoes.
  • Fourth row is our box of stuff from the Build and Learn Geometry kit, a box of one inch wooden cubes (for play and measuring), and some of the Physics kit tools.
  • On the bottom live the puzzles and the tangrams set - ours is Parquetry Pals.  The wooden puzzle games also live here with the puzzles.

On the next case
are Zoobs, many collections of ZooMorphs, and lacing cards and extra large beads.
We also have MoonSand, Kid Knex, Gears, and cobbler benches here.

Next is music!
a keyboard, cowbells, tambourines, a spirit flute, a recorder, bongo drums, xylophone, triangles, shakers, whistles, maracas, an organ... lots of different things.

Over here
is a big box of playdoughs and tools, a large collection of storyboard felt things as well as shapes and letters and numbers, a "dig" fossil kit in progress, and these build thingies that are foamy and loopy for making crazy things (Zoobs and Toobs?  Something like that).


Next we have the building section...
 a marble run (a large set), small legos, lincoln logs, large legos, and a big box of wooden blocks - all shapes and sizes.

 Oh dear.
These are not all of our games, these are just the kid ones, that our babes are loving right now.
  • On the top is a stone and stick game that we made a little while back, a box full of card, matching, and number games, Qwirkle, and another box of bingo, cards, and checker pieces.
  • On the bottom we have Cadoo, Duck, Duck Goose, Diego 123, and Cootie.

An' there's dress up stuff (and stuff in a couple of drawers)

and Thomas stuff.

Oh - and a sixty foot time line.  Can't forget that.

Oh, dear Heavens, I forgot about the software.
Good grief...
we have at least six dozen computer games.
I just don't know if I can link all those!!!

And the Magic School Bus videos.  Can't forget those.  LOVE magicschoolbus- you know that, right??

We have two book cases that sit just off the kitchen -
there are a few things that live here permantly - a box of scrap paper for Madd, a library shelf, a shelf with a box of colored pencils, a box of crayons, a tub of markers, the water colors.... there is a shelf for books that we're liking at the moment that usually live upon other shelves, a large box of stamps, a box of paint tools, a box of paints... and a couple of shelves for whatever projects we're working on or loving right-this-minute.

Other than the usual stuff - library cards, small gardens, netflix, memberships to local Cool Places, bikes, barbies, kitchen stuff, rockets, skates, swings, dirt, hands, noses, and eyes,

we have a Mama and a Daddy who like to check stuff out, too.

It works.

Guess I'll add this one to the "Things To Do" list.
Add the things you love, too!


  1. We have shelves and stuff similar to yours- just not all in one place(and not always within easy reach, although I am working on that part). Playing and living is good. I just would love to know how you get all your energy to constantly be changing from one thing to the next.
    I kinda need a plan in my head before the day starts so I know what I will need to do, but am trying to be more free flowing.

  2. I miss organized shelves of fun stuff. Mine are all boring shelves at this point. Thanks for sharing all of your fun stuff!

  3. Wow. Just ... wow.


  4. Fantastic shelfy goodness! I love seeing other people's little nooks filled to brim with fun stuff.

    I've posted photos of our "schoolroom" shelves before and few/no one ever commented...sometimes I fear people don't like the idea of having a "schoolroom;" I think they assume it means I only allow "learning" to happen in THAT room. LOL--no, not the case. It's just when ya have one kid and a three-bedroom house and you're too anti-social to require a "guest bedroom," ya make it into a schoolroom & your shelves are all in there! Simple!

  5. Rosemarie - most of the things are down in the rumpus room.
    It's like a big, colorful storage room!! :)
    But we do have stuff in every room, of course. There are a couple of shelves in the livingroom, too, for "right now" stuff.
    I like to get things straight in my head, too-- but somehow, I also am willing to give it up when I need to.
    Actually, I really enjoy lots of interesting projects and games throughout the day! :) (Maddie does, too.)

    Sarah - you've seen all this stuff before!! Well, most of it. (Same shelves.)

    Melody - put a jar of flowers on it! :)

  6. Finding lots of inspiration here, a little of the dangerous sort. We just put up two new shelves for A's learning stuff, it's a start.

  7. Oh brillliant - I love posts about school stuff!!!

  8. Looks like you have a lot of happiness planned :)

    Your timeline is very cool. Not in a schooly way, but in a "what a great way to keep things in perspective way".

    I think we're moving in the next year or two, or I would do that. I need to figure out a way to make one that I can move with us. Perhaps butcher paper than can be rolled? How funny it will be to roll up a billion years and take it with us!

    And yes, dangerous inspiration lol - of the best sort!

    What kind of markers are your favorites? I can't find any that I really like that don't dry up after the first blue sky, that's no good!

  9. I want to come and live with you.

    Your shelves = awesomeness.

    I love the way you group your books - makes so much sense. I just don't know if I have the nerve and willpower to rearrange ours...

  10. I need more bookshelves and more wall space. Sigh. :)

    Love your inventory. :)

  11. I read this and then went to look around our house. We live in a 900 square foot, 3 bedroom - 114 year old cottage. It's tiny (which I love) but I'm looking for where we can store all our stuff. Right now we have a 5-shelf book shelf and a big toy bin that homes all the blocks and games and puzzles and trains and musical intruments, dinosaurs, etc. And a corner full of art stuff - paper and paints, crayons and markers and coloured pencils, clay and popsicle sticks and play dough. Baskets of stuffies (which are a HUGE part of Isaac's imaginary play.) And more...but this is what I can remember.

    Loving the time line - might do something similar in his room. (No where else to do it, really.)

    Thanks for putting all this out there - I love how you have organized it all and while Isaac is only four, it inspires me greatly. Oh the things I want to do with my boy. -Debbie

  12. Just found your blog and loving your posts, i had always planned to homeschool my little boy but decided recently that we will be unschooling :-) he loves the magic school bus too, never knew they did books etc until i saw this think i will be adding these to our collection of things. Also love the timeline, i wouldnt even know where to start with planning and doing one.


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!