As a teacher who is also a mom of small kids (aged 7, 4, and 10 months), I have a bad habit of “borrowing” toys from my personal children and bringing them into my classroom. I play a game with my kids, or I watch them play with a toy, and I think, hey that would help little Johnny with …. Unfortunately, a lot of these toys end up staying in my classroom, and then I have to buy my person kids a replacement! If you are a fan of my Facebook Page, you have seen my posts about certain toys that I borrow/steal from my personal children. I realized 2 things by posting this – #1 – I do this more than I realize! #2 – Not everyone has small children at home to steal from, and might appreciate a list of toys to invest in (or to ask parents to buy you next Christmas instead of coffee mugs and teddy bears! ). So this week’s Top 10 list is the Top 10 toys I steal from my own kids.
10. Movies – Okay, maybe movies aren’t toys. But, last week, as I was writing the Top 10 Educational Movies post, I realized that the majority of my suggestions were first used with my personal children and then taken into my classroom – so it definitely counts! I have brought Magic School Bus, Leapfrog Videos, Little Einsteins and Sid the Science Kid from my kids’ personal collections to use in my classroom!
9. Children’s Encyclopedias – My oldest son is a science nut! So in my house we have: a children’s science encyclopedia, a children’s dinosaur encyclopedia, a children’s space encyclopedia and a children’s animal encyclopedia. I think I have borrowed each one at least once!
8. Map Puzzle – One of my favorite way to teach geography is for kids to put together puzzles of a map. There’s no better way for kids to understand that Texas and Alaska are close to the same size, or that California and Maine are very far from each other. Lucky for me, my kids have multiple map puzzles, including this great one that gives you the capitols of each state!
7. Board Games – I think I have borrowed every one of my kids’ board games at least once – and that’s saying a lot, because they have a lot of board games! The board games that I borrowed so often I felt the need to buy one for my classroom are: Very Silly Sentences, Monopoly Junior, Scrabble Junior, Taboo Junior and Chutes and Ladders.
6. Sleeping bag Chair – I’ve actually borrowed numerous chairs and rugs from my kids, as they have outgrown, stopped using, or changed preference on various comfy items. However, borrowing this sleeping bag chair from my kids made my middle son so upset, that I ended up bringing it home and buying another for my classroom (even though he didn’t sit in the chair before, and he doesn’t sit in the chair now!)
5. Kids’ Picture Dictionary – One of my students’ literacy centers each week is to create a picture dictionary. Each week we add pictures coinciding with one or two of the letters. When I began this project with my kids, I brought in my personal children’s Picture Dictionary. The kids loved it so much, I kept it at school. My sons haven’t noticed it’s missing….yet. I hope to get a little bit longer with it, since we will be working on alphabetical order soon!
4. Reading Puzzles – My kids got this cool making words puzzle awhile back, but they weren’t using it much, so I took it to my classroom, and man does it get used. The only problem is, my sons have noticed it’s missing, so I think I’m going to have to bring it home soon!
3. Math Flashcards – I bought these addition flash cards last year for my oldest son, and he actually handed them to me and told me I could take them to my class! He really doesn’t need them anymore, but my students do!
2. Magic Tree House Books – I borrow lots of books from my kids, but since we own almost every Magic Tree House book, and there are so many that connect science and social studies topics, these seem to be the books I borrow the most. I will be borrowing #3 – Mummies in the Morning soon when my class studies Ancient Egypt.
1. Leap Frog Letters – My absolute FAVORITE item that I have borrowed from my kids is the Leap Frog Talking Letters. In the beginning of this year, I had 9 students who didn’t know all of their letters (walking into 1st grade). We worked with this product and the Leap Frog Movies every day for the first 5 weeks, and now all but 2 of those students are reading!