Thrift Store Finds

I haven’t done much thrift shopping since moving back to Ohio. This week I decided to remedy that. I hit the local store with a friend looking for new tea cups for our Tuesday Tea Times and whatever else might be there. It was fun and I got good stuff!

2 new cups

2 puzzles, one of which we put together right away.

It was missing 3 pieces. The other puzzle was still shrink wrapped, so I assume they will all be there.

Fun fact- it never occurred to me to check how many pieces were in a “1,000 piece puzzle”. Apparently, not necessarily a thousand! This one would have had 1,008.

I also picked up a set of double nines dominoes, which I thought was missing a piece (due to the empty space in the case). Some checking at home revealed it was indeed a full set.

My daughter and I played to a hundred. She shredded me with a score of 220 to 29. The last round was a doozy. The pips going up to nine makes for potentially large scores and difficult point counting.

Number Jugglers

I have had this book since the kids were small. Today, I pulled it out and played a few of the games with my son.

The first game has a simple goal. Deal out cards and then try to make each of the numbers from 1-9 by using your cards. You can add, subtract, multiply, or divide in any order. You can use each card 1 time maximum in each equation. We started off with 10 cards. Too easy. 6 cards. Still too easy. Then 4 cards. Really easy except for making 1 of the numbers. I was about to give up when my son figured out the answer! See if you can get them all.

Then we played an even/ odd number game that we renamed unicorn or balls. Not quite as interesting.

I really like this book and plan on continuing with more of the games. As you progress through the book, there are lots of pre-algebra type skills…keeping equations balanced by doing the same thing (or an equivalent) to each side, dividing numbers by themselves to get a number 1 to work with, maintaining what you have by multiplying by 1. Good stuff.

There is also a book/card set called “Fraction Jugglers” that I plan on getting in the future.

K’Nex Cars

I found some great free resources for K’Nex online and printed off a bunch of neat ideas and reference materials.
I grabbed a variety of challenge cards to try out with the kids and perhaps some of the other homeschoolers we know.

I got out our box of parts and began to tinker. Both kids joined in and my son began building a motorized car while my daughter worked on finding all the body parts for the people. There was a bit of trial and error involved, but my son taught me a few things about how the wheels worked with the other parts. He made a working car and it was fast! My daughter decided to make one too and see which could go faster. Hers included a seat for mini figures. Much trial and error and a bit of frustration came with her effort as well, but in the end she persevered and had a great working car! My son’s was faster. The kids are trying to figure out if it is because of the difference in tire size or weight or drag from the seat contraption. After they raced them successfully, they moved on to building ramps and obstacles.

Some of the worksheets are math related.

Some of the printouts were challenges with multiple levels.

I am looking forward to trying more things out.


Both kids have been using “Life of Fred” for math this year. We like reading the stories together. I like that the kids write a bit of stuff on paper, but not too much. It is generally very smooth for us. Or was, until my son hit a wall in the “I” book. He was working through lots of multi- digit multiplication and division problems. He understood the process and had no trouble with the calculations when the numbers were easy multiples (1,2,5). When they were other values, the problems turned into an aggravating mess for him. We decided together to back off of Fred and do a bit of work on memorizing the multiplication tables so that all the problems would seem easy. Frustration was not working for us.

We tried flash cards as put forth in “Fred”, but the 4,6,7, and 8 multiples were just not staying in his head. I have always known he is a very visual learner, so I decided to try out a book called “Times Tables The Fun Way”. It uses pictures and word associations to help solidify the memory of the multiplication facts.
It worked like a charm! We did 1 or 2 pictures a day and now he’s got them all down 🙂

My daughter has been learning all of them with us so it shouldn’t be much trouble when she gets there. She started from the beginning with the “A” book, and is now on “E”. Here is a page of hers.

Two New Card Games

We have recently tried out 2 new math card games that the kids enjoy.
Each one plays similar to “Blink”, where the deck is split evenly among players and you race to get rid of all of your cards onto a “play” pile.

“Speed” was created by a homeschooling family and lets you choose what number you want to use to practice the multiples. There are decks for the numbers 2-9. Within each deck are 40 cards, 5 of each multiple. You must play 1 card higher or lower than the ones in the “play” piles. There is an extra rule with this game as there are 2 “play” piles and whenever the cards in them are equal, you can shout out “Speed”. The other player picks up the piles and adds them to the bottom of his/her stack. The kids love to do this to me!

“7 Ate 9” is a game for practicing adding and subtracting. Each card has a large yellow center number and a smaller number in the corners that you add or subtract (1, 2, or 3). Everyone plays at the same time trying to find a card in their hand that matches either equation on the “play” pile.

Late Night Games

My daughter and I played a bunch of games late night. We started off with some math games from this book.

We tied with the boxing match game. The goal is to fill in all your numbers while rolling two 6-sided dice. For the first 4 turns you use the sum. After that, you can use either of the individual digits or their sum.

This game uses two 12-sided dice. You roll, add them up, and then add OR subtract 1. The goal is to cover 5 spaces in a row like Tic Tac Toe.

The first time playing this one, she got 5 in a row with her first 5 rolls!

This time the game lasted longer and I got to use lots of neat buttons. You can definitely see the way the probabilities play out on the boards; very few dice rolls made it into the first or last rows of numbers.

Then we played Zooloretto.

Then she posed and showed off her dress, lol.