Posts for category ‘Free Family Fun’

Big Savings on K’Nex
Lesson Pathways | December 16, 2010 | 1:00 pm

construction toys

If you’ve got a budding engineer in your family, head over to K’NEX Industries, Inc., where they are having an amazing sale.  Here are just some of the great deals you’ll find:

Red Value TubScreen shot 2010-12-15 at 9.59.58 PM

Stunt JetStunt Jet Price

Light Up Ferris WheelFerris Wheel Price

Celebrating American Indian & Alaska Native Heritage Month
Lesson Pathways | November 8, 2010 | 10:00 am

November is “American Indian & Alaska Native Heritage Month” and RIF (Reading is Fundamental) is offering this amazing, FREE opportunity to attend a live broadcast for kids!

From the RIF Blog:

Coyote-255x300You are cordially invited to join RIF for our first-ever live broadcast on Tuesday, November 9, in celebration of American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month.

Go to at 1:30 PM EST on Tuesday to see American Indian Tomas “Eagle Bear” Shash read Coyote Sings to the Moon and share American Indian culture with a class of second graders at Emery Education Campus in Washington, DC. Eagle Bear will have 4 dancers with him along with American Indian artifacts to share with the children. Following the read-aloud, Eagle Bear and his dancers will perform a traditional American Indian dance.

And because this is a live event, you will have an opportunity to ask questions via a chat feature on the website.

I hope you can join us, but if you cannot, the video will be made available for showing a few days following the event. Watch the RIF home page at for news about the posting of the video after Tuesday’s live event.

Head over to Rasco’s blog to find out more!

Deals & Steals: July 29
Lesson Pathways | July 29, 2010 | 8:30 am

Piggy BankOh YES! It’s that time of the week again. It’s a deal lover’s delight, the bargain hunter’s paradise and the freebie queen’s source of fun.  It’s DEALS & STEALS time!

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, where we’ll be sharing even more bountiful bargains and fabulous freebies.

AND …. if you think this is good, be sure to join us next week, when we’ll be hosting giveaways galore as part of our Birthday Celebration!


This week’s DEALS:

Women’s Day Subscription – only $5.00 (normal cover price is $47.43)

This magazine is written and edited for the contemporary woman in that it covers the various issues that are important to women today. Its feature articles are devoted to information on food and nutrition, health and fitness, beauty and fashion as well as the traditional values of home, family and children. The changing needs of women are also addressed with articles which focus on careers, money management, law and relationships.

Vtech – Create-A-Story – Mickey Mouse Clubhouse $0.49 (not a typo!!! Save 98%!!!)

Join Mickey and friends from the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Based on the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse TV episode, “Mickey Go Seek,” the Create-A-Story provides the ultimate interactive reading experience. The Create-A-Story comes with two books, Read-A-Story and Create-A-Story and one software cartridge. Choose Read-A-Story mode to hear the “Mickey Go Seek” story and to play various learning activities. Or choose Create-A-Story for five different games that help you create a story of your own by choosing your own characters, backgrounds, objects and actions.

Vtech – Create-A-Story – Finding Nemo $3.00 (Save 85%)

Underwater adventure comes alive with the Finding Nemo Create-A-Story. This magical Disney Magic Storyteller comes with two booklets, Read-A-Story and Create-A-Story and one software cartridge. Choose Read-A-Story mode to hear a selected Nemo story and to play various Nemo learning activities. Or choose Create-A-Story for five different games that help you create a story of your own by choosing your own characters, backgrounds, objects and actions.

Elmer’s Education KinderReady Eric Carle String Along $3.90 (74% off)

Kinder-Ready is dedicated to helping your child get ready for kindergarten. Elmer’s Kinder ready series features the eye-catching artwork of Eric Carle, the popular author and illustrator of much-beloved children’s books including the Very Hungry Caterpillar. Each activity has great visuals, tons of fun and loads of learning-the perfect combination to help children get ready for kindergarten. For ages 3 and up. In the string along skill building kit you find 16 activity cards 1 lace for stringing 24 colored beads. This develops hand eye coordination as it teaches recognition of patterns and sequences.

Magnext Dynamix Advanced Gears & Electronix $20.07 (you save 60%)

Experiment with magnetic attraction and repulsion using this ingenious set of MagNext Dynamix Advanced Gears. Learn to control the way magnets move in relation to each other and metal. Take advantage of a bigger and sturdier pronged building plate upon which to design cool stuff with MagNext standard parts, and then make them spin in different ways. Build a futuristic museum of caged structures, a solar machine or any intricate contraption your imagination allows. Stack the spinning gears as you wish and build as high as you can. Press and place a MagNext sphere ball on button to keep the motor rotating and observe exciting, multi-directional action. Adjust and manipulate your designs to experience the power of magnets at work, moving your entire creation. Excellent for children 6 and up

This week’s STEALS:

sharkSharks Notebooking Unit
(Adobe Reader Required)  Shark Week is coming and aquariums all around the U.S. are holding special shark related events. On Sunday August 1, the Discovery Channel’s “Happy Shark Week” begins with six new shark specials. Lynda Ackert has created a Shark Notebooking Unit that you can download for free! (Preview available) The Shark Notebooking Unit is 31 pages and contains a variety of colorful, fun pages for your kids to create a fantastic notebook all about sharks. In the unit you will find: 2 pages with maps, instructions and illustration on how to draw a shark, an acrostic poetry page, a newspaper page and much more.

Why? The Science Show for Kids Podcast
An informative podcast by Dr. Dave Brodbeck from Algoma University College, each episode is three to four minutes long and answers a science question like How Does Your Brain Make Your Fingers Move? or How Do Bees Make Honey?

abcteach – 5000+ free printables and worksheets
Abcteach has thousands of pages covering a variety of subjects, formats and different grade levels – worksheets, powerpoint,  Pre-K, High School, ESL, Thinking Green, portfolios, flashcards – available to print for free.  They also offer a custom worksheet generator to make your own documents.
Membership is required to make your own documents and for access to the whole site. This could also be considered a Deal, though because becoming a member is only $3.33 a month.

State Educational Resources
Depending on what state you live in, you might find a plethora of free resources on your state’s Department of Education website. I can’t speak for all of them but here is one example: I live in Indiana and on it’s DOE website there is a page entitled Indiana Standards and Resources. On this page you can see the guidelines for what (according to the state) should be taught according to grade level and resources to use in your classroom, homeschool or otherwise.

This post was written by Shalynne A. and Christina S.

Shay lives in the cornfields of Indiana where she is a writer and happily married stay-at-home momma of two. She is relatively new to homeschooling and writes a blog called Wonderfully Chaotic.

Christina is a work-at-home-homeschooling-mom living in Detroit with her family.  They just completed their 11th year of homeschooling and actively involved in the homeschooling community both online and off.

Educational Freebie Round Up
Lesson Pathways | June 1, 2010 | 2:32 pm


There’s been some great freebies out there over the past week or so. We wanted to share a few of our favorites, so our readers and users can enjoy the savings too!

History Channel: America the Story of US DVD Even shipping & handling is free!  Public, private and home schools receive this spectacular series shipped right to your door.

7 Secrets to Homeschooling Through a Financial Storm The HomeScholar is offering this special reports that reveals 7 secrets that will help you homeschool wisely and inexpensively.

16 Crafting eBooks These craft books from Interweave include crochet, knitting, beading and even watercolors!

Printable Labels for Folgers Cans Okay, so this doesn’t quite fall under “educational”, but thanks to Robin at the Heart of Wisdom blog, you can repurpose those large red coffee cans into decorative containers and keep everything nicely organized.

Homeschooling & Loving It This hard copy book (not an eBook) is your free, offered by the Laurel Springs store.  You do need to pay shipping & handling ($5.95 for Priority Mail).

Homeschool Planner Forms Get a jump on organizing for the next school year with this collections of printable planner forms at the Heart of the Matter Online blog.  There’s also a few links for free computerized planners too!

Mental Math Secrets This is a series of 6 free online videos (you can subscribe via iTunes as well) for learning how to complete mental math.

Paper Dolls of Ancient History What a great way to add some hands-on learning to your history curriculum!  Practical Pages offers free printable paper dolls for Rome, Egypt, the Elizabethan era and more!

Do you have any freebies to share?  Please tell us about it in the comments section.

Making Time for Family – Fun That Is!
Lesson Pathways | May 25, 2010 | 1:16 pm

Family giving dog a bath.The life of a homeschooler can be incredibly busy. There is always much to do. But remember, it’s critical to take time to relax and just enjoy the unique combination that is your family. Time together–with no other goal than having fun–can build and strengthen bonds and help tired, stressed feelings melt away.

Hearing dad cut loose and laugh during a Saturday afternoon family game can help your children see him in a new light. Tossing a ball in the park with your kids can help them see you as so much more than teacher and household manager. Even squabbling siblings can learn to respect and enjoy each other during fun family times. Sure, they’ll still squabble, but they’ll also see each other as playmates instead of mere opponents.

Hearing dad cut loose and laugh during a Saturday afternoon family game can help your children see him in a new light.

Here are 5 great ways to have fun with your family:

* Schedule a board game night. Whip out your favorite board games (or buy some new ones), break out the snacks (sure, they can be healthy), and hunker down for a couple of hours of board game fun. Talk, laugh, and reconnect with each other. (Some people choose movie and board game night. This can be fun, too, but watch out! When the movie is playing, there may be less talking and enjoying each other and more focusing on the tube.)

Some board game ideas:

  • Scrabble
  • Yatzee
  • Monopoly
  • Life
  • Totally Gross (this game is hilarious, and yes, gross)

* Get out in the great outdoors. Go to the park and toss around the football or kick around the soccer ball. PlayIS078-019 tennis as a family. Getting the body moving is not only great exercise, but also creates a wonderful sense of mental well-being. Try bicycling and hiking, too! Do a different outdoor activity each week to avoid boredom. Picnics count as outdoor fun as well.

* Make a feast. In one family, there may be much disagreement over which food is tastiest. Get in the kitchen as a family and have each person prepare something for a buffet-style meal. Even small children can help with things like making a salad, putting cheese on a pizza, or stirring ingredients. When your meal is done, gather around the table and sample a bit of each dish. Refrigerate the leftovers for later. This means less cooking for you!

* Go camping. Tent camping is a fun, and often inexpensive, way to experience the joys of roughing it as a family. Just think–no television, video games, or computers as distractions! You may be able to find affordable campgrounds within miles of your home. However, you don’t have to go far. You can even pitch the tent in the backyard! It’s free and the bathroom is impressively close.

*Help others and/or the environment. Okay, this is a little work, but volunteering your time can be a heart-warming experience. Consider helping clean up a park, delivering meals to the elderly, or helping at an animal shelter. You may need to be a bit creative and flexible to find volunteer opportunities that you can do as a group, especially if you have small children. However, you’re sure to find at least a few ways your family can help make a difference.

Free Christmas Printables
Christina | December 18, 2009 | 10:07 am


Whether your children are educated at home or in a classroom setting, its likely most of them will not have scheduled school work this coming week.  When they get antsy for something to do, help keep their minds and hands busy this week by assembling a fun holiday workbook using these FREE resources:

Christmas MousePrintable Christmas Quiz

A fun quiz about Santa!

Printable Christmas Quiz for Older Children

Print this quiz for your older children and allow them to use the internet to find the answers.

Christmas Tree Dot-to-Dot

This dot-to-dot will reinforce counting skills.

Santa Claus Word Search

Find & circle the words in the grid — they all relate to Santa Claus!

Christmas Crossword Puzzles

Choose easy, medium or hard for your child.

Christmas Around the World

Print this poster to learn how to say “Christmas” in different languages.

Decorate a Gingerbread Cookie

Color, cut and glue the decorations for your gingerbread boy or girl!

Reading Comprehension – Making Christmas Ornaments

Read the recipe and directions for making the ornaments.  Answer the questions and try making some of your own.

My Family Christmas – A Rebus Story

Print this page for your young reader.


The Internet is full of great resources.  These are just a few of our favorites.  Share your favorites in the comments section!

A Family Thanksgiving
Lesson Pathways | November 24, 2009 | 1:53 pm

Over the next few days, moms all over America will be preparing for Thanksgiving. You may be picturing wonderful family memories made around the Thanksgiving table, or even afterwards over turkey sandwiches, but don’t miss out on the opportunities for making special memories with your children in the days leading up to Thanksgiving.

When my girls were younger, I had a very hard time including them in the Thanksgiving preparations. It wasn’t because I didn’t have the patience for them or because I was under any particular time crunch. It was because I was (and still am) such a perfectionist. Everything about the celebration had to be just “just so.” If it didn’t look like it came out of a magazine, then it wasn’t good enough.


Looking back, I regret not taking advantage of the special moments I could have shared with my children. After all, they don’t remember the perfectly polished flatware and glistening crystal goblets. They do remember the things they helped with though.

If your vision of a perfect Thanksgiving doesn’t include a table to rival anything from the Martha Stewart Show, you’re already off to a good start. If the idea of toilet-paper tube Pilgrims on your table is enough to cause a panic attack, don’t worry. You can involve the children and STILL have the picture-perfect Thanksgiving.

Start at the beginning:

42-15610067Include your child in the planning the Thanksgiving menu. You’ll likely be listing the traditional foods you’ve had in the past, or you may wind up with some new favorites, requested by your child. Either way, this gets your child involved from the start. If your child is able to write, have him help write down the menu or even the grocery list (as you dictate it, of course). If your child can’t actually write yet, give her some paper and let her try anyway. You can even print out some cute Thanksgiving-themed paper here (

Table Decorations:

Do you have a special set of china and stemware used exclusively for holidays or special occasions? Are paper plates and buffet style more your speed? Either way, there are plenty of crafty ways your child can be involved in making the atmosphere festive, without breaking the bank or straying too far from your personal asthetic. For great ideas and inspiration, visit this site ( There are tons of great craft ideas for centerpieces!

Get Cooking:

Little ChefsChildren of all ages can help in the kitchen. This doesn’t mean you need to have them under foot or in the kitchen to help prepare the entire meal. You may want to consider choosing a dish your child can help prepare, even if it is just “helping” by pouring in the ingredients or mixing. For older children, consider giving them responsibility for a side dish, such as mashed potatoes, green bean casserole or sweet potato casserole. If you are having a hard time adapting your favorite family recipe to be “kid friendly,” try this site for some ideas

Away from Home This Thanksgiving?

If you are traveling this Thanksgiving, you can still include your child in preparing for the trip. If he is old enough, having him pack his own suitcase will save you some time and sanity (everything double-checked by mom, of course).


For all ages, have your child help prepare the activities for the ride there by providing a back pack, small box, or other suitable container for the car, and allowing him to fill it with the items he would like to take in the car. You can go to the library and let your child pick out books, music and even books on CD for the long car ride ahead.

Make your older child the official coordinator of car-ride games. Have her research games that can be played in the car, and make sure you have all the supplies needed. Make it her job to teach everyone how to play during the ride. If you want to give your child a head start on finding games, you can start here:

In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, include your children in the preparations. By giving each of your children a specific responsibility, you will be building their self esteem, and they might even learn a new life skill and a bit of family history in the process. Whether you are hosting the feast at home or traveling to see loved ones, there is something your child can do to help.

Frugal Fall Family Fun
Lesson Pathways | October 23, 2009 | 8:00 am

Can you say “Frugal Fall Family Fun” five times–fast?

I absolutely LOVE this time of year. Fall is definitely my favorite season.

One of the great things about fall is all the frugal family fun you can have! I’m going to share just a few of my favorite fall activities with you to get the juices flowing in your head, so you can brainstorm additional ideas for frugal family fun!

#1 – One of my all-time favorite fall activities is going to a football game. I grew up going to our local high school’s football games every Friday night. Many schools have family passes you can purchase if you’ll be attending multiple events, but a one-time ticket is usually only $4 or $5 for adults (less for students).

#2 – If going to a game isn’t in the budget, you can experience the fun of football at little-to-no cost, right in your own backyard! Grab the kids, the neighbors, your friends down the street–whomever you can get–and put together a game of 2-hand-touch football. The rules are simple: each team gets up to four tries (known as downs) to get the ball to the “end zone” (mark with Frisbees, jackets, cones, whatever you have on hand). If the person with the ball is touched by a player from the other team with both hands, he or she is “down” and the play stops. Make your field as long or short as you like (I’d suggest 10-20 yards), and play as many sets of downs as you want (or play to “x” number of points). Make sure each team has an equal number of turns trying to get the ball to the end zone.

#3 – There’s nothing I love more about fall than looking at all the beautiful colors in the trees. And what’s more frugal than taking a nature walk/hike? Grab a camera, bag (for “treasures”), notebook and pencil, and a book about trees/leaves. If you have young kids, have them look for the biggest leaf, the smallest leaf, an acorn, a stick, and any other fall treasures. Then, have your kids put their treasures in a bag to take home. (See #4 for what to do with the treasures.) Older kids can use a notebook and pencil to sketch what they see while walking, or they can use a camera to capture pictures of the colors. A book about trees/leaves can help older kids learn to identify various types of trees/leaves and could even be part of a science unit. Use your camera to take fall pictures of your family among the beautiful background of colors.

#4 – Creating a fall-scape with your nature walk/hike treasures is a fun way to bring fall inside! Grab a piece of cardstock or plain paper and use your treasures to create a beautiful picture. Draw an outline of a tree with a marker/crayon and glue leaves and acorns to it. Place a sheet of paper over a leaf and use a crayon to color over it, bringing out the leaf’s vein on the paper. Have older kids create a leaf collection by identifying various leaves (and the trees they came from) and creating a leaf book. Laminate the leaves with clear contact paper or use an iron to melt wax paper around each leaf.

Autumn Faces

#5 -Decorating with nature is another great frugal fall family fun activity. Use the fall-scapes to decorate your home, as greeting cards, or to frame individual leaves and create a beautiful display. Grab a hot-glue gun and a piece of cardboard. Glue leaves and acorns to the cardboard to make a wreath or frame to hang on the wall. Create a garland by stringing acorns and leaves with a needle and thread.

#6 – Fall is known for being a season of harvest. Grab the family and head to a nearby apple orchard or pumpkin patch. Often, these venues will have opportunities for hayrides, apple/pumpkin picking, and fun family photos. I love the taste of a freshly picked apple and fresh apple cider. I love carving jack-o-lanterns from pumpkins too!

#7 – If you asked my daughter what her favorite fall activity is, she’d tell you she LOVES to jump in the leaves. What is more frugal than that? Grab a rake, make a pile, and jump for joy!

#8 – Another favorite fall activity is sitting (or standing) around a big bonfire! Grab the blankets and camp chairs and grill hot dogs and marshmallows over an open fire. If the weather is less than welcoming, grab a bunch of blankets and make a fort in the living room. Create a “bonfire” with flashlights and colored paper.

#9 – Make s’mores and popcorn in the microwave and put in a fun family movie from the library (or from your own movie collection), or grab a board/card game. (you can also check out Redbox movie rentals. Just $1 per night!)

#10 – We’re headed to a Fall Festival tomorrow (weather permitting) in a local small town. Small towns (and big ones too) often have Fall Festivals. Check your local paper or your municipality’s webpage to find a festival near you.

These are just a few ideas for Frugal Fall Family Fun. I hope they get your creative juices flowing. Be sure to share your ideas in the comments section–I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

This post was written by Ashley P., homeschool mom and Lesson Pathways contributor.  Read more about her and our other great blog contributors by clicking the “Our People” tab.

Congratulations to the Winner of our Giveaway!
Lesson Pathways | October 21, 2009 | 5:56 pm

Young girl celebrating with confetti

Congratulations to ….. TARA!

Tara has won “Andrea Carter and the Dangerous Decision” book and lapbook set!

Another big THANK YOU to Susan K. Marlow, author of the Circle C books series and generous sponsor of this prize. And a special “thank you” to everyone who participated.  I wish we could give you each something!

Be sure to keep your eyes peeled in November; we’ll be giving away the third book in the Circle C book series!

Canadian Thanksgiving
Lesson Pathways | October 11, 2009 | 6:15 pm

We’d like to wish all of our Canadian friends a Happy Thanksgiving!

Canadian FlagThe Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October. It differs a little from the American Thanksgiving. Sure, we do enjoy turkey, squash, and all the trimmings! We get together with friends and family for a big meal and football! However, the reason behind our celebration is different! Americans celebrate the Pilgrims traveling to America and settling in the “New World.” Canadians celebrate the harvest.

We live in a northern climate, and a successful harvest is a great blessing! American influence has played a part in the Canadian Thanksgiving. Our holiday originated from a three-fold process:

1. Long ago, before the first Europeans arrived in North America, farmers in Europe held celebrations at harvest time. To give thanks for their good fortune and the abundance of food, the farm workers filled a curved goat’s horn with fruit and grain. This symbol was called a cornucopia or horn of plenty. When they traveled to Canada, they brought this tradition with them.

2. In the year 1578, the English navigator Martin Frobisher held a formal ceremony, in what is now called Newfoundland, giving thanks for surviving the long journey. He was later knighted and had an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean in northern Canada named after him– Frobisher Bay. Other settlers arrived and continued these ceremonies.

3. The third came in the year 1621, in what is now the United States, when the Pilgrims celebrated their harvest in the New World. The Pilgrims were English colonists who founded a permanent European settlement at Plymouth Massachusetts. By the 1750s, this joyous celebration was brought to Nova Scotia by American settlers from the south.

(The above three points are taken from the CanadaInfo website, click here to read the whole article).

Did you know Americans did not have the first Thanksgiving?

Frobisher’s celebration took place 43 years before the Pilgrims gave thanks in 1621!

Each family has its own way of celebrating the holiday. Here are some common practices across Canada:

a) Turkey of course! We also enjoy ham, roast, and pumpkin pie! Our meals do not differ much from the American version of our feast. The Americans contributed to our traditional meal!

b) We often have the cornucopia (filled with fruit, flowers, etc.) on display around the house or on the kitchen table, honoring the European part of our tradition! It is a symbol of abundance.

c) Thankfulness! We enjoy sharing what we are thankful for in remembrance of the English navigator Martin Frobisher. Different people celebrate their thankfulness in different ways, such as going around the table to take turns saying what they are thankful for and offering prayers of thankfulness in church and at the table. The First Nations of Canada celebrate by being thankful to their ancestors.

d) Football! Football is a huge tradition here. No man is denied the practice of undoing his pants after a big meal and settling down to watch the big game! It is a tradition that began with Monday Night Football!

Did you know Americans did not have the first Thanksgiving?

Frobisher’s celebration took place 43 years before the Pilgrims gave thanks in 1621! It began in 1578 for Canadians, but on April 5, 1872, the Canadian Confederation made it a civic holiday, marking the official holiday as the second Monday of October. This was in celebration of the Prince of Whales’ recovery from a serious illness!


We have much to be thankful for, including the diversity of Canadian culture that combines so many different reasons to be thankful, into one holiday: Thanksgiving!

Here are some fun FREE on-line resources for helping your child learn and celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving:

Kid’s Turn Central: Canadian Thanksgiving
Canadian Thanksgiving eCards
Canadian Thanksgiving Printable Wordsearch
Thankful Wreath of Leaves Craft
Canadian Thanksgiving True or False
Learn about Canadian Thanksgiving Video

This post was written by Jennifer B., a Canadian resident, homeschool mom and LessonPathways team member.  The links were compiled by Christina S., homeschool mom and LessonPathways team member.