04 July 2009

Fast Food and Free Education

It's summer. I'm a little lax on following our boxed science curriculum in the summer. I'm educating with fast food toys, free booklets and field trips until the weather cools. We can learn the difference between conduction and convection from a book later.

Usually kids' meal toys are crummy little movie or product tie-ins that wind up broken at the bottom of the toy bin within three weeks. But Sonic featured "bug" things through the month of June, and they got WAY more business from me than I usually give to drive-throughs because we wanted the toys.

The caterpillar book. The bug binoculars. The bug observatory. And best of all, a hand-held bug catcher. You know we had to use these for our homeschool. The boys went outside, caught bugs and drew them. They discovered that it's harder than it looks to catch a bug, let alone draw an insect as it's hopping mad and looking for a means of escape.

Our local nursery store is having a free butterfly event soon, so we'll review the caterpillar book and a few things from the library before going to that.

And the Toads and Frogs booklet? I got that free for living in Missouri (if you do, too, send an email requesting the "Toads and Frogs" booklet to pubstaff@mdc.mo.gov and include your mailing address). The booklet has full-colour pictures, an overview of each of the 26 species in Missouri, and maps on exactly where each frog type can be found in the state.

I also get the Missouri Conservationist magazine for free once a month as well. This is a full-colour glossy magazine with detailed articles about Missouri trees, introduced hostile species, wildlife, fishing tips, hunting pointers and the like. With my Toads and Frogs booklet, I got an "order form." Goody! The kids and I have selected several other publications that we hope to receive for free soon, as well.


  1. I love free and there are a lot of good, free activities out there. I don't know where you live in conjunction to Springfield, but we use the Nature Center quite a bit. As the boys got older we took field trips to Civil War sites. Pea Ridge (in NW Arkansas) was the best!

    We did a butterfly kit when the boys were younger and they loved it. The only bad part about it was when my third born realized we were going to release the butterfly afterward. :)

  2. Ganeida, we went looking for frogs today. Didn't find any, but it was cool to see the book and know what we WOULD be likely to see and what would NOT be.

    Mary, we're near Kansas City. :]

  3. Elimination is a good thing! ☺ I use our field guides endlessly just so I know I can't possibly have seen that rare & exotic bird I thought I saw.

  4. A butterfly event sounds like a lot of fun! I've been wanting to get one of those kits where you can order caterpillars and watch them as they become butterflies. Enjoyed your post! Freebies are exciting!


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