Then I decided to stop at goodwill and see what treasures I could find in the children's book department.
The first book that caught my eye was a children's art book, Linnea in Monet's Garden by Christina Bjork and Lena Anderson. I was very excited to find this, because I plan to do Artist/Picture Studies eventually, and this looks like a great introduction to Monet and Impressionism.
I found a few small reference/informational books too. I Wonder Why the Sun Rises and other questions about time and seasons by Brenda Walpole; Finding Out About Things That Fly by Kate Little; and Whales, Dolphins & Sharks which looks like it will appeal to my fact loving son.
I found several other books as well. A few of these are unfamiliar to me, but as you can see, some of these are classics.
I know I am way ahead of myself. Elliott is only 4 (almost 5, if you ask him) but at the same time, I don't think it's ever too early to start building a solid literary collection. These books will go on the bookshelf and wait their turn.
At the end of the book section are the toys. I always check for puzzles and games that my kids might find interesting. Most of the time I find nothing, but today was an exception. While these are older games and geared more for the 8 years and up crowd, they look absolutely fantastic for developing geometry and spatial skills.
PYTHAGORAS states there are 7 basic pieces that make up 179 different designs. There is a booklet that gives the patterns, but not the solutions.
Then, HEXED is a puzzle game with 12 (Tetris-looking) pieces that fit together to make a rectangle. The box claims more than 2,000 possibilities!
Elliott has a shape/pattern activity set called Playful Patterns made by Discovery Toys that was passed down from his older cousins--the cards increase in difficulty, but you place the shapes on them to make larger shapes (two semi-circles or four quarter circles make a whole circle) or several different shapes are used to make a complete picture. Elliott thinks its a game, and I love that it's a wonderful introduction to geometry--and fractions--and I think Hexed and Pythagoras will make a great transition when he is ready for more advanced patterns.
Goodwill was not the only stop where I found books today. However, if you've made it this far, I won't bore you much more. I'll just say I found a few books at Ollie's, one of which was a children's beginner English/Spanish dictionary. Seeing as how the boy is determined to learn Spanish, I thought I better start finding resources!