Is it warm in your part of the world? Are your kids spending lots of time outdoors?
Summer is here and our garden is getting so much attention. My kids are happy when they’re outside, so I’ve been thinking up ways to turn our outdoor spaces into play pockets and learning laboratories.
In addition to our water wall, fairy garden, and outdoor drawing studio, my children and I headed over to one of our bigger thrift stores in search of low-cost inspiration for building out some new creativity corners in our garden.
Going to a thrift store with kids can be overwhelming, and I wouldn’t recommend it if yours like to run in every direction, but the experience can be educational as well as fun. We donate a lot of our gently used toys and clothes to the thrift store, so the full-circle story of use and re-use is not lost on my children You can give older children a budget and allow them to make some purchases of their own, and watching children play with toys can help you decide what’s worth buying.
The home goods section of our thrift store is nicely organized, and I decided to head straight for the wood and basket areas to keep our focus on objects that would fit in nicely with our outdoor space.
I found all of these nifty pieces for about $25. So what did we get?
- My one-year old chose a cute little hand-made wooden bench for $5 that fits her perfectly
- A few baskets that are perfect for treasure hunts
- A table-top easel
- Wicker picnic basket
- Small wooden manger turned into doll house
Everything we picked up has been put to good use. Most popular, fo far, has been the basket-treasure hunt game with my 21-month old. We’ll scatter treasures and rocks all over the garden, which she collects. And then we start all over again.
My favorite thing about this experience is that I spent a minimal amount of money for maximum impact. And my second-favorite piece is that you just never know what you’re going to find, and that element of surprise is perfect for kids’ toys and activities.
My children don’t care if something is brand-new or not, but high quality is important to me. I’d rather spend $3 on a nice used wooden stool than $10 on a brand-new plastic stool. I don’t always have such good luck on thrifting adventures, but with a little bit of luck and effort I usually come home with something wonderful.
How about you? Are you a thrifter? What treasures have you found in your second-hand shops?