Giveaway: $100 gift certificate from Imagine Childhood (Back to School Week)

This giveaway has now ended. Thanks for entering!

Not long ago we had some new friends over to play. My kids eagerly gave the mom and her children a tour of their rooms and of our house in general.

Later, when the mother and I were alone she said, “Your kids have no toys! I’ve never seen anything like it. I love it–tell me how you’ve done this.”

I laughed along with her–because while it’s not true that my kids have no toys, it is true that they have significantly less than the typical child in the United States. They definitely do not receive the average 70 new ones a year either. And I think that’s a good thing.

I would rather have fewer toys and know that those we do have are of the highest quality–that they nurture creativity and imagination–that they encourage growing minds and inspire little hearts. In a world full of plastic gizmos and battery-draining what-nots, I’m thankful for the online store Imagine Childhood, offering an incredible alternative.

I have been a customer of Imagine Childhood since I first discovered it a few years ago. I head there when there’s a birthday or holiday in our house that needs just that certain something. (I’ve mentioned before how my youngest, Elijah, is in love with any and all of the lifelike plush animals they have.) And last Christmas Steve and I picked out stocking stuffers for the kids from their stash of indoor creative supplies.

The store’s outdoor play section is filled with items perfect for science experiments, optics and navigation, and other discoveries. (Head here to read more about the microscope they carry in my review from last year.)

The staff at Imagine Childhood have also made it easy to find anything you might need for back to school–creating a special category filled with everything from backpacks to lunchboxes, binoculars to new crayons.

Be sure to check out the summer guide they’ve put together to get a good overview of the seasonal toys in their shop. The Imagine Childhood philosophy is simple:

“At we believe that children should experience the world through their own eyes, ears, fingers, and toes. That direct interaction with nature is the best way to learn about the world, and that open-ended imaginative play is the best way to learn about what it could be.”

This philosophy is sadly lacking in our modern-day era and needs to be spread, which is why I was thrilled to find out that Sarah Olmsted, co-founder of Imagine Childhood, was writing a book of her own: Imagine Childhood: 25 projects that spark curiosity and adventure.

Projects from the book include:

Part One: Nature

• Seasonal Capes
• Earth House
• Bird of Paradise Mask
• Maple Leaf House
• Nature Fairy
• Color and Shape Activities
• Flip-Book Animations
• Zoetrope
• Magic Lantern Projector

Part Two: Imagination

• Tree Shadows
• Play Tents and Structures
• Wands and Other Enchantments
• Boats for Sailing Imaginary Seas
• Nature’s Marionettes
• Nature’s Stage
• Adventures in Cartography

Part Three: Play

• Paint Can Banjo
• Steel Drum
• Bows and Arrows
• Lawn Bowling
• Rube Goldberg Machine
• Exploration Bag
• Game Seeds
• Simple Drawstring Game Bag
• Wishing Kite

Imagine Childhood, the book, will be released on October 16th, but you can see a sneak peek on the store’s blog and also go ahead and preorder your copy now!

One Simple Homeschool reader will receive a $100 gift certificate from Imagine Childhood!

(Sarah is also offering a discount to all readers: From now through August 17th, use the code ‘simplehomeschool’ to receive 10% off your order!)

How to Win

Everyone has two chances to win. Here’s how:

1. Comment on this post, answering this question: What toy currently sparks your child’s imagination the most? (If you are reading this in an email, you must click over to the blog to enter your comment!)

2. ‘Like’ Imagine Childhood and Simple Homeschool on Facebook. Then — this is importantyou need to come back and leave an additional comment here, telling me you have done so.

This giveaway has now ended. Thanks for entering!

About Jamie Martin

Jamie is a mama to three cute kids born on three different continents. She serves as editor of Simple Homeschool, and blogs about mindful parenting at Steady Mom. Jamie is also the author of two books: Steady Days and Mindset for Moms.


  1. You’re liked! Of course!
    Jenny’s latest post: Chris and Cheryl

  2. Natalie E. says:

    Stick horses have always provided hours of imaginative play at our house!

  3. Colored pencils and plain paper.

  4. Legos. Hours and hours of creativity goes on around here!

  5. Liked!

  6. Liked!

  7. Anything we can make with construction paper and tape…hats, masks, buildings, anything!

  8. I’d say the most imaginative toy right now is our chalk board!
    Rachel at Stitched in Color’s latest post: so many more

  9. Dara Huber says:

    A piece of paper and colored pencils sparks my daughter’s creativity. My son gets excited by a cape=:)

  10. a childrens show we have here in Australia called Playschool has sparked mine and my 4 year olds imagination, we have been making toilet roll dolls today after seeing it on the show:)

  11. both liked on facebook :)

  12. My boys love LEGO! And they have really enjoyed painting lately as well.

  13. My kids (6,5,3,2) are currently loving good old wooden blocks.

  14. Michelle b says:

    I think wooden trains spark him the most.

  15. Michelle b says:

    I’ve liked both on FB

  16. to be honest, i find that when my child’s imagination is really sparked, she isn’t playing with toys at all. a broom, a stick, a spoon from the kitchen–simple props from her world are all she needs to enter a rich world of imagination. that said, she does really love her duck from imagine childhood, and she has spent many an hour imagining its world.

  17. i have also liked both imagine childhood and simple homeschool on facebook. thanks!

  18. Tricia Ullrich says:

    Currently my 1 1/2 yr old is loving a set of nesting dolls.

  19. Tricia Ullrich says:

    Both pages liked!

  20. Notebook and colored pencils are family favorites around here!

  21. Liked!!! (Happy to do so, glad to have found your wonderful blog!)

  22. corinna szymoniak says:

    Since it is summer a couple of old pans are my childrens favorite at the moment. They cook up all kind of delicious things in them 😉

  23. corinna szymoniak says:

    Liked on FB !

  24. Shortermama says:

    My soon to be 2 year old loves hitting a large bouncy ball with flyswatters. Not sure if it’s his version of hockey or what we’ll see at the Olympics in a few years :)

  25. Shortermama says:

    I like you on Facebook.

  26. Shortermama says:

    I like Imagine Childhood on FB.

  27. My son’s favorite toy right now are LEGOS. I know they’re not your rocks and acorns although he has a nature box filled with those and he plays with them from time to time. But he could spend hours at his LEGO table creating new characters, vehicles and structures. I love how they spark his imagination!

  28. Maiesha M. says:

    Anything that we can create with is tons of fun. Legos, lincoln logs, blocks and homemade playdough. I’m trying hard to move away from the bells and gizmos of toys but they are in my house :(

  29. Maiesha M. says:

    Imagine childhood is liked on FB.

  30. Maiesha M. says:

    Simple homeschool is liked on FB!

  31. My son loves his wooden trains and matchbox cars too. He plays with them for hours!
    Krissa’s latest post: How I’m Using My CSA Box {Week of 8.1-8.8}

  32. Amber Walters says:

    The hose! Both of my kids right now are loving playing with the hose for all sorts of things. LEGO waterslides, tsunamis that destroy rock villages, water art on the fence, you name it they are doing it with the hose! Now if I could just get them to reliably roll it back up and put it away.

  33. Amber Walters says:

    I like both on Facebook!

  34. Legos are always popular here

  35. I liked both sites

  36. My son is especially creative when it comes to making toy train layouts.
    Melissa Jones’s latest post: MommyBee Designs

  37. I “liked” both pages!
    Melissa Jones’s latest post: MommyBee Designs

  38. My daughter loves playing with pinecones, feathers, leaves, smooth pebbles and other such ‘treasures’ she finds outdoors.

  39. My kids love blocks and colored pencils.

  40. Right now paper airplanes are capturing our boys’ imaginations. They are being flown all over the place! Thank you for the opportunity-I love ImagineChildhood!

  41. Both sites are liked!

  42. Alex Bedard says:

    Right now she is playing with play silks a lot! They are transformed from capes to baby-covers and carriers, tents, castles and houses, ballerina skirts and of course – fairy and princess’ dresses :)

  43. Alex Bedard says:

    Like both pages on FB!

  44. Toys that spark imagination? For my eldest, there’s the circuitry set. He’s an inventor at heart, so he likedscoming up with all sorts of new configurations. My daughter just needs paper and colored pencils. She loves drawing animals with giant, sparkly eyes. And my youngest son has a plastic sword with which he can entertain himself for hours in the back yard, fighting monsters and having adventures. Sometimes the dogs even get in on the action and act as horses for him!
    Lorinda Davis’s latest post: A Morning in the Garden

  45. Rachel J. says:

    Balls are my 20 month old’s current favorite. A doll is my 5 year old’s.

  46. Rachel J. says:

    I also “liked” both on FB!

  47. I like both Simple Homeschool and Imagine Childhood on Facebook. Thank you for the chance to win!
    Lorinda Davis’s latest post: A Morning in the Garden

  48. Legos around here!

  49. Prescilla says:

    Their favorite toys are the schleich animals.

  50. Prescilla says:

    I liked both pages on FB