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. drawing gets my oldest imagination going. it is non stop around here!
    robyn oakenfold’s latest post: our project ten: august | kelowna

  2. sandbox

  3. i also liked simplehomeschool on facebook :)

  4. i already like simple homeschool and just liked imagine childhood :)
    robyn oakenfold’s latest post: our project ten: august | kelowna

  5. My oldest’s current favorites are the bows and arrows she makes from sticks and string.

  6. like of FB

  7. 8 year old daughter – American Girl Doll
    6 year old daughter – Crayons & Pencils
    5 year old son – Legos
    Alaina’s latest post: My Mexican Fiesta

  8. Liked Simple Homeschool & Imagine Childhood on FB, too!
    Alaina’s latest post: My Mexican Fiesta

  9. My son loves his magnatiles. He’s constantly amazing me with the combinations he puts together, the things that he builds, and the stories he tells about them.

  10. I liked Imagine Childhood and Simple Homeschool on FB. :)

  11. My girls are currently obsessed with American Girl dolls and marbles :)
    Dayna’s latest post: Summer Saturdays

  12. I “like” Imagine Childhood and Simple Homeschool
    Dayna’s latest post: Summer Saturdays

  13. Modeling clay – playIng pirate is my 3 year olds full-time job

  14. Having access to a variety of art mediums inspires my son’s creativity lately!
    Cynthia’s latest post: He’s Already There

  15. My boys have an obsession with Legos! We love the open ended nature that they provide, and my 5 and 3 year olds are so proud of each creation they make. My 1 year old loves Duplos as well.

  16. definitely drawing. my son loves to draw mazes (which are pretty good, i might add..) & my daughter is crazy about drawing mermaids & princesses. play dough time is a close second.

  17. My youngest’s favorite toy right now is an old Ball canning jar. Some days she brings it to me with a moth or grasshopper inside, other days it is filled with her imaginary fairy friends. Either way, it’s lovely. :)
    Fran’s latest post: A Summer Module

  18. i “like” simple homeschool & imagine childhood! :)

  19. I just “liked” Imagine Childhood and Simple Homeschool on Facebook!
    Fran’s latest post: A Summer Module

  20. My boys love their backpacks- they go on “adventures”- hiking, camping, boat captains, etc. Every morning is a new place to go, with new things packed along in their backpacks.

  21. Jenny goodman says:

    I’d say playing in the barn with the new kittens is the favorite activity at the moment…..creatively it’s probably the art station I created for my 9 year as a birthday gift one year… It has drawers with paper, all sorts of writing and drawing items, Popsicle sticks, straws, pipe cleaners, beads and much more….

  22. Right now it is hats. Whenever they put a hat on, they become a different person! It is really fun!

  23. my 6-year-old son is really into his notebook where he keeps track of anything from drawings at the park to questions he is going to ask a pet store owner. my 4-year-old love to play with her kitchen and imagine she is running a restaurant.

  24. Rhonda S. says:

    Oooh the Plant Dyed Watercolor paints by Artemis!

  25. Rhonda S. says:

    I liked both Simple Homeschool on FB (although it’s been in my reader for a couple of years I think)

    I also liked Imagine Childhood on FB.

  26. Usually Legos. But this week its been cardboard boxes and plastic soldiers.
    Suanna’s latest post: Revised 2012-2013 School Schedule

  27. Legos and Playmobil!

  28. I like Imagine Childhood and Simple Homeschool on Facebook!

  29. Right now its legos and building elaborate campers!

  30. The 5 year old loves to draw and the 3 year old loves the Legos and blocks.

  31. I like both pages on Facebook

  32. My kids ( 4 boys ages 8, 4 and twin 2.5 yo) love legos and making their own books. My daughter is really into dress up, dolls and makeup (face painting). but we don’t watch TV and Thursday is movie day so they have a lot of time for creative pursuits. We live a creative life:)

  33. We’re getting a lot of imagination sparks these days from our garden and the many things that come to mind when climbing trees.

  34. RIght now, bugs and blocks inspire the most creativity from my kids. (Although those are preferably not played with at the same time….)

  35. Paper and tape. Currently being made into crowns, shields, and origami dragons.

  36. Jennifer Keime says:

    Paper and any drawing utensil…crayons, pen, markers…it doesn’t matter. She writes me stories and draws pictures constantly. I try to make sure she has a never ending supply of scratch paper!

  37. Jennifer Keime says:

    I’ve ‘liked’ both sites on facebook. I am so glad I found yours too! What an inspiration!

  38. My daughter is so inspired by the books we read – I just LOVE it. She seems to have taken a long time to really enjoy a book read aloud (she enjoyed the time, and could tell me about the stories, but they rarely entered her creative play). Now she *begs* me to read to her, and then takes the characters into every aspect of the remainder of her day – her artwork, journaling and creative play all reflect the characters from the morning’s story time.

    My son, on the other hand, is very much into natural science and the world around him.

  39. I fb like both Simple Homeschool and imagine childhood! I’m so looking forward to our next birthdays and christmas this year – what LOVELY toys! <3

  40. water table + dirt=pie (7 years), legos=flying machines of all sorts (5 years), empty file box=puppy basket…he’s the puppy=robot helmet…beautiful eyes peeking through the handle hole (2 years) is lately around here. loved reading through a few of these responses…some good reminders and ideas!!

  41. Just liked imagine childhood on FB. (Already liked simple homeschool.)

  42. Right now, my daughter is enjoying imaginary play with her princess and fairy dolls, along with the little “bits and bobbles” we have (tea cups, felt cookies) etc
    Heather @ Life, Gluten Free’s latest post: Cake Bars with Plum Icing

  43. I liked both simple homeschool and imaginary childhood on Facebook :)
    Heather @ Life, Gluten Free’s latest post: Cake Bars with Plum Icing

  44. 6 year old son – legos and magnatiles
    3 year old son – legos and fuzzy blanket for forts, nests and cocoons

  45. Tanya Hulbert says:

    At this very moment my daughter is making a desk (pencil included) for her American Girl dolls. I’m so proud of the every day things we use that she turns into something for her dolls. Lots of tape, colored pencils and fabric!

  46. Tanya Hulbert says:

    Liked Simple Homeschool and Imaginary Childhood on FB. Thanks for the chance!

  47. Jennifer Anderson says:

    My children are very creative when they play with their kitchen dishes.

  48. Jennifer Anderson says:

    I liked Imagine Childhood and had already liked Simple Homeschool on Facebook:)

  49. Theresa O'Bryant says:

    right now my kids are really into the geo track train system… they have taken over the living room with train track creations…. every day is a new design….
    i have liked both facebook pages.

  50. My 8 yo – Legos
    my 5 yo – anything she can draw with
    my 2 yo – any toy animal, especially her FP animals