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. Yesterday it was something as simple as an empty tin can and the tube from a roll of aluminum foil.
    Wendy’s latest post: games of the toy deprived

  2. Lego!!!

  3. Blocks by far are their favorite toys right now :) I like both your pages and have liked them for some time now.

  4. Right now my kids are loving coloring/drawing. My oldest says he is a ‘colored pencil artist’.
    Tasha’s latest post: What we’ve been up to….

  5. I did it! I liked Imagine Childhood on facebook, and of course I already liked Simple Homeschool!
    Tasha’s latest post: What we’ve been up to….

  6. My son is really into building elaborate houses with simple wooden blocks.

  7. I liked Imagine Childhood and Simple Homeschool on Facebook!

  8. I think play-doh is what inspires the most creativity for my girls.

  9. I just liked Imagine Childhood on FB and already was a fan of Simple Homeschool!

  10. My youngest is really into “teaching” right now–not surprising with three older siblings being homeschooled right in front of her each day! If she finds any kind of flashcards, books, visual aids of any sort, or even playing cards, she’ll hold them up and start “teaching” the rest of us. SO, so fun to watch!
    WhyAmySmiles’s latest post: So that’s why

  11. LEGOs are a big hit in our home.

  12. Lego!!
    Andrea’s latest post: Our 3rd Little Princess…

  13. liked both on FB!
    Andrea’s latest post: Our 3rd Little Princess…

  14. My 6 yr old daughter loves animals, right now she is into littlest pet shop. They are really cute, inexpensive and she uses her imagination!

  15. Suzanne wofford says:

    I did it too! I like(d) both! And commented that my girls were currently and very imaginatively into their dollhouse and treehouse!

  16. Legos!

  17. I’m so stoked about this contest! I like both of you, have for a long while now. This book is exactly what I’m looking for and I will buy it even if I don’t win. Thanks!

  18. Dolls. Simple ones!

  19. I liked both pages on FB!