Have you heard of “Steam”?

I always love to share the awesome things my sons find on the internet so when I heard my youngest talking about a game called Democracy 3 and how he was thinking of just working on getting elected by pandering to the largest voting groups, I had to investigate and see if this would be something others would like to check out.

They found Steam years ago and have been playing games like “Besiege” for years. On that one, you’re supposed to build machines to win battles. Mine, especially my youngest, uses it to explore machine parts and better understand how they work. My kids have always been fascinated by machines of all kinds. With this game, they can build things they know and keep fiddling with it until it looks and acts like a real world equivalent. It’s pretty awesome to be able to do that virtually instead of in the garage. It’s cheaper and much faster to get a working machine. Much of what they learn there translates into better understanding of the cars and motorcycles they work on in the garage!

My younger son started playing Democracy 3 on Monday and it looks fascinating. He already has a better understanding of how political machines work and he’s been sharing it with us non-stop. Go check it out!

Toys!

Ask me what I think is the most important thing for homeschoolers to have around the house and I’ll tell you “awesome, colorful reference books” and “building toys”!

Legos are some of my favorite toys but I also love building blocks, Knex, and Tinker Toys. My sons still drag out the box of legos when they are trying to better understand some physics concept they’ve discovered or read about.

Here’s a list of my favorite building toys!

Lego – Crazy Contraptions
It’s a small set with lots of potential! We had an awesome storage system of little drawers that we got from Harbor Freight. It was for keeping nuts and bolts and you could hang them on the wall.

Knex – Model Building Set
The bigger the better! More pieces mean more innovation. We used to spend the whole day putting together the “amusement park” sets!

Wooden Blocks
They are expensive but so worth it! We had so much fun with these when my boys were little. And I still have most of the sets put away for my Grandkids (minus the ones the dog chewed up).

Keva Planks
They may seem overly simple but the more you have, the more amazing things can be built!

If you’re going to buy something as a homeschooler, make it awesome toys instead of expensive curriculum. Kids will get so much more out of them than any textbook or worksheet!

Paper Toys!

Now here’s something fun to do on rainy days or super hot ones in our neck of the woods! A whole website of printable paper toys! Be sure to Paypal Donate a couple dollars if you decide to print these regularly. The site offers them for free but you know they put a lot of work into having them there for you. Be cool and help them keep going!

http://www.thetoymaker.com/

One of the best things a homeschooler can invest in is a black and white laser printer. It sounds more expensive than it is really. I got a Dell 1110 8 years ago on Amazon for $200 and have loved it. The toner is pretty cheap if you buy refurbished and it doesn’t dry up between printings. Rarely did we ever really need anything in color and when we did we just ran down to the office supply with the document on a thumb drive to print it. Color laser printers are much more expensive!

World Idle Game

My sons play this game all the time. I thought they were reading an article, not playing a game, but when my youngest explained it to me I was fascinated and (I’ll admit) a little bit bored. I’m not one for text games. I’m older, yes, and those games were popular among the nerd elite when I was a kid, but I never played them. I’d rather have read a book or gone roller skating! But my sons both seem to really enjoy this game, so I thought I’d pass it along to share their joy. I hope you like it!

http://www.kongregate.com/games/Baldurans/world-idle?haref=HP_HNG_world-idle

“Build buildings to produce resources. After you have enough people you can gather an army and send your people to war to create even bigger empire.”