Tea Time with Annie Kate Rotating Header Image

Review: Finding Educational Activities in the Most Unexpected Places

When I was a young mom, I wanted some guidelines to teach my preschoolers in a fun, low-key way using things we had around the house.  I bought several books, read several more from the library, and used my imagination, but what I really needed was something like Finding Educational Activities in the Most Unexpected Places by Angie Kauffman.   Even now that my ‘little ones’ are 7 and 9,  I’m finding lots of neat  ideas here. 

The author, Angie Kauffman, works with toddlers in early intervention.  For her work, she has interesting manipulatives, and the families she works with often wish they had such ‘cool toys’.  Angie wrote Finding Educational Activities in the Most Unexpected Placesto show those families that there are so many activities that can be done with just objects in and around their own houses.’  Now she’s making her book available to parents everywhere as well as giving it, for free, to her client families.

The eBook, subtitled More than 200 Activities and Ideas for Using Commonly Found Objects to Enhance the Learning of Your Young Child contains a wide variety of enjoyable and exciting activities, grouped in categories such as

  • Balls
  • Blankets
  • Bubbles
  • Cardboard Tubes
  • Cotton Balls
  • Fabric
  • Kitchen
  • Lids
  • Paper Plates
  • Sponges
  • And many more 

Many basic skills are developed by these activities—‘fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, gross motor skills, speech and social communication, social interactions, adaptive (daily living skills), cognitive skills, sensory stimulation, body awareness, spatial awareness, imagination, and many more.’  The skills involved in each activity are not listed, and that is probably a good thing.  Otherwise mom may go into teacher or therapist mode, and playing is always more fun and effective for little ones. 

What We Thought

I love the suggestion to use empty store boxes (Kleenex, baking powder, and more) for the children to use in their play kitchens.  One very frugal December, we found an old shelf and a toy cash register. With the help of friends, we collected a huge number of store containers.  Our children were thrilled when they opened their gigantic package and found everything they needed to set up their own store, and it was one of the best gifts we ever gave them.

Some of Angie’s suggestions, such as making a block tower to knock down, I’ve always discouraged.  I found that one child would spend a lot of time building a beautiful tower and then a sibling would come along and want to play ‘Knock the Tower Down,’  leading to all sorts of unpleasantness.  On the other hand, bowling with pop bottles is fun for everyone.

This book contains several suggestions that would make great activities for a child’s birthday party.  Cotton ball races, sponge throwing, and an obstacle course would work well for children of all ages as well as for family, church, playgroup, or homeschool get-togethers.

The book would have benefitted from an index.  For example, on a hot day, I really wanted to be able to look up ‘water’ rather than skimming through the entire book…although that was fun and inspiring, too.  We already had everything the activities required.  For the next hot day, however, I’ve listed sponges on my shopping list so that we’ll be able to play a game of sponge toss.

This 58 page eBook is clear, organized, inexpensive, full of great ideas, and better than anything I could find when I really needed it.  We’re happy to enjoy it now, even though my children are beyond the target age range. 

I highly recommend it for anyone with children under ten.

Would Finding Educational Activities in the Most Unexpected Places work for your family?

This book is a gem for busy moms who need a few good ideas, for new moms who wonder how to ‘teach’ their children through playful activities, for families on a budget, for parents of a little one with developmental delays, for daycare and preschool workers, and for babysitters of all ages, especially inexperienced teens. 

If you are creative and have spent a lot of time with little ones, you will probably know about many of these activities.  Even so, you will find a few great new ideas.  If you’re like me, you’ll also enjoy being reminded about ones you had forgotten. 

You can sample some of the activities here.  

To Purchase

You can download Finding Educational Activities in the Most Unexpected Places at Angie’s website for $7.50 US.  Until June 15, my readers can enjoy a 20% discount using the code TTAK20.   

Disclosure  I received this eBook for free in order to give you my honest opinions about it.  I am not paid for this review in any way.

I’m sharing this great,  inexpensive eBook book with  Tightwad TuesdayWorks for Me Wednesday, Coupon Teacher’s Thrifty Thursday, and Melissa’s Thrifty Thursday.



  1. Thanks so much for the kind review, Annie Kate! 🙂

    The index would be a great idea. I hope that the table of contents at least meets some of those needs for people.

    Oh – for the record, I don’t let other kids knock down people’s towers either. We work on it sometimes in therapy, but it’s only that the child can knock down a tower that they have made or one that I have made and tell them to knock down. If a sibling joins in, sometimes we have to have a lot (A LOT – sometimes even with the older sibling – LOL) of talks about being kind, and that it’s not kind to knock over someone else’s work. We work a lot of things like polite behavior, kindness, cooperation, and empathy.

    I like to encourage “please” and “thank you” as very early signs for the kiddos I see that are delayed with speech and need to start with signs. I like to tell parents that a child that consistently remembers to say please and thank you tend to be kids that people are happy to help. (At least I have seen that with my own kids. When my oldest, who is very polite, was in public school, it amazed me the help he got just because he was so polite and likable.)

    Thanks, again, for taking the time to give feedback about the eBook!

    1. Annie Kate says:

      You know, I’ve noticed the same reaction to polite kids.

      It’s great that you give children who need extra help this little edge in getting the help they need!

      I was pleased to review this book, and I’m glad you are sharing your expertise with parents and caregivers everywhere. 🙂

      Annie Kate

  2. Anita says:

    Thanks fo the tips. Children can be so very creative with everyday household items. Nice review!

  3. Sandra says:

    It sounds like a great ebook! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Martianne says:

    I always like leads to new books. Thank you! But, right now, our family budget only allows for books that we can get out of the library. So, no e-books for me. I will keep it mind for later though and appreciate your review. I happened to post a review today, too!

  5. Canadagirl says:

    This is a GREAT find. Anything that shows you how to use what you already have or that doesn’t cost a arm and a leg to get is a GOOD thing. [0= Thanks for passing the info on to us all. Too bad my baby is almost 10. ((sniff sniff))

    Blessings and ((HUGS)) my SSiC
    In Him<

  6. […] Finding Educational Activities in the Most Unexpected Places by Angie Kauffman, a book full of fun activities to do with your children, using things most of us have lying around.  […]

Leave a Reply to 52 Books in 52 Weeks – Tea Time with Annie Kate Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *