I love a GREAT FIND. In fact, I spend too much on my little treasures but I use them so I figure in the end the amount I save is more than the amount I spend (I know, I'm a "retail therapy -therapy materials fanatic"). This is where I go to find "My Precious" (Yes, that was a Lord of the Rings reference you should have heard in your head) therapy material treasures:
TARGET DOLLAR SPOT (99 cent store, Dollar Tree, etc..)- Okay, most of us know to check there regularly. If you don't, I can not stress to you enough to check it out! The cue little felt book in the picture is from the dollar spot at Target. I also found the cute bunny wand (it lights up like a strobe light and my kiddos with sensory needs will LOVE IT) there too! I have found a lot of my sensory toys in this section along with some goodies for my speech organization needs.
GOODWILL- I go there so often that my daughter asks to go with me all of the time! I have found two Cariboo games there, Zingo game, and an Operation Brain Surgery Game. In fact, I have found a lot of my games there. Just be sure to open and make sure the pieces are all there. Sometimes they are not. Also, if you go and you do not find anything of interest just try again a different day or at a different location. When I was looking for my first Cariboo game it took me 6 months! I had a routine where I went to three different Goodwill locations every weekend during that time. However, once I found the first, I found a second one two weeks later (I gave that second one to my CFY at the time). You can also find cute books there!
SAVERS- Do you know Savers? Do you have one where you live? Savers is similar to a cross between a thrift store and a dollar store. I have found a few good toys for therapy there. Especially little bags of manipulatives. However, the best find I have found at Savers were the storybooks for therapy. It takes a while to sift through all of the shelves of books but I found it was well worth my time!
THRIFT STORES- I do not stop at Goodwill alone. If I drive by a thrift store I will STOP. It never hurts to look and I found my third Cariboo game at a small Christian organization thrift store. It cost a little more than at Goodwill but it was still significantly less than online. Also, it went to a good cause so it was a WIN-WIN!
CRAIGSLIST- This one I say to proceed with caution. The good news is that you can see pictures of items that people have. The bad news is that you just need to be safe about the deal that you make. Have them bring the item outside, do not go alone if you can help it, and just be cautious. I guess, I'm not a trusting person. I put ads on Craigslist also but I always make sure that my husband is around when I plan to meet up and I always go outside to the person who comes over.
FACEBOOK- Yes, you read that right. Did you know there are a lot of Facebook groups featuring swap meets, personal garage sales, and items that people are simply putting up for sale. I find many teachers and fellow SLPS put their stuff up on Facebook. I've been tempted but sometimes it just takes too long to clean the closet if I did it personally. You can find some wonderful sales that way though! Look up groups and pages within your area that also have the keywords: Donate, Sell, Swap, Garage Sale. Just use caution when meeting up via Facebook too.
YARD/GARAGE SALES- In the day, I was a yard sale weekender. Not so much now that I have a little I have to get from point A to B to C. However, as I chauffeur her around and see yard sales in the neighborhoods, I will pull over to check it out or drive slowly to look (as long as it is safe to do so). My neighbor is notorious for having a yard sale every weekend. They also have several kids so the kid stuff is always out. How is that for door to door service. I do LOVE that!
PARENTS & COLLEAGES- When I say parents, I mean our student's parents. However, my own mother is a Yard Sale Diva and has called me on several occasions to see if I can use a certain item or two for therapy that she finds at yard sales. I have also been fortunate to have parents donate toys and games to me. After explaining to colleagues how I incorporate them, I have had colleagues donate too! Plus, if you are a parent yourself, be sure to save those certain items that you think could be helpful in therapy. I do not personally go about asking my parents or colleagues for donations but at times it has come up such as when they are moving or talking about donating books and toys to goodwill that their child no longer uses. I will bring it up then and inform them nicely that I appreciate any donations they may have that I might be able to use for therapy.
Why spend so much on new items when you can find great treasures given a little time in a search? Do you know of another great resource to find treasures? I'd love to hear where else you have found great finds for speech!