Since I transitioned to staying home and building a business writing curriculum, my teaching bug has been itching. I LOVE being in the classroom and teaching little learners. Substituting is one good way to get my teaching in, but now that my youngest is almost 3, we’re getting into a nice home preschool routine. I’m working to do this in a manageable and well rounded way, and I kept thinking that I just need to share what I can about this experience with you. One of the things I’ve been thinking about is the way that it can feel super overwhelming to have the responsibilities of a home and trying to plan activities. There are a few supplies that we like to use again and again that are our reach for supplies. They are versatile and they are definitely worth keeping in stock in your “home inventory.”
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Otherwise known as pipe cleaners, these are great for tons of activities. They can be used to form into shapes, letters, numbers, for beading, and in sensory tables. We love to use them when we read and talk about caterpillars. They also make great arms and mouths glued to some of our favorite paper plate crafts.
We love having a number of different types of beads at home. Whenever you’re using small objects like these, be sure to supervise and take caution when it comes to choking hazard and size. We have used lacing beads, pony beads, and alphabet beads at home to practice those fine motor skills.
If you’re looking for a super versatile supply, grab yourself some pattern blocks. They can be used for building flat or 3d. They can be used to practice and sort shapes and colors, and can also be used to make designs on mats that are readily available online on sites such as teacherspayteachers.
Different colors of cardstock are a must have! I love to print on colorful cardstock instead of using colored ink when I can. Cardstock works better for painting projects, glueing pieces down, making cards for lacing, or any project you’d like to be sturdier.
I love to use pom poms as counters, for sorting colors, for ordering or sorting by size, with tongs or clothespins as a fine motor activity, and as eyes and noses on art projects.
I use my home laminator with pouches ever single week. The great thing is that they aren’t too expensive and they help the stuff I use hold up, so I don’t have to keep printing again and again. Anytime I want to attach magnets to the back of something like story pieces, or when I have any sort of interactive readers I’m printing to use, I laminate so the pieces will last a long time. These are also great to make wipe off mats for practicing tracing, letter and number writing etc. I find that they work best with vis a vis markers, rather than dry erase personally. The vis a vis aren’t washable, so definitely be careful about that!
These sticky magnetic strips are my favorite. I have also used the sticky buttons, but the size and shape make me more nervous for a little one to use independently. I use magnets along with either a magnetic cookie sheet, or our white board.
I love using these because they allow for flexible activities. I especially use them when I put my interactive readers together because the pieces can be taken off and then attached again and again.
Paint is definitely a child favorite and having a basic set of paints with different colors can help you to have paint at your fingertips whether you’re doing just free choice painting or a certain project.
Cotton balls are like pom poms. They work well as counters , for all things hair/ beard, snow and fur. They are also great for counting and fine motor activities. They are also great for using as a paintbrush when pinched with a clothespin! (Now that’s easy clean up!)
I love using clothespins to display art work, as the handle of my favorite kind of paintbrush, or for fine motor activities like clip cards.
Watercolors are a relatively low mess activity for children to do! If you use crayons first and then watercolor over, it’s magic magic magic!
Whether you decide to make your own play dough (my favorite recipe is here) or buy it, play dough is great for fine motor practice and creative play.
We like having several sizes of uncoated white paper plates. They are great for any sort of face (animal or person) project, sorting, or even for paint trays. We keep these handy at all times!
Ok this is a bonus one and I have mostly added it because my kids (all three of them!) regularly get wrapped up in playing with it for hours and hours. It’s great for sensory play, fine motor activities, and more. Just add gems, beads, or whatever other treasures you’d like them to dig for!
I’ll come back and update as we find ourselves using things we just can’t live without, but please feel free to share your favorites below too!