As an educator, learning is a major priority to me, and I am a believer in putting your money where your heart is. I have been known to spend way more than I should have picking up school supplies for home and my classroom. It was to the point my husband was more afraid of the office supply aisle than of the shoe department! However, I have learned over the past few years how easily entertained little kids are and how unimpressed they are with name brand stuff. If you don’t point it out, they just don’t notice. So most of my craft-tivity supplies come from my favorite store: Dollar Tree. Of course, you have to watch yourself. Not everything is cheaper there, and sometimes the quality, or lack thereof, deducts from the value of a dollar item. I have compiled a list of my favorite supplies to keep on hand that are easily found at most dollar stores.
- Pipe cleaners
- Construction paper
- Posterboard (2/$1)
- Glue (bottle kind or real Elmer’s sticks, the store brand glue sticks just don’t cut it)
- Safety scissors
- Small laundry baskets and other storage bins
- Foam balls (footballs, kickballs, etc.)
- Hot glue sticks
- Glitter glue
- Small toys like bugs, snakes, cars, army guys, etc.
- Flimsy paper plates
- Craft cording (I find elastic to be most useful)
- Zip top baggies
That’s a lot, and I know that not everyone will keep all of those things on hand all the time, but I’m a crafty person so I love having them all stashed away in my craft closet. I got such joy from sorting and organizing everything 🙂 One day I’ll take some pictures of my closet to share, but right now the little boy is sleeping and I wouldn’t risk waking him for much of anything!
I would also recommend looking through all of the cute classroom decoration stuff on your shopping ventures. I picked up a really cute alphabet chart that I can’t wait to hang up once I figure out where our school center will be. I also like to use the myriad of different flashcards that are available for colors, numbers, letters, and the like. Punky isn’t much for classic “school” stuff like flashcards, but we like to lay them all out on the floor and play matching and memory games or a seek and find type game. There are often a number of other little things around the store that seem pointless but I get some good use out of, like large plastic tweezers or even the little plastic serving tongs in the party section. The plastic tablecloths are very inexpensive but make a great place to play with messy stuff without the big cleanup.
So basically….buy all the things!! No, not really. But there are a lot of good finds at the dollar store that will make the little lessons so much fun, and if you have the materials on hand already, you’re a lot more likely to actually do them. Start small if you want, just pipe cleaners, pompoms, and tongs. Those three alone can give your kiddos lots of independent play developing fine motor skills so you can have your cup of coffee while it’s still hot!
Anything I missed on the list? Leave me a comment below. Can’t wait to hear from you!