Letter Unit Activities · Uncategorized

Preschool Supplies & Resources by Learning Category

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Another Supply List??

Up until now I have resisted putting up a supply list on my blog because I did not think it would be helpful to re-invent the wheel. There are a ton of great preschool supply lists out there already — I personally started with The Peaceful Preschool supply list since that was the curriculum we used and will be repeating again.

However, here’s what I have to offer that might be a unique perspective:

  1. We live in a small house and do not have much storage space so I try to keep the supplies to a minimum,
  2. I prefer nature-based materials because they cost no money, have added sensory benefits, and do not harm the earth when disposed of, and
  3. I’ve done a whole year with The Peaceful Preschool and now that I know what we really need and actually gets use, I wish there were some things that I had not bought so I have noted those things below.

I plan to share my supply list based on must-have essentials, nice-to-have items, and, lastly, things I wish I would have skipped buying.

Note, though, that even the “must-haves” on my lists are my based on my preference and what fits with our preschool curriculum. Feel free to disagree with me!

Each supply list also includes some additional resources like free printables that I’ve found useful over the last year.

The Categories

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Click on a link below to jump to a specific category of supplies & resources:

Lesson Preparation

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Must-haves:
  • Paper
  • Pens, Pencils, Highlighters
  • Scissors

Seriously. If you are on a tight budget, I think you can totally get by not having a printer & laminator & paper cutter!! You could have The Homeschool Printing Company print your curriculum and any worksheets, and not do any weekly printing from home. This is preschool, not college! Granted, this works for a non-worksheet-intensive curriculum like The Peaceful Preschool. There are other curriculums out there that require A LOT of printouts, in which case you probably are better off owning one!

Nice-to-have:

The printer I purchased also has a scanner which I use on a weekly basis to keep digital files of all my children’s artwork.

I resisted buying a paper cutter at first but when I finally got one it was SO much better. Such a time-saver for cutting 3-Part Cards especially. I do think if you are not using a lot of printables you could skip all this stuff, though. I have had the one linked for over a year and have not needed to replace the blade yet.

Then there’s the regular office stuff like scissors, paper, hole punch, etc. that you likely already have.

Lesser-used but still nice to have:

The corner rounder cuts through laminated card stock. I love that thing so much.

I use binder rings to hold A-Z memory verses and other flash cards together.

The circle hole punches I have used for materials preparation but the kids also use them for arts & craft projects.

Read Alouds

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See this blog post for all the resources I use to select Preschool books.

Letter Formation & Phonics

Must-haves:
Nice-to-have:
What I bought but wish I hadn’t:

* The Peaceful Preschool has you make your own DIY sensory letters using their printouts and glitter glue. These are redundant since we have the sandpaper letters listed above. My kids also had a hard time using the glitter glue tubes without frustration. AND, I’ve read that glitter has a negative impact on the environment so have tried to stay away from it.

** We bought this book and my son enjoyed it to a degree. He liked the stickers, but really I did not feel it was worth the money, in the end, because we already did enough letter-learning activities and I felt that this book was not adding anything of value. 

Other Letter Learning Supplies: Printables & Resources

Numbers & Counting

Must-haves:
  • Sandpaper numbers
  • The Peaceful Preschool number cards (with purchased curriculum)
  • The Peaceful Preschool hundreds chart (with purchased curriculum)
  • Manipulatives for counting. Here are some options:
    • Natural materials: acorns, sticks, cut wood discs, rocks, shells
    • Beads, marbles, popsicle sticks, buttons, pom poms
  • Trays / compartments for counting (you can even write numbers in these):
    • Egg cartons
    • Muffin tins
    • Ice cube trays

Note: Preschool Math is a category where I feel like it is easy to get creative, see what is already in your house, or explore a thrift store. In my opinion, there is very little spending that needs to be done here for preschool. Recycle your egg cartons or thrift some trays and tins!

Also, I feel a lot of counting for this age can be done simply by reading books and through the regular day-in day-out play. If I do a pre-planned math activity, I try to keep it playful.

Nice-to-have:
Other Supplies: Printables & Resources

Fine Motor Skills

Must-haves:
Nice-to-have:

Again, a lot of things here can be found around your house or thrifted!

Sensory Play

Generally I prefer the great outdoors for this type of play: playing in dirt or mud or water. But, we have winters and rainy days in Indiana and it’s nice to have a few fun options for indoor sensory play:

What I bought but wish I hadn’t:
  • Water Beads (I just don’t care for the waste and environmental impact of these)

Large Motor Skills

Practical Life

For us, this mainly means including my children in our regular daily rhythm.

We have daily chore tasks which I discussed on our Daily Rhythm blog post.

We try to give the kids independence in self-care as appropriate.

Here are a few things I have found useful to have around:

Arts & Crafts

This category can get CRAZY real fast. My main recommendation for those first starting out: do not feel like you need EVERY SINGLE art supply available to your children right off the bat! Pick just a couple, see how they like it, and as budget allows try to slowly incorporate some others. We have a wide variety of supplies right now but my children love crayons and watercolor the most. If I was on a super tight budget I would start with those. I’m putting a wide variety in my “must-haves” list but know I do not think you need ALL of these things.

Must-haves:
Nice-to-have:
What I bought but wish I hadn’t:
  • Glitter
  • Sequins
Seen on other lists I’ve never bought:
  • Contact paper

Color Recognition

For color sorting there are a lot of cheap and DIY options:

  • I hand-painted our wood jewelry sorting tray (with 12 spots), and we use this a lot.
  • You could also make your own version of something like this using an old cupcake tin & construction paper.
  • We have also used our colored bowls from IKEA or I just make something simple with construction paper.
  • You could also make something simple out of felt if you are that kind of crafty.

I also love Grimm’s rainbow peg dolls that could double as a toy and used for color sorting preschool activities.

Lastly, I love these FREE Color Nomenclature Cards to introduce color names.

Shapes Recognition

I mainly use this shape sorting printable set I created to go along with our Melissa and Doug Wood Shape Sorter — we had the shape sorter already so I went with that. You can find the free printable on this page.

I also love these free shape flashcards from tinyn3rds.

Outdoor Play & Nature Study

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See the following blog posts for more detailed information for this category:

Here is what I use for a nature journal for my kids:

Geography & Culture

See this blog post on our Preschool Cultural Studies supplies.

Art & Music Appreciation

Bible & Spirituality

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See this blog post on our Bible Lesson supplies and units.

Games & Puzzles

Do not underestimate the value of games & puzzles! I think this doesn’t get labelled as “school” but for preschool-aged: it totally counts.

Here are some favorite games:

And some favorite puzzles:

Calendar & Clock

We update our hanging wall calendar. You can also make a free version of a perpetual calendar using The Peaceful Press Calendar Bundle or find a different version.

At the beginning of a new month we read a monthly from Around The Year (Elsa Beskow). There is also a days of the week poem in here that’s fun.

There are clocks that can be purchased but I felt at this point for preschool-age I just wanted something simple that my son could manipulate so I made one using a wood circle and numbered rocks, with two sticks for hands.

What I Wish I Would Have Thought About Last Year Before Stocking Up On Supplies

Lessons I’ve learned after doing through preschool at home for one year:

  1. Use natural materials whenever possible! Sensorial experience with natural materials is a huge bonus, PLUS items from nature don’t cost anything and don’t create excess trash in landfills. Hooray!
  2. Thrift it. Pretty much all of my baskets and trays came from a thrift store. If it’s thrifted, then you don’t have to get mad if it gets ruined.
  3. Find things around your house before you purchase something new and cool. Seriously, you probably have a drawer of random buttons somewhere that can be used for math or sorting or even letter formation.
  4. Think of ways to use materials in multiple ways. For example, wood beads with holes can be (1) laced as a fine motor skill, (2) used for a transfer tray, (3) counted up for simple math lessons, (4) added to play dough for some letter formation fun, or (5) used for arts and crafts. You do not need marbles AND beads AND pom poms AND buttons. Pick one. Simplify.
  5. Printables that make for good Instagram photos are not always worth it. Save that printer ink!! Seriously, the more I do this the more grumpy I get about printables with full-color pages.
  6. If you are going to print something that takes a lot of ink (like 3-Part Cards), make sure you get a lot of use out of them! We use our 3-Part Cards every week in multiple ways, and I have seen so much wonderful learning happening with their use. Also, I save my 3-Part Cards for repeat lessons since we are going through the alphabet A-Z all over again.
  7. Before you buy something, try to plan in your mind exactly where you will store it. If you don’t have a great option for storing it, try to skip buying it.
  8. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Most of my kid’s art projects I later turn in to scissor cutting exercises, so we get 2 uses out of the paper … and then we recycle the cut up pieces if we are able.

CONGRATS on Your Homeschooling Journey!

If you have questions, please feel free to email me our DM me on Instagram.

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