Believe it or not, my preschool supply list does include more than books. We’ve gradually built a preschool tool kit filled with supplies designed to build motor skills and reinforce letters, numbers, shapes, and colors. I’ve compiled a list of our favorite items which I hope will help you build your own preschool tool kit.
As you read this list, keep in mind that every child is different. While my preschooler loves the following items, your preschooler is different from mine, and therefore your tool kit will look different from mine. Use my list as a starting point and then curate your supplies around your child’s interests.
- Construction paper – My preschooler loves to draw, paint, and color, so we have stacks of paper and coloring books for her. We keep a big tin filled with crayons and keep lots of stickers on hand for all her art projects.
- Washable paint – We go through a lot of paint around here. My preschooler loves to paint pictures, rocks, leaves, pinecones, and really, anything she can find. Hardly a week goes by without her painting something. I upgraded her to large paint bottles for the fall, since she goes through it so quickly.
- Chalk – Just like paint, my preschooler really enjoys chalk. Last fall, I scored a huge bucket of chalk on clearance at Target. Since stores are putting summer inventory on clearance to make room for fall items, start checking the summer supplies in search of great deals.
- Post-it Notes – In our Busy Toddler preschool curriculum from last year, we used post-it notes to go on “letter hunts.” My preschooler loved this concept so much that she will regularly bring me post-it notes and ask to go on letter hunts. Using a Sharpie, I write upper and lowercase letters on each post-it note and hide them around the house. Then, she has to find and identify the letters.
- Flashlight – Busy Toddler also introduced us to letter hunts with a flashlight. We search for specific letters as we look through books and pantry items. When my preschooler finds the letter, she shines her flashlight on it. It turns letter identification into a game, rather than a chore.
- Scissors – Working with scissors teaches hand-eye coordination, strengthens hands and fingers, and teaches fine motor skills. It also prepares kids for handwriting. We use these safety scissors.
- Outdoor Toys – My daughter loves her butterfly net, bug house, and magnifying glass. She also loves this microscope for investigating her outdoor discoveries up close. These garden tools are a great way to have small children help with yard work.
- Pom pom balls – We use pom pom balls for counting and sorting activities. They double as fun arts and crafts projects too.
- Kindergarten Toolkit Flashcards – I don’t give my preschooler flash card quizzes, but we do use the Kindergarten Toolkit Flashcards to practice letter, number, and shape recognition. I turn it into a matching game (“Match the lowercase letter magnet to the big letter flashcard!”). We also use alphabet beanbags to match to the corresponding flashcards. After I arrange letter flashcards on the floor, my preschooler throws the bean bag letter onto the matching flashcard. We do counting activities with the number flashcards (“Let’s count out 6 pom poms and put them on the flashcard with the number 6!”).
- Melissa & Doug Water Wow! Activity Pad – The Water Wow! activity pads are one of my preschooler’s favorite activities. They are especially helpful for keeping her occupied during long car rides.
- Play-Doh – We always have Play-Doh on hand. We also love Play-Doh toys for cutting out shapes and making the Play-Doh fun last even longer.
- Games & Puzzles – The older my preschooler becomes, the more she loves games and puzzles. Board games are a great tool for teaching kids to take turns, follow rules, and become good winners and losers. Puzzles reinforce hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and problem-solving skills. So far, we’ve enjoyed traditional games like Old Maid and Slapjack, but our favorites are Candyland, The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game!, and Go Find It, an outdoor nature scavenger hunt.
A note about storing these supplies: I use the Montessori method of keeping most of our supplies within my preschooler’s reach. She must ask for permission to play with something, but she can take ownership of it by getting it out, setting it up, and putting it away by herself (with supervision, of course!).
I love empowering her to do things herself, rather than having her wait on me to reach something from a high shelf and set it up for her. While I am the gatekeeper of her environment and the types of toys she plays with, I give her freedom to make choices
about what she wants to play with and the ability to independently set it up.
What are your favorite supplies in your child’s preschool tool kit?
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