The Supplies You Need for Homeschooling your Preschooler
So you have decided to homeschool your preschooler. Whoo! But now what? Where do you start? There are so many preschool homeschool supplies to choose from, so what do you actually need?
As a kid, I always loved going back-to-school shopping. I loved finding new binders, pencil cases, notebooks and pens of all colors. Who am I kidding? I still love pens of all colors… My mom always had to ask me if I really needed what I picked out. So my goal here is to help you decide what you really need and what you can go without.
I slowly built up my school supply stash over the first 2 years of teaching. It worked okay to get the supplies gradually, but that meant running out to Target or Hobby Lobby on a fairly regular basis.
Now, let’s just get it out there that I *LOVE* Target and Hobby Lobby, but having to go with two small children can make the experience more… challenging.
What Should you Buy?
As you are stocking up, you need to prepare for lesson planning and for implementing the lessons. Easy prep is so important when you are short on time, and having organizational supplies makes a big difference.
In the same way, it is so nice to be preparing a lesson and know that you already have all the craft supplies that you need for homeschooling your 3 year old or your 4 year old! Having these preschool supplies on hand will save you so much time in the long run.
So, instead of finding yourself having to run out to the store on a rainy day with two sick toddlers, just stock up from the comfort of your own home in advance.
Here are the must-have preschool supplies for all your homeschool needs.
Must-Have Supplies for Lesson Planning
Having a printer at home is a must. This keeps me from having to go anywhere when I need to print or make copies. I really like this one because it does a great job of printing on cardstock (another must!) and it has a mobile printing option, which is really nice for when I’m planning and don’t want to move to plug my computer in.
You worked hard to get everything ready for the lesson. Then two minutes after you start, your toddler shoves the cardstock activity piece in his mouth. NOOOO!!!
This is where a laminator comes in handy, even if the piece gets shoved into their mouth it will still be intact, pretty to look at and reusable for the future! Do you have to have one? No-but there are definitely things that are nice to have laminated. Especially resources that you know you’ll want to use in the future.
Using scissors is passable, but having a paper trimmer is definitely waaay easier. When you have preschoolers, you spend a LOT of prep time cutting. You can cut this time in half (see what I did there?) with a paper trimmer. This one is light, slim and easy to store.
Three-Ring Binder or a Planner
Planning out your weeks will become a regular part of your routine, so it is really important to find a way to keep track of all your lesson plans and outings.
I prefer to use a three ring binder and find printables that will fit my schedule and needs for that year.
You can also use a homeschool planner, but there are many pages that I don’t end up using (at least in the early years of homeschooling). So a basic planner might be easier to use since it is more customizable.
If you are planning on homeschooling more than one child and would like to reuse what you plan in the future, you will want to invest in a filing system. This will allow you to store units and lessons in chronological order with everything in its place for the next kiddo.
I like this cabinet because it looks classy and not look like your traditional filing cabinet. But if you don’t have space for a full cabinet, you could use one of these or these.
Hanging File Folders and File Folders
The hanging file folders are obviously a necessity if you have a file cabinet, but file folders are a good idea even if you choose to forgo a filing system. The manila folders can be used for file-folder games and lapbooks. Get a bunch!
A storage cart is so helpful to help organize and hold all the paper clips, pens, papers, sticky notes, stapler, tape, etc. It is so convenient to have all the supplies in one place.
You might be wondering why you need storage bins when you just purchased a storage cart. Great question! You will use these for sensory play. It is nice to have several on hand so that you can alternate what sensory bin your child plays with without having to re-make bins every week.
I mostly use ziplock baggies for organizing things once I cut them. I gravitate toward snack and sandwich sizes, but I also use the gallon size bags for storing larger loose objects when not in use.
Any paper sorts, printable games, or pocket chart activities will last much longer if printed on cardstock, and you will also have the option to laminate them so that they last even longer. I used to buy smaller packs found at Hobby Lobby or Target, but I found that I go through a lot, so I buy larger reams now.
Electric Pencil Sharpener
Go ahead and do yourself a favor-buy one of these. If you have a young toddler who doesn’t use colored pencils much, you are fine without, but once your preschooler is getting more into coloring with pencils, you will definitely want to have an electric pencil sharpener. I like this one because it’s portable and has a safety feature to protect little fingers!
Must-Have Supplies for At-Home Preschool
The chances are HIGH that you will use at least two of these supplies each time you do school with your kids. Some you will use more frequently, like glue sticks, coloring pencils, and construction paper.
Paint is also used frequently. I really like the Melissa and Doug brand because it does not have a toxic smell like a lot of other popular brands. The Melissa and Doug crayons are also great. Instead of having the traditional cylinder shape, they have three distinct sides which helps my 2 year old with the correct grip.
Squeeze glue, pipe cleaners, poms, popsicle sticks, and water colors are also great to have on hand. You won’t use these as often, but enough that it’s worth it to keep some in your closet.
I started my daughter with scissors similar to these. It was a safe choice for her first pair of scissors because they were not very sharp, they had plastic covering around the entire blade, and they included a little lever that helped her open the scissors as she was cutting.
But once she got a little more responsible, I upgraded to these. They are just a bit sharper and you don’t have to hold the paper at the perfect angle for them to cut.
I almost couldn’t believe it, but my 2 year old just sat and cut for over an hour today. An hour of quiet, focused, fine motor development with just scissors and a piece of paper. Amazing!
There are many different kinds of pocket charts that you can choose from. I got really basic ones from the dollar section at Target years ago (similar to this one). They sometimes have them at the beginning of the school year.
The charts that hang are nice because they don’t take up much space and are easy to keep out on display. Having a desktop one would be really nice too since it’s more portable.
Fine Motor Tools
Having tongs, play-dough, clothes pins, and dot-markers on hand, along with the other craft materials mentioned above, makes it really easy to throw together a fine motor activity quickly. Another benefit of having all these items is that you can switch up activities so your child doesn’t get tired of doing the same thing every day.
I use page protectors for any worksheets that I might want to reuse. For example, I put a tracing practice worksheet in a page protector and give my preschooler a dry erase marker to practice her writing.
She loves it, because what kid doesn’t love dry erase markers? And I love it because I don’t have to print the worksheet over and over again. Win! You could go fancy and buy some dry erase pockets, but I decided to save some money and use page protectors that I already had on hand.
So, there you have it-my must-have preschool homeschool supplies for planning and schooling your kiddos! Happy shopping!
And if you need some help getting all these supplies organized, hop on over to my “Organized Homeschool” post!
What are some of your favorite supplies for homeschooling? I am ready to add to my stash, and as I mentioned, I just love school supplies!
Also, if you are trying to make school decisions for your child or you recently decided to keep you kiddo at home for preschool, check out my post on how to get started with homeschooling your preschooler.