Being Confident of This

Grace for the work-in-progress woman

Dollar Store Deals for Preschool Days {and toddlers, too!}

If you read this blog often or know me personally, you probably know that I love a good bargain!  Not only do I enjoy being a good steward of the finances entrusted to us, but I also really enjoy helping others save money, too.  So, as a follow-up to Free Resources for Teaching Pre-K at Home, I thought I would share with you all of the deals we have found at the dollar store that we currently use in our homeschool preschool.

Here’s a great big list of our favorite dollar store deals, as well as  ideas on how to use them for toddlers and preschoolers, whether you are homeschooling or just want some fun early childhood learning activities to keep the kids occupied. 🙂

dollar store deals for homeschooling, preschool, toddlers, crafts, learning

 

 

 

~ Learning Tools ~

 

Workbooks – If you get lucky, you might find preschool and toddler workbooks in the book section of your local dollar store.  Just in case you haven’t seen it yet, use this mom’s idea of putting worksheets into protective sleeves and use dry erase markers so that they can be used multiple times – genius! 🙂

Dry-erase workbooks (Shapes & Colors and Numbers) – I love that we can use the dry-erase workbooks pictured below these over and over again. What a deal for only a dollar!

dollar store deals, learning tools, homeschool, preschool, toddler, workbooks, puzzles

Dry-erase writing practice board – We found one of these several years ago at a dollar store.  It looks like a sheet of handwriting practice paper but is made of dry-erase board material.

Sidewalk Chalk – You can buy a whole box of sidewalk chalk for a dollar and use it for all sorts of learning fun.  Here are some ideas to choose from:

Shape Hop which could also become number hop, alphabet hop, color hop – you get the point. 🙂

Alphabet Squirt

Foam puzzles  – Our son is more of a musical and tactile learner, from what I’ve observed so far.  So these foam puzzles for letters and numbers are a great dollar deal for him!  Our daughter really enjoys them, too, and she has learned several letters on her own just from playing with them.

Small board books – I always look for these dollar store deals.  Sometimes I give them as gifts, but often I find books that help teach early childhood concepts such as shapes, colors, letters, numbers, and so forth.  We also enjoy any books including nursery rhymes since rhyming is an important reading skill and bible stories, which seem to be easy to come by at our local dollar store.

Flash Cards – We play fun games with these alphabet flashcards and colors & shapes flashcards.  Sometimes we play Go-fish with them (you will need more than one set of alphabet).  We also play a game where they get to run to me from across the room and get the card after they recognize it (and then I ask them to recognize it again when we put them all away).  We play jump on the correct flashcard, run to the correct card, and even swat the card, a modification of this mom’s idea (which is by far our son’s favorite!).

dollar store deals flashcards, cheap homeschool learning tools, frugal homeschooling

Fake money – This is on our list of things to buy.  Our kids love counting money, and at the same time they begin to learn the names of the coins!

Magnetic letters –  Our daughter is really catching on to phonics lately, so the magnetic letters are great for showing her how to build words!  You don’t even have to use them on the fridge -if the homeschool area in your home lacks a magnetic surface, just grab a cookie sheet. 🙂  Use for letter recognition, letter matching, and word-building.

 

 

~ Basic Craft Supplies ~

Pipe Cleaners – Aside from everyday bendy fun, they can be used for color sorting, patterning, bending into shapes, numbers, or letters, and other various craft projects.  I created some pipe cleaner letters (both uppercase and lower) for our tactile learner that we use for matching games or letter hide-n-seek, which works really well for twins.  Just make sure the hiding spot isn’t too difficult!  Your children might also enjoy these pipe cleaner activities:

Pipe Cleaner Counting Beads

dollar store deals for homeschooling, craft supplies, frugal homeschool, cheap

Pom-poms – We love pom-poms!  They can be used for color sorting, patterning, size sorting, counting, and many other crafts.  Try an activity like this one:

Pom Pom Counting

Colored wooden craft sticks (popsicle sticks) – If you get lucky, you might find these colored craft sticks at your dollar store.  We use ours for color sorting using these color mats, counting, patterning, creating shapes or letters, etc.

Colored card-stock/index cards – I bought some colored card-stock and a pack of index cards at the beginning of our preschool adventure, and I’ve used almost all of the index cards already.  I use them for all sorts of things, but mainly for creating my own flashcard sets like the one found here or counting cards like these. I like mounting the index cards to cardstock to add a little color around the edge and to give them more stability.

Foam Shapes – Usually you can find some sort of foam shapes in the craft or learning section of the dollar store, as well.  We found some great primary colored circles to use for sorting, counting, patterning, etc.

Small, chubby markers – I love the set we found at our dollar store because they are washable and the size fits our preschoolers’ hands much like the oversize crayons do.  The size makes it easier for toddlers and preschoolers to maintain a correct grasp.

dollar store deals, crayons, markers, homeschool, preschool, toddlers

Miscellaneous – Large crayons, construction paper, hole punch,scissors, glue sticks, paints,dry erase markers, and more can all be found at the dollar store.  The only reason I mention them is that they often cost more at other stores than at your local dollar store (unless it is back-to-school season).

 

 

 

~ Fun Stuff ~

Small party favors – I found some tiny cars for our son and some pretty beads for our daughter, but any small objects will do (just be aware of choking hazards!).  Use them with your counting cards, mentioned above.  The next time we go to the dollar store, I hope to find some bugs and a few other small things. These dollar store deals are great for counting fun, beginning math, sorting fun, and more!

Marbles – Marbles provide sensory fun for kids of all ages, but for our home preschool we mainly use them for counting.

dollar store deals, seasonal items, cheap homeschool supplies,  early childhood education

Seasonal items – We’ve found lots of seasonal foam stickers such as the fall leaves pictured above.  They can be used for sorting, matching, counting, etc.  Our preschoolers also really love any learning activity that involves Easter eggs, for some reason.  Here are a few from pinterest that you might try for learning at home:

10 Easter Egg Numbers and Letters Games

Easter Egg ABC Match-up

Easter Egg Sight Words and more

Bingo Markers – We use these for do-a-dot sheets like the ones found here or for creating our own patterns.

Playdoh – Playdoh is amazing for building those fine motor skills and (bonus!) it’s just a lot of fun to play with! Use a variety of colors for homeschooling by creating letters with these playdoh mats or shapes with these playdoh mats.  Or take a step back from directed instruction to allow for some free play time.

Straws – They are so versatile for early childhood education (and beyond)!  We use ours to compares sizes (bigger than, smaller than), to form letters and shapes, to count, to create patterns, and so forth.  You can even cut them to short lengths and string them on yarn for fine-motor skill fun.

Stickers – Put them on letters, use them for matching games or counting games.

Stamp sets

Clothespins – Use them for all sorts of toddler or preschool learning fun.  Try any of these ideas from pinterest:

Clothespin Color Match

Clothespin Counting

dollar store deals, cheap homeschool supplies, early childhood education, preschool, toddler

 

 

To be honest, most of our preschool/homeschool supplies have come from the dollar store since we are trying to homeschool as frugally as possible.  I’m thankful God has provided for us this year as we teach our twins preschoool at home.

If you have any other great dollar store finds for early childhood education or homeschooling, leave a comment and let us know!

Jen 🙂

Sharing with: Serenity Now, Wholehearted Home

You may also find me linking up at any of these lovely places.

 

Advertisements
16 Comments »

Hands-on Color Activities

mama mondays2

As promised in last week’s Mama Mondays post on Pre-K resources for homeschooling, I have some color learning activities to share with you today. 🙂  I did not spend a penny on creating these activities and probably only spent an hour or two of my time.  Unfortunately, the laminating machine and I did not get along at first, so it took a little longer.  If you do not have access to a laminating machine (I used our church’s), check with a local church or library.  And learn from my mistakes – practice on some scrap paper first.  Also, you might consider using clear contact paper as an alternative.

Here are the color learning activities we made this week:

Color Go-Fish

On pinterest, I saw an idea for cutting activities using paint chips from the store, similar to this color matching activity. So, the next time my husband went to the hardware store, I asked him to pick some up. Instead of the variegated kind, he brought home solid colors, but he did remember to get several of each.  Since they weren’t the kind I wanted for cutting practice, I decided to make a Color Go-fish game out of them.  The samples themselves were pretty flimsy, so we glued them onto card-stock.  If you don’t have card-stock on hand, try using index cards.  The twins were happy to practice using their glue-sticks, and I was glad for an adhesive that dries quickly. If you don’t plan to laminate them, I would use a better adhesive, though.

paint chips for Go-Fish color edition

I was already planning on doing some laminating, so I decided to laminate them as well.  Now they’re practically indestructible, which is good for our son. 🙂  Our daughter picked up on this color learning game rather quickly, but our son is still learning the rules and the right questions to ask.  They both really enjoyed it, though, and have asked to play again since the first time we played.  Color Go-Fish is a really fun, hands-on way to learn colors, and we’ll probably use it for shapes, numbers, and letters as soon as I can make up more cards.

Color/Shape Hop

Our son lacks interest for much table work, so I’ve been searching for some more active ways to practice shapes and colors.  One neat idea I found on pinterest  was to use masking tape to make shapes on the floor.  However, since I want to work on colors, as well, I decided to cut out large shapes from colored card-stock and laminate them.   Then, we put them out on the floor and say, “Hop on red!”  or if  you want to include the shape as well, you could say, “Hop on the red heart!”  Since we have two preschoolers, I’ll probably give each child his or her own turn so that they don’t fight over the shapes.  Once we practice colors, then we use the same activity to practice shapes.

Color Sorting Mats

My husband picked up enough paint chips that I had extras once I made the Color Go-Fish game.  I decided to laminate the extra set and use them for color sorting.  At the moment, all we had to sort were some colored pom-poms and some beads, so I had our second-grader use one of my scrap-booking paper punches to punch out stars from the leftover shape paper scraps.  He had a lot of fun using the punch and now I have stars for our preschoolers to color sort, as well!

Color Go-Fish

I also plan to use our Hi-Ho Cherry-O game for some color sorting.  Our twins love to play with the game pieces, so I figure it’s the perfect opportunity for some hands-on learning.  We’ll probably practice counting while we’re at it, too. 🙂

For more ideas on Color learning activities:

http://www.childcareland.com/teach10.html

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/59532026297549568/

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/59532026297549599/

Last week we focused on the color green, and this week we plan to focus on the color blue.  For our daughter, who already understands color, I’ll do more patterning activities to give her more of a challenge.

That’s all for this week!

Jen 🙂

You may find me linking up at any of these lovely blogs.

11 Comments »