Inexpensive Preschool Supplies

If you have young children you will need some preschool supplies. You should have items for crafts, developing muscles, and learning. Don’t worry the items do not cost a lot. You probably already have some items around your house that you can use. Other items can be bought inexpensively from either department or dollar stores.

What you provide for your young child will depend on your family’s interests. Here are some items that I used when my children were preschoolers.


You don’t need to buy a lot of curriculum to teach preschool. You can find a lot of free materials at your local library and on the internet. I had a children’s Bible, some craft books, and idea books on how to teach different themes.

I do feel that it is important for your child to have some books that he can own. We saved money by asking relatives to give books to our children.

I also had magnetic letters and numbers.

It is also important to have plenty of items to sort and count. We had;

  • Buttons
  • Plastic bread ties
  • Bottle caps,
  • Small plastic toys
supplies for teaching preschool at home

Art and Craft Supplies

When my children were in preschool we did a lot of crafts. Art and crafts can help develop your child’s fine motor skills.

Today a great place to find preschool craft ideas is on Pinterest. You can also find ideas on other sites. I used craft books from the library.

Here is a list of general art and craft supplies that you will need;

  • Fat colored pencils
  • Washable markers
  • Fat crayons

The larger sized pencils and markers were easier for my child to hold. Also chunky crayons did not break as easily as the regular size.

  • Drawing paper
  • Colored construction paper
  • Coloring books or sheets from the internet
  • Children’s scissors that actually cut
  • Glue sticks

 If you get glue sticks that have purple glue your child can see where he has put the glue.

  • White glue
  • Water color paint

You can save money by buying these preschool supplies during back to school sales.

Other Craft Items

I liked to buy lunch sized bags. The bags were good for making hand puppets. To make puppets glue two wiggly eyes above the fold. Add yarn for the hair. The fold is the mouth.

I love craft foam. A lot of simple gifts can be made out of craft foam. We have made picture frames, door hangers, and Christmas ornaments. Some of the foam is already cut into shapes and has a sticky back. You can also use the foam to make lacing cards. To make a lacing card cut out a simple shape. Then on the outside punch holes for the yarn to go through.

There are quite a few household items that you can use for crafts. I kept a box of recycled items that I used for preschool.

What you save and have on hand will be determined by your creativity and what you use. Here are some of the items that I have used in the past;

  • Oatmeal boxes are good for making drums.
  • Cereal boxes are a good source of light weight cardboard. You could make stencils by cutting out shapes in the cardboard.
  • Jell-O boxes or other small boxes can be used to make cars. Paint the box. Then add four bottle caps or buttons for wheels.
  • Yarn can be used to make hair for puppets.
  • Egg cartons can be used to make caterpillars.

You might also want to collect;

  • Miss matched socks
  • Paper plates
  • Paper cups
  • Magazines
  • Cotton balls
  • Stickers
  • Ribbons
  • Fabric scraps
  • Greeting cards
  • Tissue paper
  • Wrapping paper
  • Craft sticks (popsicle sticks)
  • Felt
  • Finger paint

Sensory Supplies

A lot of young children learn about their world through the sense of touch. You can set up a sand or rice table. In the rice hide plastic jewels or small erasers. Your child can use his hand or a small plastic shovel to find the items.

Play dough helps children develop hand muscles.

Another substance that is fun for children to play with is bubbles.

I usually made play dough and bubbles for my children. Look below for the recipes that I used.

Playing with water is also fun for young children. Provide your child with different sized containers, a turkey baster, a medical dropper, and plastic tubing.

Homeschool Recipes

Play Dough

This is my favorite recipe for play dough. Use cookie cutters to help make shapes.
1 /2 cup cornstarch
1 cup salt
3 /4 cup water
Food coloring
Mix cornstarch and salt. Gradually add water. Cook over low heat until stiff like mashed potatoes. Add food coloring. Let the mixture cool.

Finger Paint

I made this recipe a couple of times. It calls for soap fakes which my stores no longer carry. You can make your own soap flakes by grating a bar of soap.
1 /2 cup liquid starch
1 /2 cup soap flakes
5 /8 cup water (it help to dissolve the soap if the water is hot)
Mix together and add food coloring or tempera paint. An old shirt makes a good cover up.


2 cups water
1/ 4 cup joy dish washing soap
2 tablespoons corn syrup
Mix the ingredients together. Use straws or handmade bubble wands. We made wands out of chenille stems. Bend one chenille wire into a circle add another stem for the handle. I also saw online where some moms used fly swatters.

Dramatic Play

Preschoolers need to be able to play and imagine. I had on hand plenty of toys and other preschool supplies that helped my children develop their imagination. Here are some items that I gave my children to play with;

  • Old shoes and clothes
  • Boxes
  • Dolls
  • Plastic bugs, dinosaurs, or horses
  • Plastic food
  • Cars
  • Trucks
  • Digging toys
  • Building toys such as Duplos, blocks, or Lincoln logs
  • A kitchen or workbench -- I got a nice kitchen from a garage sale.

Preschool Supplies for Fitness

Besides developing fine motor skills young children need to develop large muscles and eye hand coordination. To develop muscles we should allow our children to go out and play. They should be able to run, jump, and skip.

One way we developed hand eye coordination was by playing catch with balls. We started out with large size balls.

We also provided our children with a jump rope and a tricycle. 

Another item that can help children develop muscle tone is a swing set with a jungle Jim. You do not need to buy one if there is a neighborhood park.

This by no means is an exhaustive list of preschool supplies. Some families will provide more items. You can even get by with less.

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