Dollar-Store Supplies

How often do you personally purchase supplies for your Mission Friends class? Most teachers purchase supplies out of their own pockets at least once a month, if not more frequently. Armed with a little creativity, you can find a number of reusable supplies at your local dollar store. Here are a few ideas for dollar-store items that I use with my own preschoolers:

Chip-and-dip trays: Sort objects in the compartments. Use to organize art/craft supplies.

Clothespins: Use to pick up and move different objects; or pin cotton balls, bath poofs, or textured fabrics to create painting tools.

Colanders: Create rain with water in sensory bin; or lead younger preschoolers to thread chenille stems through the holes.

Cookie cooling racks: Weave ribbon, crepe paper, chenille stems, and even nature objects through the wires; stack for sorting activities.

Craft sticks: Put hook-and-loop dots on the ends and connect to make shapes, letters, or numbers.

Epsom salts: Place in beach/winter sensory bins instead of sand or play snow; sprinkle on paintings to give them a sparkle.

Hula hoops: Wrap with yarn for giant weaving activities. Place on the floor for music and movement (jump/step from hoop to hoop, or make different motions while staying inside one hoop). Place two overlapping on the floor for making an alike/different chart (Venn diagram).

Ice-cube trays: Sort and match objects using the side-by-side compartments.

Ice-pop freezing trays: Perfect size for organizing crayons by color.

Muffin tin: Sort objects; or place plastic cups in the compartments to create art/craft supply centers.

Place mats: Use in Group Time as seating spaces. Purchase colored place mats and challenge preschoolers to sit on a place mat that matches one of their items of clothing. Protect your tables by giving each preschooler one for messy art or craft projects.

Pom-poms: Fun for color or size sorting, creating patterns, and counting.

Pool noodles: Cut into various lengths to make blocks. Cut in half vertically to make slides for table-tennis balls. Use whole as bats for foam balls.

Pizza pans: Make learning centers with magnetic letters, numbers, and shapes.

Plastic cups: Fun for building and sorting activities, as well as for storage.

Toothbrushes: Create new ways to paint. Useful in the Homeliving area for cleaning/washing activities. (Caution: do not let preschoolers put the brushes in their mouths.)

Vinyl table coverings: Drop cloths for messy art projects or for sand or water play. Drape over chairs for a tent. Place on the floor to create giant murals or collaborative art work.

What are your favorite dollar-store classroom supplies? Email us to share your ideas! 

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