You’ve got the basics covered.
Glue sticks, pencils, the jumbo pack of crayons. Fingerpaint, smocks, and giant construction paper. But if you’re homeschooling little ones this year, you might find some different types of items turn out to be staple school supplies.
Now that I’m coming into my second year of homeschooling and embracing preschool and 1st grade, I’ve learned that last year’s list could have used a few more items. So here are some of the more non-traditional items on my list – a quick peek might save you some mid-year, non-sale purchases. (some affiliate links)
1. Clothespins & String (Dollar Store)
I’m so amazed at how many clothespins I’ve used over the last year! It’s so easy to pin up some string on a blank wall and then have your kids clip their artwork or special homework to display for the whole family to see. Whether it’s Bible verses we’re memorizing, a particular worksheet that one of my kids totally rocked, or a piece of artwork or craft that needs a special place in the house, young kids love clipping up their work.
- “Feeding” cotton balls to stuffed animals for littlest one’s fine motor skills
- Hanging things up to dry outside
- Make a fishing game to practice letters, numbers, math facts, etc.
- Fun clothespins crafts
- Hanging pictures in wire frames
- Emergency chip-clip
- Weighing down or keeping nursing cover in place while feeding baby
2. Cotton Balls (Walmart)
So far I’m always wanting more cotton balls! There are so many staple crafts you can do with them – of course they make great clouds and snow. They’re fun to paint with and fill stapled cutouts to make stuffed paper art. You can count with them, form letters with them and practice spelling words with them.
Other uses: choose a jar or other see through container to fill up with cotton balls to earn a reward. Children are given a cotton ball for good behavior, doing chores, etc. When the container is full the children get the reward.
3. Beginning Handwriting Paper (Amazon)
My beginning writer is not quite ready for wide-ruled filler paper. I was so happy to find this paper on Amazon. For a giant pack of this paper (500 sheets) this is a great deal and it’s exactly what my first grader needs for all her copy work, handwriting practice and creative writing.
4. Wet Erase Markers (Amazon or Walmart)
By far my favorite school supply! I use wet erase markers for so many things around my homeschool. Anytime you want a temporary label without it smudging, turn to wet erase markers. Here are some examples:
- Labeling files – fill plastic label tabs with the white labels, then write on the outside with wet erase markers
- Writing on reusable worksheets in sheet protectors or plastic worksheet covers – won’t smudge as your child works on them
- Temporarily labeling plastic storage bins, drawers, etc. This way you can be sure you like how they’re organized before you commit to printing fancy labels.
- Labeling mason jars
- Writing love notes to your kids on their bathroom mirror
- Writing on windows and sliding glass doors – tape a worksheet or tracing page on the opposite side of the window and have your child write on the glass as a different place to do work. Dry erase markers work for this as well.
5. Dry Erase Markers – Major Stock Up (Walmart back-to-school sale)
I’ll never forget the day we got our Melissa & Doug Deluxe Standing Easel. The girls began drawing more than they ever had before and their artistic talent just exploded! It’s inevitable, though, that the caps to those pens never ever make it back on. It’s annoying, but it’s a small price to pay for how often my girls will draw on their whiteboard. So when I see major Walmart steals on white board markers in their school supply aisle, I stock up. I put what I think I’ll need in the cart, then buy twice that. Having plenty on hand keeps me calm when I have to throw away dried out markers.
Other uses: Writing love notes on mirrors or daddy’s car windows. Writing on laminated practice sheets for any subject or worksheets slipped into sheet protectors.
Here’s a tip – take a picture of any stellar artwork with your camera phone to avoid any tears when masterpieces get erased!
6. Packing Paper (Dollar Store)
You can buy a roll of brown packing paper at the dollar store and have a ton of fun with it. My personal favorite? Tracing the kids’ bodies and doing a science or art project with the outlines. You can name parts of the body, glue pictures of vital organs where they go, or just have fun adding clothes, hair, and a face.
Other uses: Collaborative murals, drop cloth for art projects, make your own wrapping paper, any large scale artwork.
7. Shower Caddies (Dollar Store)
Ok so I know we’ve all seen a gazillion pictures floating around pinterest of using shower caddies for art buckets, homework stations and all sorts of things. But they really are useful so I make sure I have plenty on hand. Here are my two favorite uses:
- We have one caddy that holds pencils, crayons, markers, glue and scissors. This caddy is put away when the baby is on the prowl and taken down for school work.
- We use a second one to stock with some general craft supplies so when I hear those words “Mom, I want to do a craft” but I don’t have time to whip something up real quick, I can set up the craft caddy and let them get creative.
8. Chalk (Dollar Store)
There’s just something about chalk and a chalkboard. I can’t get enough. I guess it’s the inner kindergarten teacher in me but I just love teaching using a chalkboard. I teach lessons with chalk on my Melissa & Doug Deluxe Standing Easel, let the kids practice their handwriting and spelling on a cookie sheet painted with chalkboard paint, and my pk1kids just love drawing chalk outside. I can draw a giant world map out on the back patio (a very loose rendition of course) and have the kids hop from continent to continent to practice their names. In fact, there are all sorts of lessons you can take outside with some chalk. Here are some ideas:
- Number hop scotch – for counting, skip counting etc.
- Alphabet path – the kids can run along the path, ride bikes, etc., shouting out the letters as they come to them
- Obstacle course with written directions – think, “do 5 jumping jacks then move to station 2”
- Bean bag toss targets
- Structured artwork – draw picture frames and write what they should draw “cat”
- Create parking spaces for bikes and scooters
- Draw a road for the kids to ride their bikes on complete with traffic signs
I hope you found some creative inspiration for your own school supplies. While you’re here, take a moment to look around at the free lessons and printables I have for PK1 kids. Thanks for visiting pk1homeschoolfun.com!
Why not leave a quick comment and let me know you were here? 🙂