If you’re doing Back to School shopping for your older kids, don’t forget the younger ones too! Whether you are doing organized preschool lessons like Letter of the Week lessons, or just want to supplement some fun learning activities, these are the supplies I most often use. To see how I organize the layout of my lessons check out How I Do Letter of the Week Lessons.
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We use these in essentially every lesson and the kids are always excited about them. The thick paint markers are really easy for little hands to maneuver and there are so many great learning activities you can do with them. I have one of the Do a Dot Art coloring books that I make copies of the letter templates out of so they can be used multiple times. But there is also an abundance of free printable worksheets designed for dot markers that you can find all over Pinterest. I use many of the sheets I find online.
My kids have so much fun with kinetic sand! With the consistency of wet sand, it can be formed into different shapes and feels really neat to touch. It’s described as “mess-free”, which I wouldn’t completely agree with, but I have the kids play with it on baking sheets and it makes clean-up pretty easy. We often use the sand with TOOB animals (below) and cookie cutters.
We have a variety of these TOOB sets and they get so much use! We use them in kinetic sand or playdough as they fit into the theme of letter lessons, we hide them inside Easter eggs for a fun Spring learning activity , we use them when we learn about different habitats, and the kids play with them on their own for free playtime all the time.
We love using the TOOB animals and cookie cutters in playdough. I prefer using homemade playdough rather than the small store bought ones, because each kid can have a lot larger amount to work with and I’ve been happy with the consistency and quality of it. I use this recipe, which is very easy, and the playdough lasts a long time if you keep it in a closed container. TOOB animal figures plus playdough always makes for an activity that keeps kids entertained for quite a while!
The kids use these to cut letters out of playdough and kinetic sand. And I’ve used them to make snacks when I have a hard time coming up with a snack that fits the theme. I’ve used them for foods like jello jigglers, cookies, and cheese slices.
We use the magnets on a white board to practice or play review games, but I also use them any time I want to have letters for them to find in games. For example, in the train activity in our T is for Train lesson pictured above.
I strongly prefer these to dry erase markers. They can never dry out, they are much easier to wipe off after use, there is no odor, and I’ve had the same set for about 4 years and they’re still going strong! I like to laminate worksheets that I know I’ll reuse and then let the kids draw on it with these crayons and then wipe it all off afterwards. We also always use them to draw our flight path on our dry erase map during our Read Around the World Lessons.
Laminator and laminating pouches
I held off getting a laminator for a long time because I thought they would be really expensive, but I realized they are actually super affortable (mine was less than $20) and definitely worth it. I laminate a lot of the materials so they can be reused, and it’s so much nicer having it at home instead of taking everything into a store to laminate every time.
Palm tree to use with Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Tree
At the end of every Letter of the Week lesson we read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and add the letter to our tree. I’ve had my tree for years and it was just leftover from an activity, but I think it’s similar to something like this.
This short movie has been SO helpful in my kids learning their letters. I think it’s the perfect balance of entertaining and educational and the songs they sing for each letter are very effective in helping kids remember their letter sounds. I usually show the clip corresponding to the letter we’ll be focusing on at the start of each lesson.
And then of course we use a lot of construction paper and glue sticks for all of the letter crafts we do!
For a guide to how I do my Letter of the Week lessons check out this post: