Top 10 Low-Cost & Affordable Homeschool Supplies for Preschool You Need
The Fervent Mama uses Affiliate Links. See our disclosure policy here.
So you have decided to homeschool your preschooler this year….now what?
Preschool at home can be overwhelming to plan because we think we need to replicate a preschool classroom. But that’s not true.
You can give your preschooler an amazing preschool education with only 10 affordable homeschool supplies for preschool and save hundreds of dollars.
Save hundreds of dollars and still give your child a quality preschool education with just these 10 items!
You don’t need a big classroom full of toys to homeschool your preschooler.
With a background in Early Childhood Education, I can sift the “must-haves” from the “might be nice to haves”.
Fortunately, I have been through homeschooling preschool four different times so I know what you will actually need to do preschool at home, what you should spend a little extra on, and what not to bother buying
You don’t need a classroom full of toys, tables, cubbies, or wall space. Remember, you aren’t trying to keep 20 kids occupied all day. You can give your child an excellent education, and in some ways, even better than an expensive preschool!
10 affordable homeschool supplies for preschool that are “must haves”
Here is a list of just 10 homeschooling preschool resources you will need to do preschool at home. Some of these you may already have will give you a head start on saving money!
Don’t forget to PIN IT!
1. A child-sized table
This will probably be the most expensive thing I recommend that you buy. But please don’t buy a brand new one! Look at yard sales, Facebook Marketplace, local Facebook selling groups, Craigslist, etc first.
I found a used good-sized child-sized wooden table and two chairs on Facebook Marketplace for only $50 that retails from Pottery Barn for $270!
When you look for a table, look for a wooden one. These will last so much longer. Wooden tables also have the smooth, hard surface that preschoolers (and older) will need when writing letters and numbers and for art activities.
Try not to use the “cardboard” tables with padded tops. These will not provide a sturdy surface for writing with pencils.
I am definitely passionate about books! Reading to your child is so important for brain, language, and emotional development.
But, do you need to go out and spend a bunch of money on books? No! The library will be your best friend.
Set a day every week or every two weeks to go spend an hour with your child in the library. Let them choose books; you choose books that will go with your preschool theme/topic for the next couple of weeks.
What if you don’t have a good library? Search for used books. I buy 95% of my books used. Goodwill, thrift stores, consignment sales, and homeschooling curriculum sales are great ways to spend just a little money for a lot of books.
There are online stores, too, where you can search for certain titles or subjects to go with your preschool themes. Thrift Books, Ebay, and PaperBack Swap are excellent sources that I use all of the time.
3. Art supplies
Yes, it’s going to get messy! Most parents groan at the thought of letting their children do art projects. But so much learning is happening when you facilitate art with your children.
Messes can be cleaned up. Give them these moments to experience the different art mediums, textures, and colors. I promise you won’t regret it once you see the joy on their faces from experimenting with different art projects.
Some basic art supplies to have on hand at home are crayons, markers, child-sized scissors, glue sticks, white glue, construction paper, copy paper, and a watercolor paint set. Buy these during back-to-school sales for pennies and stock up!
I could have put this with art supplies, but I wanted to talk a bit about it. Most preschool classrooms have an easel for easel painting. Kids love easel painting! But easels do take up a lot of room and can cost a lot of money.
You can find them used….at consignment sales, thrift stores. I bought our Melissa & Doug easel at a thrift store for $20. But I will say that since it’s so bulky, it has to stay in the garage.
So a regular easel is great if you have the space, another option is a table-top easel. Much cheaper, smaller, and kids still love to paint on them!
5. Counting Bears (or other counters)
Counting Bears are a staple for preschool. You will use counters for everything. I like this set on Amazon that has bears, sorting cups, tweezers, dice, a carrying case, and cards for a great price. You can also use any type of small toys for counters.
Even dried beans or M&M’s can be used for counters when counters are needed for an activity. Also, children just love to play with these bears outside of learning time.
6. Large Activity Trays
You will need a couple of activity trays to contain messes! We keep one just for kinetic sand and play dough activities. I like to keep another one for painting activities.
Make sure you look at the sizes before ordering. I like trays at least 12” X 16” and have 1.5” deep sides. There are smaller trays available that are great for other activities, like Perler beads or craft kits. But for activities that have the potential for messiness, I like large trays.
7. Wooden Blocks
I know this seems like just a toy I’m adding to the list, but actually, building blocks like these are a very important resource to have in your home for preschoolers.
Older kids love them too, so don’t get rid of them after preschool! I like the big sets of natural wooden blocks. Melissa & Doug make a good set that goes on sale on Black Friday every year.
Stacking blocks is actually a developmental skill that helps children’s eye-hand coordination. Blocks can be used for counting, science activities, and used in imaginative play.
All preschool programs have block centers in their classrooms for a good reason.
8. Play Dough Tools
Playdough is such a wonderful activity to develop fine motor skills! You can buy playdough or make your own with only salt and flour.
I put together a whole playdough 3-tiered cart full of play dough supplies. That’s how much I believe in the importance of children using play dough.
I bought one of those huge containers of plastic cookie cutters (I think they have over 100 in there) for only $10. I bought my kids a wooden Melissa & Doug playdough tool set one year for Christmas. It has rolling pins and scrapers, etc. Then I find the Play-Doh brand sets at consignment sales or thrift stores.
9. Dot Markers
Do-A-Dot Markers or dot markers or bingo daubers…they all do the same thing! Some may not consider these essential, but I do. We use them just about every day.
The kids use them to do letter hunt and number hunt worksheets. They color with them. Instead of circling answers in workbooks, I will let them use the dot markers to mark an answer.
School is just so much more fun with dot markers! You don’t have to buy every color available. Just one basic set will be fine.
Be sure to buy a small home laminator that sells for around $20. You will want to laminate all of the wonderful preschool resources that you print out!
I have had my laminator for over 10 years that I bought for around $20 at Sam’s Club. I buy the Amazon brand laminating sheets (NOT the pockets!).
You will want to laminate your resources and games and worksheets so you can use them with other children. And I use my laminator with older children as well….cover sheets, posters, flashcards, vocabulary cards, lists to memorize….and so on.
So is this enough to homeschool preschool?
You may be wondering if this is enough resources to give your child a quality preschool education. Yes, it is!
These resources will help your preschooler to build fine and large motor skills, learn math fundamentals, letter recognition, expand imagination, explore the world around them, and so much more.
You can use these resources alongside a curriculum or find activities online to use them with. Be sure to visit my website Faithfully Teaching at Home to find free and affordable preschool resources you can easily use for your preschooler!
This post was written by Jacquelyn from Faithfully Teaching At Home.
Jacquelyn Barrett is starting her 18th year homeschooling her 4 children and is eager to share advice and encouragement for others on their own homeschooling journeys. She’s been married for 27 years to her pastor husband and stays busy with church, their 4 children, and 3 grandchildren. In her spare time (what’s that?), you might catch her reading, scrapbooking, and tending to their mini-farm. You can find her blogging on her website Faithfully Teaching at Home and creating printable resources for early learners. In her spare time (what’s that?), come say hello on her Instagram account and Facebook page and follow her on Pinterest!
This is a contributed post for the 2021 How We Homeschool Series.
Learn more about the How We Homeschool Series, contributors, sponsors, and giveaways by heading here.