With my first child, I went a little overboard creating a preschool room at home. It was awesome with fully stocked learning centers, but who was I kidding it was just for one little girl. In fact I still have some supplies left and she’s in the 3rd grade now! Look early learning at home is important, but it truly doesn’t need to cost a fortune.
Budget Friendly Ideas for Early Learning at Home
Free & inexpensive online programs
ABCYa.com offers free online games & activities for Pre-K through 5th grade.
Starfall.com is another great free online program used by many schools.
ABCmouse.com – Kids Ages 2-6 – Click here to get your First Month Free! Haylee loved this program and honestly she had a hard time acknowledging that is was time to try something more challenging. (Featured in this post – Summer Learning: ABC Mouse)
The Little Passports program is amazing! Haylee started with the Early Explorers pack where every month she received a packet featuring a different country. She’s now continued onto the USA Edition edition for 7-12 year olds.
Find free printable worksheets & activities.
I wish I had known about all the free resources out there on the internet. Of course, I wasn’t sold on Facebook yet and there was no such thing as Pinterest yet. But, just so you know there are tons of free printable worksheets and activities that are available.
Here are a few printable worksheets & activities I think you’ll enjoy:
Matching Game for Preschoolers Activity Pack [Living Well Mom]
Alphabet Worksheets [Kids Activities Blog]
31 Days of Free Printables for Hands On Learning [Life Over C’s]
Fingerprint Counting Printables for Spring [Fun Handprint Art Blog]
Preschool Learning with Playdough Shape Mats [Living Well Mom]
Inexpensive places to buy educational tools
Dollars stores and Target’s Red Dot dollar section both have items that are perfect for early learning at home. In fact I was able to grab this alphabet wall display for a $1.00 at Dollar Tree, so we can practice singing everyday. Please disregard the random ocean picture above it, it’s currently covering up a few patched areas on the wall.
The only items I wouldn’t purchase from those areas are markers and crayons. They really don’t seem to last long or color well at all. Overall it’s definitely worth checking out, you never know what kind of educational goodies you’ll find.
If you have a teacher’s supply store in your area, sign up on their mailing list. They will have warehouse sales every so often and many of them are open to the public. They aren’t usually advertised, so getting a heads up via e-mail or snail mail is the only way you’ll know about them.
Used bookstores and thrift shops have tons of great books to add to your little one’s library. When you have toddlers, you WILL have torn edges or ripped pages from time to time. It’s through these experiences that they will learn what’s okay and what’s not okay. So don’t spend a whole lot of your budget buying new books.
Supplies & tools to keep on hand
If you are planning on making some of your own early learning activities at home there are a few tools I would suggest buying.
A paper trimmer to cut out flash cards and other educational tools.
I love my Scotch Thermal Laminator! It’s perfect for making learning mats and dry erase activities.
A good pair of scissors for parent use only.
Cardstock paper for laminated activities and more heavy duty projects.
Keep the larger size construction paper (18 x 12) on hand. You can always cut them down or use the scraps for other craft projects with little to no waste.
Fiskars Pre-School Training Scissors are the perfect starter scissors for little hands.
Glue sticks and tape.
Watercolors, water-based paints and crayons!
Keep it fun & simple!
Just remember with all the resources out there, you still want to keep it fun & simple. You don’t need a Pinterest perfect shelf full of stuff. It’s not only about early learning, it’s also about spending quality time with your child. Sometimes it will be messy, but that’s why we have paper towels and soap! So enjoy and have some early learning fun with your little one.
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