Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Tot school/preschool essentials without breaking the bank!

We have been working on Tot School activities at home for over a year and a half now. In this time, I have really learned what materials I have found useful, practical, and also inexpensive to have around. 

If you are thinking about starting with Tot School or preschool at home, I want to share a list of only the essentials or basic supplies I highly recommend you have at home! This is not including specifically Montessori materials (that depends on the approach you choose to use at home as well as your own budget!). This list consists of the basic supplies you would need to make your tot school or preschool a success! 

Welcome to Mommyhood: Montessori tot school or preschool supplies guide! A list of the basic essentials you will need to make your tot school or homeschool preschool a success! #montessori, #preschool, #totschool
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The big stuff 

What I love about these types of items is that we actually kept the cost very low in this category! The largest cost here may be a shelving unit of some sort to present trays and works for kids to choose from. These need to be at a child's level and should be safely secured so that a child cannot pull  the unit down on him/herself. 

A tip for saving expenses on a shelving unit would be to buy a few smaller shoe racks and stack them or set them next to each other. This is at a low level for younger kids to reach and can be significantly less expensive than a larger shelving unit. 

For us, we had most of these items at home already! All we had to buy was an extra chair for Y to sit at, but already had a horizontal shelving unit and white, Ikea table! These were both at his level and gave him the opportunity to work on art projects, messy works, or simply, if he felt like sitting, he could! 

If he wants to work on the floor, I always have a mat ready for him to spread on the floor. This ensures that our works stay contained.

Kids sized table and chair

A rug/mat to work on 

Shelving unit or use multiple stacked shoe racks

For teacher/parents 

Really, this category depends on what you want to do in tot school/preschool. Ultimately, the items that I have been using the most have been my laminating machine, paper cutter, and tons of velcro. Y loves velcro! Other than that, storage and organisational items can be kept minimal, but effective. 

Laminating machine and Pouches

Paper cutter

Paper: construction paperwhite paperrolls for art

Folders and 3 ring binders for organisation 

Bins/storage options

Other than the items listed above, I think this really depends on you. I also like to have felt on hand for making works for Y, especially when he was younger.


I have to admit that I have a bit of an addiction when it comes to this aspect of 'tot school' and preschool supplies. I love, love, love stocking up on fun bowls, plates, and presentation supplies to put on our trays. 

When picking out these items though, I do look out for a few characteristics before purchasing. The most important is the material from which our supplies are made. I look for wood, glass, metal - different types of materials that are durable and quality made. 

Tip: for younger tots, if you fear that they may get injured using breakable materials, look for bowls made from wood, straw, or metal - unbreakable but quality items! I tend to avoid using plastic items as much as possible. 

For these items, I highly, highly recommend going to second hand shops and looking for treasures! Buying all of these items new can really add up, especially because young kids can break them. The majority of my bowls come from local second hand shops. Other items, my husband and I have made ourselves. 

When neither of those options work, I shop around online for the best deal for special items - usually trays or bowls that can be used for multiple units. Something like this:



Craft supplies and manipulatives  

Dried food products

To start with, a lot of the items you can use for presenting simple works to your toddlers and preschoolers can already be found around the house. Items such as beans, macaroni, dried food products you already have make for fabulous items to use for practical life trays that involve pouring, spooning, etc. 

Pom poms, buttons, beads 


Animal figurines 

Practical life

For this category, I can really, really say a lot, but will save this for an entirely separate post that you can look forward to reading about soon! What I will say here is that you do not want to spend too much, but do please look for real items that are child sized! Child sized cooking supplies and utensils instead of plastic ones will really empower your little ones and allow them to learn how to carry out tasks. 

You may like 

2015-2016 preschool unit ideas

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