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Time for a “teacher truth”… school supplies and materials can be costly and unfortunately, classroom budgets aren’t always enough. Before you dive into your own pockets (which we all have done before), check out some of my favorite dollar store teacher supplies perfect for Pre-K and Kindergarten center time and incorporating more hands-on playful learning in the classroom!
*For even more teacher tips and how to create a playful learning environment in your classroom, be sure to join us in P.L.A.Y. (Playful Learning All Year)!
Best Dollar Store Teacher Supplies for Center Time
I went to the dollar store today. I walked in to get just a couple of things but walked out with much, much more. When it comes to teaching, the dollar store has so much to offer when you think a little outside the box and I’m here to share some of the best dollar store supplies and some engaging ways to use them.
And be sure to check out the full list of my favorite math and literacy center time supplies!
Cookie sheets aren’t just for baking! I stocked up over time and now have enough cookie sheets for each of my students. We love to use them for fun literacy and math activities paired with our magnetic letters and numbers. But they can be used for so much more!
Simply attach inexpensive magnetic buttons to manipulatives or even printable game pieces and you have a hands-on, grab-and-go center for your kiddos. I have even laminated colored construction paper pieces and added magnets to make an easy-prep, reusable patterning center!
Another fun way to use cookie sheets is as an instant play dough center! The cookie sheet is great for rolling and building on and also keeps any play dough messes contained. Pair a canister of play dough with some letter magnets and your students will be thrilled to practice letter recognition and formation!
Ice Cube Trays
Now if you are lucky enough to find ice cube trays with exactly ten cubes – I hope you stock up! They are perfect for using as ten frames in counting activities. BUT, any ice cube tray is a score!
One of my favorite low-prep math centers starts by simply grabbing an ice cube tray, pom poms, and jumbo dice. Students roll the dice and fill up their tray with the number they rolled. This is great practice for one-to-one correspondence and fine motor skills!
Don’t have pom poms? Any small manipulatives (erasers, counting bears, etc.) also work great for counting and adding to the ice cube trays!
Want to incorporate even more fine motor skills practice? Add in a clothespin or jumbo tweezers for the kids to pick up the pom poms and place them into the ice cube trays.
RELATED RESOURCE: Pre-K and Kindergarten Centers by Skill BUNDLE
Mini White Boards
Another super versatile and useful classroom supply that I have found at the dollar store is a mini white board! They are the perfect size for little laps for circle time or bringing back to a table or desk for center time too.
Next, I have an item that pairs perfectly with white boards but may sound a little odd… baby socks! Do you ever get tired of passing out tissues to each student when you do white board work and then often finding those same tissues on the floor later that day? Grab a couple packs of baby socks and, not only do you have the perfect eraser for white boards, it also has built in storage for each student’s dry erase marker!
*Teacher Tip: Don’t forget to teach the “secret signal” that the dry erase marker is closed correctly – simply listen for the *CLICK*.
Do you have any favorite dollar store teacher supplies that I didn’t mention? Let me know!
Want to stress less with even more “must-try” tips while learning how to create a “Playful Learning” environment?
(even if you “aren’t allowed to play”)
If you’re wanting to incorporate playful learning, free-flowing centers, effective routines, and more in your Pre-K or Kindergarten classroom, then you’ll definitely want to join us in P.L.A.Y. (Playful Learning All Year)!
This course is a deep dive into practical ways that you can create a playful learning environment in your classroom. Be sure to request an invitation so you’re the first to hear when the virtual doors open!
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