A lot of you have asked what supplies made it through “the purge” and since we are starting The Peaceful Preschool in a few weeks, I thought it was a perfect time to share what items we’ll be using for a minimalist homeschool approach. With kids it is so easy to accumulate a ton of different crafting and art supplies. Over the past three years, I’ve come to realize that quality art products are always best. They seem a little more expensive up front, but they actually save you money since they rarely need to be replaced and you are no longer trying new products constantly in search of finding something better. We do art or learning activities almost every day, so I needed to decipher what were necessities and what I was keeping “just in case” in order to tame an overflowing craft closet. We no longer have an extra room for an office or tot school room. We also do not have a basement or garage. The items I am about to share are all things we own + are supplies for The Peaceful Preschool extended units that we will be doing for the next year. Hopefully you find this to be helpful! Below are affiliate links for your convenience.
Art + Craft Supplies
+ stick crayons
+ block crayons
+ colored pencils
+ glitter glue
+ glue stick
+ washable tempera paints
+ water brushes
+ watercolor paper
+ watercolor pan
+ liquid watercolors
+ modeling clay
+ pom poms
+ preschool scissors
+ white paper roll
If you only take my advice about a few supplies on this list, buy the crayons and colored pencils. I spent a year buying other brands and nothing is as wonderful as these. Both Crayola and Melissa & Doug crayons broke frequently (even using the fat triangular ones) and neither are as vibrant as the more expensive ones. They write like butter, are bold with very light pressure and even blend together – more like oil pastels. The colored pencils are easy to grip and extremely vibrant as well. I’ve also used Prismacolor in the past, but I just think the size and shape of the ones linked above are more appropriate for toddlers. I included a link to the inexpensive sharpener that works with their jumbo size.
The tempera paints are used almost daily and after two years, we are nowhere near needing to replace them! These were a more expensive “upfront cost” when I started Tot School, but they are more than worth the money. They are truly washable and I can clean the girls with just a baby wipe when they are done painting.
I cannot recommend better watercolors than the watercolor pan I linked to. Since they are watercolor cakes, they absorb water and prevent pools of colored water all over the pan. If you’ve ever used basic crayola watercolors with kids, you know what I am talking about. Toddlers are over zealous with water + paintbrushes and it usually leads to a huge murky mess. Once I gave this watercolor pan to the girls they no longer had that issue.
The white paper roll is a must in my opinion. I started throwing it down on the table in the morning and it creates an all day art experience. We do our projects on it an then the girls color or paint all over it throughout the day whenever they want. It’s so cheap and I foresee it lasting almost the entire year!
The plastic tray is the most requested item from parents. They always want to know where I got it. I’ve had the same two trays for the past two years and they were the most ingenious thing I ever purchased. I use them for everything.
These waterbeads are one of the coolest sensory experiences for little ones and you can do a ton with them! You can use them regularly or freeze them for a different experience. They are a ton of fun.
The alphabet stamps were the only ones we have kept over the years. We have the upper and lowercase ones. They are easy to grasp and the fact that they are see through makes paper placement very easy.
The last four items are what we will be using for handicrafts this year! Besides having times carved out for creative projects, I’ve also read that a ton of families give their kids little projects to keep their fingers busy while they are listening to read aloud books. I am compiling a list of various handicrafts and life skills we will be learning (including me!) – knitting, sewing/needlepoint, gardening, candle making and more. I’ll be sure to share posts on these topics as we explore them!
Prep Supplies + Organization
+ our color computer printer (this one or this one)
+ laminating pouches
+ paper trimmer
+ powerful (cheap!) hole punch
+ 3/4″ & 1″ circle paper punches
+ organizer cart
+ hanging file folder bin
+ file folders
+ organizational bins
I included this section for all of you who frequently ask what tools and products I use for prep. If you’ve been on the fence about buying a laminator, you should totally get one. This one was so inexpensive and I have used it more than anything else on the prep list. The organizer cart holds ALL of our supplies and we just keep it inside of a closet. Lastly, the file folder bin is where I keep past units and keepsake art projects.
Supplemental Books We Love
+ B is For Breakdancing Bear
+ The 50 States: Explore the U.S.A with 50 fact-filled maps
+ Nature Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural World
+ Farm Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of Country Life
+ Food Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of our Edible World
+ Women In Science
I absolutely love all of these books! B is For Breakdancing Bear has sold out on Amazon every time I recommend it! Kids just love all of the fun activities and it was the first tool I found to get Rilynn interested in Letter practice. The next 6 books are books that not only the girls love, but Ryan and I truly enjoy them as well. I use these every week for Geography, Nature, Science and Art. The Trace & Flip Fun books are what I decided to get instead of sandpaper letters, which was a great decision since we will be creating our own sensory letter during each unit of The Peaceful Preschool. Lastly, we will be reading daily from the Jesus Storybook Bible. It’s my favorite Bible for the girls since I feel that the artwork and way they tell the stories feels very “real & relatable” to them. Prior to discovering this Bible, my favorite was the rhyme Bible listed above.
I hope this was informational and helpful for all of you who are gathering supplies to homeschool! Once I put all of our supplies on the floor and sorted through them, I was pleasantly surprised to realize that you don’t need much to educate preschoolers at home. We do have a few additional supplies (like construction paper), but I’ve gotten out of the habit of buying in huge bulk for supplies or purchasing things with a just in case mentality. I want to encourage any of you who fear the mess that is often associated with offering our kids projects. I know it’s what held me back from teaching my girls for the longest time. You can have a clean, minimalistic home + peaceful environment while embracing home education! Once we are settled in our new house, I plan to do a full home tour so that you can see how we organize and store everything.