I’ve been putting together a completely massive blog post about cheap and easy ways to teach your children at home and I came across my supplies for this awesome preschool activity! I think it’s so great that it deserves its very own blog post, along with some creative ideas on how to use these supplies to teach preschoolers and early readers. These ABC & Shapes Magnets from the dollar store are a super frugal must-have for your home office and learning area!
This may be weird, but sometimes I like to just walk the isles at the dollar store and see what inspirations comes my way. Does anyone else do this?! Ryan must think I’m bonkers, but I can’t bring myself to buy expensive things I can either make myself or find cheaper elsewhere.
So….last May, we were gearing up for our 3rd (yes, third!) trip to Walt Disney World and we had decided to drive. Our kids were 3 and 6 at that time, so I went bananas trying to find activities for them to enjoy in the car that wouldn’t break our budget. I had also been a full-time mom for exactly 3 whole months and wanted to find items that could also double as learning activities when we returned home. I went through the dollar store on a mission! I found many awesome things for the trip (I’m sure I’ll share about that in a later post–or just ask me), but one of my FAVORITE finds were these supplies that cost me a whopping $4.
- 2 Metal Baking Pans
- 1 Package Alphabet Magnets
- 1 Package Shapes Magnets
Each kid got a baking pan to put on their lap, and I stored the shapes/letters in this handy little box I had laying around the house (or a ziploc baggie would be another cheap storage option).
Off they went to imagine, build objects with their shapes, etc… while we drove….and drove….and drove (for about 16 hours over 2 days). Once we got home, I added these pieces of awesome to my little growing home education center (I say that liberally, it’s more like a corner of my desk).
12 Easy Ways to use these for Preschool and Early Reading Practice:
- Put all the mismatched letters on 1 baking sheet while your child holds the other. Let your child pick a random letter and identify it.
- Ask your child to identify a letter AND it’s letter sounds
- Ask your child to place the alphabet in order on her baking sheet
- Sort colors
- Use magnets to spell CVC (consonant/vowel/consonant) words for your child to sound out and practice early reading (such as cat, bat, dog)
- Use magnets to spell VC (vowel/consonant) words for your child to sound out and practice early reading (such as on, up, in)
- Expand to larger words once your child shows some success with the easier sounds
- Identify shapes and colors
- Teach your child about shape sides and corners, then ask her to identify how many sides and corners a shape has
- Talk about longer sides and shorter sides, then ask your child to identify if a shape’s side is longer or shorter than another
- Ask your child to identify larger vs. smaller shapes
- Use your beginner sight word cards- show your child a card and have her spell the word with magnets, then sound it out
- Your creative idea!
This is something I’m excited to share and I hope it’s helpful. To me, there’s nothing more fun than getting to spend precious preschool years with your children and finding easy, cheap activities that you know they will love and learn from.