I’ve spent a few hours working on this post and let me tell you…it’s everything you need to know for preschool-6th grade in one place! I’ve been a full-time mom doing preschool with my 4 year old daughter and supplementing K-1st grade with my 7 year old son for 1.5 years. These tips and resources (including links) are perfect for parents doing preschool at home or wanting to supplement what their K-6th grader is learning at school. These cheap and easy ways to teach your kids at home include my favorite cheap workbooks, easy organization tips for supplies, and my favorites websites for free printable worksheets, activities, color pages, and kid’s magazines! I have become slightly obsessed with making sure my kids are busy with educational activities in their down-time and I’ve used each and every thing on this list with my kids. It’s taken me year-and-a-half to find these great resources, so I hope you love this list as much as I love sharing it! Look for my Ultimate List of Free & Fun Kid’s Educational Websites, which I’ll roll out soon!
Cheap and Easy Ways to Teach Your Kids at Home:
- Create a small library of educational resources to keep your child’s mind busy during Summer, Winter, and Spring Break. They will retain more information and be ahead of other children when the next school year starts!
- Buy cheap workbooks for your child’s grade level + the next grade level (so they can look ahead, of course!) Hobby Lobby and Mardel have the School Zone brand workbooks for $2.99-3.99 in preschool-6th grade. These are amazing because they also have fun math, Language Arts, and Science activity ideas on the back page of the workbook! If you see workbooks at the dollar store, grab them!! If you don’t home school, you don’t need the insanely expensive $19.99 workbooks.
- Put workbook pages in page protectors & use dry-erase markers on them. This allows them to be used many times with multiple kids.
- Use $1 Store binders to store page protected workbook pages and label binders with grade levels.
- Keep educational materials that teachers send home. Items such as spelling word lists, math books, and unmarked worksheets can be placed in a page protector and included in the workbook binder for that grade level.
- Keep basic supplemental teaching materials on-hand (my favorite items are listed below). Keep it cheap and don’t fall into the educational store money pit.
- Keep basic craft supplies on hand (my favorite items are listed below). These are cheap items and can be used over & over!
- Organize a “Teaching Materials” area. Store everything together so it’s easier to grab items when you need a quick lesson. I use a colorful rolling cart to organize my supplies, puzzles, etc… Put your binders of worksheets in this same area.
- Create a Pinterest Board for Kid’s Crafts/Science Experiments and pin your heart out! This is a free, quick, and easy place to store those great ideas and simply pick one when you need a craft idea!
- Bookmark websites that offer FREE printable lessons and activities (see below for my favorite links). Print a game or a couple lesson pages at a time, then finish before printing more. I feel overwhelmed if I print too much at once.
- Subscribe your child for free educational magazines, books, or let them read free kid’s publications online (see below for my favorite links).
- Use board games as educational tools. Get creative and think of ways you can incorporate math, patterns, etc… (my favorite educational games are listed below, and you probably already have them at home).
- Bookmark websites that offer FREE coloring pages. My favorite list is below. This will save you time when you’re busy and the kids beg for a color page. It’s perfect if you’re kids don’t like the texture of cheap coloring books…like mine:-)
- Bookmark websites that offer FREE online educational activities and games (My HUGE Ultimate List of Free & Fun Kid’s Educational Websites post will be Part 2 of this Series). Your child’s teacher may have more ideas and may share websites they’ve used in the classroom.
- Create a basic plan or list of activities & lessons for the week, before the week starts. You may decide to get specific and plan activities for each day, but I usually make a general list and then choose items from the list each day during the week (letting my kids decide which ones they want to do that day). I also check local community calendars for free kids events, $1 movies, and even plan outings to the Library/Nature Center/park, etc… A 30 minutes of pre-planning will help you feel very organized all week long!
My Favorites- WEBSITES FOR FREE PRINTABLE LESSONS & ACTIVITIES:
- ConfessionsofaHomeschooler.com- my absolute favorite website for free home teaching ideas and printables. She has created a myriad of creative games and lesson printables that are colorful, fun, and engaging. She homeschools preschool-3rd grade.
- GrowingaJeweledRose.com- my favorite website for creative play ideas that allow kids to get a little messy while using their imaginations. Crystal is the author and her site is filled with over 1,000 fantastic ideas! Most can be done with cheap supplies.
- HandwritingWorksheets.com- customize and print your own handwriting practice/tracing worksheets. This is perfect for having preschoolers learn to write their name, upper/lower case letters, and numbers correctly.
- RoseArt.com- arts and craft ideas using pretty cheap materials
- PagingSupermom.com- printables
- ICanTeachMyChild.com- lots of preschool and K-1 educational activities and thematic units
- Worksheetfun.com- TONS of free printable worksheets in many subject areas & grade levels
- KidZone.ws- Great free printables in several subject areas for Preschool-5th Grade
- 1Plus1Plus1Equals1.com- Great activities and printables for preschool and Kindergarten
- Below are some cheap and easy craft/science projects I’ve done with my kids and blogged about:
My Favorites- FREE & CHEAP KID’S MAGAZINES/BOOKS:
- Get a library card to your local library and let the kids explore. Our library allows kids to get their own library card at age 6 and they may check out up to 50 items each time! Whoa…that’s a lot. This teaches responsibility & adds free reading variety! Your library can also offer a suggested summer reading list for your child’s grade!
- Subscribe to your state’s Conservation magazine. We subscribe our kids tothe Missouri Conservationist and it’s free! Issues and articles are also available free online.
- Lego Club Jr. Magazine – free subscription for your little builders! It’s full of comics, games, puzzles, and building adventures.
- Highlights Kids- remember this awesome magazine from childhood? Free excerpts & games from issues are online!
- Marvel Kids Comics- Free online comics and games! Your kids will be in superhero Heaven. Ahh!
- Scholastic Magazine Samples- free! Request a few samples online. You have to fill in your name, email, address, and school name. I’m not a teacher (formally) so I just typed in our Last Name + Academy for the school name. Ha!
- Catalogs- free & great for fun reading, recognizing/naming items, and perfect for making collages
- Time for Kids Magazine- not free, but an awesome resource for teachers to use in the classroom. The smallest bundle you can order is 10. Recommend to your child’s teacher & watch for these in your kid’s backpack. Stockpile them to use during the summer or with your younger kids as they grow. That’s how I got mine:-) You can read several articles free online.
- Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Imagination’s Destination Reading Journal- any 1st-6th grader can read 8 books at home and bring in their reading log to receive a FREE BOOK! Check out my 3 Free End of Summer Activities for Kids post, which features this program with step-by-step instructions/pictures!
My Favorites- CHEAP TEACHING SUPPLIES:
- Writing paper & journal notebooks- great for book reports and journal entries
- Dry-Erase Writing Paper- I got them for $.79 each at Mardel (regularly $.99 each)!
- Dry- Erase Number Box- I got the one pictured below for $.79 at Mardel (regularly $.99)!
- Dry Erase writing board set- mine is pictured below. You can find these anywhere pretty cheap.
- Flash Cards- Everything from Alphabet to Math! You can find at Walmart, Hobby Lobby, and sometimes at the $1 Store.
- Foam building blocks- build towers, sort colors, count, shoot down with nerf guns, throw around without hurting people
- Foam Alphabet Floor Puzzle- this thing is AMAZING! Use to teach letters, letter sounds, and numbers 1-10.
- Puzzles- all kinds at the $1 store! You can also make your own puzzles using paper & laminate the pieces.
- Math Dice- create addition, multiplication, and division math problems with a roll!
- DIY ABC Rocks- collect rocks to paint and create your own ABC Rocks to teach letters, letter sounds, alphabet, etc…
- Metal baking sheet + Magnetic Letters & Shapes- All three items are at the $1 Store! (LINK)
- Calendar- buy a packet from your local education store & attach to 2 foam boards to create a cheap calendar/weather wall
- Legos- basic sets are great for color sorting, counting, and you can play creative sight word and sentence building games.
- My First ABC- book by Tucker Slingsby. Amazing for preschoolers to reference when learning and writing letters and words.
- My First 123- book by Tucker Slingsby. Again, amazing! I pretty much love all these books. Click link & see page #7.
- ABC & 123 50-piece cookie cutter set- at Mardel and Hobby Lobby for $9.99. On sale now at Mardel for $7.99!!
- The Little Engine that Could- ABC Time Book- perfect for preschoolers
- Super Fun Marble Run- this was a brilliant Christmas gift for our kids and encourages imagination and building. Not exactly cheap, cheap but worth the expense if you give as a gift. Dual purpose!
My Favorites- EDUCATIONAL BOARD GAMES:
- Uno- numbers, colors, matching, taking turns. My kids LOVE Uno and could literally play for hours and hours!
Sorry- counting, spacing, taking turns
- Dominos- building, counting, making domino run patterns and knocking them down.
- Disney DVD Bingo- numbers, patterns, and a sprinkle of awesomeness when they play movie clips. On Ebay around $15.00.
- Disney Family Cranium- or any Cranium for your child’s ages. This was given to us as a gift. Pricey, but the kids love it!
- Monopoly- so many themes, so little time! There is also a video game version that is quite awesome…
My Favorites- CHEAP CRAFT SUPPLIES TO KEEP ON-HAND:
- Markers- lots & lots of washable markers!!
- Dry Erase Markers- for all your laminated worksheets. These are also fun to draw on mirrors and windows with!
- Crayons- if your kids like crayons (I have an aversion to the texture and paper application of crayons…I’m weird)
- Shaving Cream- for the Shaving Cream Paint Bath, of course!
- Food Coloring- for the Shaving Cream Paint Bath, of course, or the many other craft/art projects you can create!
- Play doh- buy at the store or make your own
- Construction paper
- Scissors- child scissors for your kids, adult scissors for you….let’s face it, you’ll probably do most of the cutting, LOL!
- Paper plates- have you seen how many cute CUTE crafts you can make with these cheap beauties?!
- Ziplock baggie full of misc. small plastic toys to play with play doh- we use plastic utensils, small toys, and cookie cutters.
- Washable paint- buy at the store or make your own (I use acrylic paint on most of our craft projects. Just don’t keep it easily accessible…our babysitter got into it and decided to make mystery sidewalk paint she supposedly saw online and now our driveway is permanently painted with monster faces and squiggly marks, even after hours of scrubbing with Goo Gone).
My Favorites- WEBSITES FOR FREE PRINTABLE COLORING PAGES:
- Coloring-Book.info- great variety of coloring pages for almost any kid’s movie you can imagine!
Don’t Miss It–Part 2! Coming soon…
Ultimate List of Free & Fun Kid’s Educational Websites