Preschool at Home: For $10 a Month!

So now you know the components of a basic preschool class at home, here are supplies to purchase that will last for 6 months under $60!  All of my recommendations are at the bottom for easy searching (and price verification).

1.  Writing:  If you opt to print out tracer pages from home, your set up cost is printer paper and a binder per child.  If you buy books at the dollar store or book store, say $5.  I bought the P-K book below for $5 at Borders on end-of-summer clearance.

2.  Drawing Tools:  Crayola is worth the money!  If you buy new crayons, colored pencils, and washable markers: budget $8.  You may already have some drawing supplies or you can purchase them super cheap in pre-school sales around the end of July and December.  Also invest in a Play Doh pack; you’ll have 24 tubs for $16.  I use old cookie cutters as play doh tools because they don’t get much cookie-making use in our house.

3.  Books:  Use what you already have in their rooms for themed days, such as holiday, color,  and animal books.  For the alphabet, I love the Disney Picture Dictionary new for $30 or used for $2 (I'm not giving you shipping or taxes, if you buy over $25 worth at Amazon below, it ships free!).

4.  Treasure Hunts are free if you use household items for show and tell; otherwise I also love I Spy A to Z for $10 new.  Both I Spy and the Dictionary will cover 26 classes if you teach one letter a day.

5.   For music and instruments, search your dollar store.  Buy recorders, shakers, and $1 cds to get your collection started; you’ll be shocked how much you can accumulate!  If you feel a bit wealthier, I love Susie Tallman’s Children songs and a nice beginner instrument set.

6 and 7.   Field trips, art projects, and snacks are all things you can do for cheap or free.  Use snacks you already have; search for free library activities and museum days on their local websites.  For $79, we invest in a yearly Zoo/BioPark/Aquarium pass for our family.  Otherwise we attend NM venues on free days and you should too!  (Have no guilt; we all pay taxes.)

In Total
$5 pages + $8 new tools + $2 used Dictionary + $10 new I Spy + $30 new music/toys
= $55!

Voila!  Plus you can afford the Play Doh if you print free pages or save on music/toys.

Tomorrow:  I’ll share two examples classes that will have you eager to start preschool at home, plus my fun and healthy Rainbow recipes for St. Patrick's Day.

I also love Aquadoodles: What inexpensive tools are in your house for preschool activities?

Here's an optional shopping list:

Drawing Tools

Activity and Learning Books

Music and Instrument Options


  1. Love your ideas! Thank you!

    Also, we love re-usable, both because Hayden has younger sisters and also because he sometimes likes to "re-do" his projects or activity papers. So, for mazes, activity sheets, connect-the-dots, etc., we added plastic page protectors to the binder (and cover his potentially-favorite activity sheets) and a set of dry-erase markers to our pencil case. Now, he can re-use all those activity sheets that I've been printing and practice his letters over and over using just one piece of paper!

    Also, we're going to label the binders by age (and possibly by subject, as we've already grown to two binders) and set them up for the girls until they're age-appropriate. After all, I love many of the activity books we've found and I'd be sad if I couldn't use/find them for the girls, too! (and I'm cheap!)

    I hope you and your readership find this a helpful hint!

  2. Thanks Rachel, the plastic covers are a great idea, especially for large families.
    I dated Becca's when she started writing at age 3, so glad I did! I also have a file folder labeled '"Child's Name": Art Work 2011' or for each year, so as they accumulate projects, it all has a home. Then at year's end, we go through it together and they keep ten favorites for their storage box, so when they graduate they have sorted memories from year 1 to 18. (I saw a Mom make memories boxes like this on a Talk Show). So easy!


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