By Jen Holmstrom
Preschoolers are self educators by nature. They enjoy exploring their surroundings and seek out hands-on projects. Providing these activities is the best way to facilitate preschool education. In preparation for a school year with your preschooler, it is helpful to acquire the basic supplies that are used repeatedly for arts and crafts. Here are the top 10 essential supplies:
CONSTRUCTION PAPER – Children love paper! It facilitates writing, drawing, coloring, painting, folding, cutting, and gluing. The possibilities are endless with paper. A pack of construction paper consisting of multiple colors is the best. It provides a variety of colors and shades and when children see the colors, their imaginations take off with ideas.
CRAYONS – Crayons are a classic tool for young children. Everyone remembers drawing and coloring with a set of crayons when they were young. These waxy colorful pieces of magic provide hours of fun and focus for children. But be careful; toddlers are known for coloring surfaces other than paper. (Helpful tip: A magic eraser can clean crayon marks off of most surfaces.)
PENCILS – Both colored pencils and regular pencils are appropriate for preschool age children. They can begin practicing and perfecting their pencil grip long before writing is expected. If a child is struggling with a regular sized pencil, they can start out with a size 2 beginner pencil which is a bit thicker and may be easier to grip correctly.
MARKERS – Washable markers are they way to go. Markers are a refreshing break from crayons, due to the smooth glide on paper motion and the bright colors. The standard size markers work, but the thin tipped markers are also great to use when instructing a child on tracing shapes and letters.
CHALK – Chalk is one of my favorite supplies. Parents know that outdoor pay is an important part of a child’s day. One way that you can make sure to maximize the value of outdoor play is to provide your child with tools to encourage academics. With access to chalk, children are bound to engage in drawing and writing on the sidewalk outside.
PAINT & BRUSHES – Art time is a fundamental portion of preschool activities. In most preschool programs, art time is done daily and sometimes twice a day. Children enjoy painting in several different settings, outdoors, indoors, on an easel, on the table, etc. Whether you have tempera paint or just a small set of watercolors, you will be able to utilize your paints for numerous art projects with your little ones.
SCISSORS – One of the major skills that preschoolers develop is cutting! Fine motor skills are enhanced by learning how to use scissors correctly. Purchase a set off child scissors and you can immediately begin working with your child on their grip and finger placement. Once a child understands the concept of scissors, they will more than likely want to cut every day. It is a valuable and enjoyable pastime, but should be monitored closely.
PACKING TAPE – Regular tape works too, but I’ve noticed that packing tape is stronger and more diverse, as it can be applied to more projects. Packing tape can also be used as a cheap alternative to lamination. With packing tape, you can laminate flashcards or even posters. Remember to get a packing tape dispenser with your tape!
GLUE – Liquid white glue and glue sticks are both useful for arts and crafts, but it can also be used in academic assignments and worksheets. Many times a preschool assignment will consist of cutting out pictures and pasting them in categories or in a certain order. Glue sticks are great for younger children, where slightly older children may be able to handle using a glue bottle by themselves. It all depends on how hands on the supervising adult will be. Either way, glue is necessary to complete various preschool projects.
PIPE CLEANERS – And last but not least, pipe cleaners. Children adore working with pipe cleaners. They are colorful, soft, and most importantly, they are easy to bend and shape to your heart’s desire. There are endless possibilities when it comes to pipe cleaners. You can put a handful of pipe cleaners in front of a child and watch their minds and hands go to work. There are also several educational games and activities that can be done using pipe cleaners. Pinterest is a gold mine of ideas for pipe cleaners! There are also many websites that provide ideas, like this one: (Source: http://www.messforless.net/20-pipe-cleaner-crafts-and-activities)
With just these supplies, you are all set to provide limitless opportunities for learning and fun to your preschooler.