Several people have asked me: What kinds of craft supplies should we invest in? Here are my suggestions. The starter kit is where you need to make a bigger investment. If you buy a better quality right away, you won't need to replace them as soon. The next step are things that are nice to have, but you can start without. The last two categories can be collected over time.
- good quality scissor (one per child)
- good quality glue... you can do glue sticks, but for preschool children, it's really easier to use white glue. The best way? Collect apple sauce containers and wash them out. Squirt a little bit of white glue in the bottom on each container and have the children apply the glue with a q-tip. When you are done, throw out the q-tips and wash the containers in warm water. You can have one container for every 2-3 children. In the long run, this is the cheapest way to go. Besides, kids like to "paint" with glue.
- Crayola markers (both thick and thin)... crayola is very washable and durable. It's really worth the investment!
- Crayons... thick or thin or a combination of both, depending on the age range you have (2 1/2 to 3 year olds like thick ones, and 4-5 year olds like thin ones)
- construction paper in multicolor packs... no need for heavy high quality brands. We find the inexpensive varieties work just as well
- white photocopy/printer paper
- storage containers for all the supplies. The ones that you can pull out of the cupboard and set on the craft table just like that are the best. Some time you can find cutlery storage caddies at the dollar store that you can stand the markers/scissors up in. Avoid soft sided containers or too small containers that things may spill out of. Flat bottoms "pencil boxes" are good because the lids are attached.
- paint dabbers
- finger paint
- tissue paper
- pipe cleaners
- playdough "tools"... cookie cutters, rollers and such
- squares of felt
- buttons in various sizes and colors
Pick up at a Dollar Store:
- stickers! Lots of them in different themes. Especially look for the mega-packs with animals of various kinds, flowers, basic shapes, children, etc. Pick up a few packs of star stickers or plain circle stickers in various colors
- a ball of yarn
- paper plates and cups
- cotton balls
- popsicle sticks
- confetti shapes
- coloring books... look for Bible story themes or Animal themes.
Ask the moms to collect/make:
- toilet paper rolls
- small plastic applesauce cups (with a flat bottom and a wide top)
- home made playdough
- scraps of fabric in different textures and colors
- scraps of fake fur
- unused CD's
- clear plastic 500 mL pop bottles
What NOT to buy:
- pencil crayons... these are a pain b/c you need an adult to sharpen them regularly. Also, prechool kids are too rough with pencil crayons. Every time they drop a pencil crayon, the lead inside cracks.
- Loose glitter... trust me. You'll be in big trouble with the care taker! Glitter glue works great. Also, you can use larger shapes of confetti for a glitter effect. Choose shapes that are large enough for a three year old to pick up off the floor.
- Cheap markers... they stain clothing, carpets and tables on the first day, and are dried out by the second day. Not worth it!