Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Back to the Basics ~ Inexpensive Early Literacy Ideas

When I first started teaching I couldn't believe how expensive it was to set up my classroom! Now, it didn't really have to be, however I just had to get fabric to cover my bulletin boards (it's to much prettier and it's good for the environment!), buy rugs and pillows for my reading corner, get cute posters with inspiring pictures and quotes... you know. Kindergarten requires so much cute, educational stuff! To make matters worse, I began my Kindergarten teaching career in Tampa, Florida. Do you know what is located in Tampa? A Lakeshore Learning store. An actual store where you can go and pick things up and look at them! Aah, the excitement of setting up a classroom :) I do so love it!
Anyway, I am always looking for fun, inexpensive ways to get my kids excited and learning at the same time. I was reminded of how simple these things can be while I was home for Christmas.
Little Bean has some beautiful wooden toys, Indestructables books, etc, but two of the most interesting things to him were a clementine and a large mouth canning ring. That reminded me of some of the simple, everyday items that my kids loved to use in my classroom, so I thought I'd share them with you! Hope they inspire you!

First off ~ buttons! I loved playing with my grandmother's tin of buttons when I was a little girl. My sister and I would happily sit and sort buttons for quite while (my brother had no interest!). I bought these buttons in the dollar section at Michaels.
Sort by color...
sort by size...
To make this fine motor activity, I made a game out of it and had my students use tweezers or spoons to pick up the buttons - no fingers allowed! 

I just love these wooden beads! I got them at Walmart for $3.99 a bag when I first started teaching. They last forever! I have also had the kids stick them onto a pipe cleaner to spell sight words or search for them in a ball of play dough.

Super cheap and easy! A pack of 100 clothespins is $1.00 at Walmart (or at least it used to be...). I had my students match uppercase to lowercase.

Magnetic fridge letters, an ice cube tray and the same clothespins used in the above game. Again I have the kids match uppercase to lowercase.

Last but certainly not least, a cookie sheet and magnetic fridge letters. Not only does the cookie sheet keep the letters from going everywhere, but it gives the students their own defined space. As the year progressed I would switch to using words from a magnetic poetry kit I got in college. A lot of those kits have inappropriate words for young ones, so check carefully if you use them!

I hope you have enjoyed these ideas! Please share if you feel as though they would help a teacher you know. These are also great activities to do at home with your own little ones :)

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