This is the very first post for a new series called “Dollar Store Finds.” I am so excited about this series because the dollar store has helped so much with setting up my preschool. And when I say “helped” I mean “helped me save money!!!” It’s wonderful. So, without further conversation, let me share with you two items that I got from the dollar store and how I use them in my preschool.
Did you know that you can buy a package of 80 pompoms from the dollar store?!!! The next cheapest place I have found has about 100 pom poms for 2-3 dollars. The quality of the dollar store pompoms is not quite as good as other stores, but they are still very usable. They hold up very well to preschooler use. If you are planning to use them with toddlers, you might want to use higher quality pompoms depending on why you are using them. There are plenty of ways you can use pompoms, but I got mine ready to use with the Letter of the Week curriculum from Confessions of a Homeschooler.
First, I got some stick on magnet strips (you can get a package of 18 magnet strips from Walmart for $1). I cut about 4 of the strips into 60 small squares. Then, I got 60 pompoms. Next, I got out my hot glue gun and hot glued one magnet square to each pompom. Remember to take off the paper that protects the sticky back first. Don’t try to just stick the magnet to the pompom using the sticky back of the magnet. It will not work. Just use the glue gun. ;) After the glue has dried all the way, you can now use your pompom magnets with a magnet page (like these apostle magnet pages that we used during General Conference).
Or to make designs on a cookie sheet.
Or just search “pompom magnet” on Pinterest and you will find a wealth of activity sheets and ideas.
Die Cut Letters
I bought a set of die-cut letters from the dollar store in the teacher section (that may or may not be my favorite section of the dollar store and I may or may not drool over it a bit :) ). I put the letter set into my cart right away without knowing exactly how I was going to use it, but use it I did.
First, I punched out one of each letter (they only had uppercase). Then, I also punched out the numbers 0-9 because they were in the set, too and I figured I’d use them somehow. Next, I laminated the letters and the numbers because I teach preschool and when preschoolers decide to touch things… Yeah, that one’s pretty self-explanatory. Actually, the die-cuts were pretty thick and didn’t necessarily need lamination, but I’d rather be safe than sorry. Now my letters and numbers were all ready to… oh, yeah, I still had to think of how I was going to use them.
It didn’t take me long to come up with an idea (this was during the summer fyi). I have a paper tree on one wall that I was planning to hang letters on (like in Chicka Chicka Boom Boom) as each letter was introduced. The only problem was I didn’t have any letters yet. So, after I laminated the letters, I glanced over at the tree and Bam, I decided the use the letters to hang on our Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree.
Since I only have one letter on the tree at a time, I wanted to get a bit more use out of these letters. Luckily, I had another idea that I got directly from Confessions of a Homeschooler. I decided to punch holes in these lovely letters and use them as lacing cards. I also decided to use unifix color cubes to make patterns on the letters. I got both of these ideas from the Letter of the Week curriculum. I do not take credit for either of them. What I do take credit for is finding awesome stuff from the dollar store!!