Favorite Learning Tools and Resources
Listed below are my favorite educational products and resources I use with my kids. As a former elementary school teacher I know a lot about weeding out which resources are actually useful, and which are simply filler products you probably don’t need. You can be sure if I’ve listed it below it’s tried, tested, true, and I stand by what it does. Be sure to check back often as this list changed and grows often. Simply click on the product title or image to be taken to the site to purchase. Happy Learning!
Melissa and Doug “My First Calendar”*: This calendar makes a few appearances on my site, as I absolutely love it. I’ve even written about it in a magazine before as well as a recommendation to other parents, because I really do think it’s one of the best calendars for preschool-early elementary aged children.
Sight Word Bingo*: My kids love playing this game so much. It’s a Bingo game that teaches beginner level sight words—a necessary step in the introductory reading process. They think they’re playing a game, I know they’re actually learning the sight words. The way we play is I have them read the word cards and look for the corresponding words on their Bingo boards. For younger kids who don’t read yet, simply have them match up the letters of the sight word cards to the ones on their Bingo boards, as an introduction to sight words activity (also reinforces letter recognition).
Melissa and Doug Abacus*: Really, you could use any abacus. But we love this one. (If you haven’t figured it out yet, I really stand by the Melissa and Doug brand. And no, they didn’t sponsor this. We’ve just used their products for many years.) As I write this post, we’re currently homeschooling and this has been a lifesaver during their math lessons. (If you follow me on Instagram—which you should be—you would have seen me recently post a video using this with my 5-year old during her addition work.) This abacus allows them to use counters during math problems without having to find and make a mess with counters, objects, etc. The visual is always a necessary and helpful step when teaching kids new math operations, especially in the beginning stages.
Melissa and Doug Pattern Blocks*: These pattern blocks are great for teaching patterns, shapes, polygons, colors, so many different things. The kids could and play quietly with these for a good 30 minutes (which is saying a lot!)
Magnetic Pattern Blocks*: I love these because they’re essentially the same as the Melissa and Doug Pattern Blocks above, but because they’re magnetic the blocks won’t slide off the boards, they can use them on a couch, etc. The board also doubles as a dry-erase whiteboard.
Write and Wipe Pocket Folders*: These are great for printing practice, when I want them to do a worksheet of some sort and don’t feel like making extra copies, and I have 4 hung up on my wall as their “art display folders”.
Game Board Piece Storage Bins*: I hate having Monopoly or Bingo chips laying all over the floor. They get lost, they get mixed up, the kids fight over whose pieces are whose. These have been a lifesaver ever since I found them. Everyone gets their own little bin and it makes keeping board game pieces organized and clean. (Plus they’re actually really cute!)
Play-Doh Alphabet Letters*: These letters can be used for so many different things using play-doh, which kids already love to play with. I’ve used them to teach letter recognition, to facilitate reading fluency with making sight words, and to help with word building. You can teach name recognition, spelling, name building, verbs, adjectives, etc, etc, the possibilities are endless. My kids have loved these for years and they’ve held up pretty well too.
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