Purchasing Materials for Tot school

I honestly believe that with tot school, purchasing a ton of materials is not necessary. However, there are some things I have picked up from thrift stores and other things I would just much rather save myself the time and purchase versus making homemade.

In this post, I am going to share with you the materials I find worth purchasing. I've decided to make a bonus post about DIY tot school materials as well, so be looking for that in the near future.

My final post in this series will be when I'm starting official tot school with Froggy. Right now, I just leave out activities for him to freely choose from. We have calendar time, story time, art time, and music time together.



A peg board set is a great tool for developing fine motor skills. You can also use it to teach colors, patterns, counting, or just use it for imaginative play (trust me, your kid will probably go for this one most of the time). I purchased mine from the Goodwill for $1.91, I don't think it's worth the near $20 price tag on Amazon, but if you happen across one at a thrift store, yard sale, teacher sale, or homeschool sale, I would definitely recommend picking it up.


Pattern blocks are another great purchase. I had seriously thought about making my own (yeah a bit crazy now that I think about it), but found a set of both wooden and plastic ones together at the Goodwill for $1.91.  If I didn't have the ones I have now, I would go ahead and purchase a set brand new because we have used these for so many different things from patterns, filling in printed puzzles (I always print out the black and white ones to focus on the shape versus colors), letters, counting, colors, and stacking. There is also this really neat magnetic set on Amazon that would be great since there's that extra effort when working with magnets.


One thing I haven't purchased yet but plan on getting is an alphabet and number lacing set. I used to print out and laminate my own, but they were frustrating for Monkey, I think the foam ones will work much better.


Stacking toys like a block tower, stacking sorter, or ring tower are great for teaching order and using motor skills. I bought our block tower from a consignment sale for $3, the stacking sorter from Goodwill for $1.91, and our ring tower was a baby gift. There's also this shape sequence sorter that I plan on getting, I think both Monkey and Froggy would enjoy it. Melissa and Doug also makes this wooden block tower, which I think it amazing, I've already had to repair our consignment block tower. If I were purchasing brand new, I would go with wooden.


Depending on the age of your tot, playdough can be a great addition to fine motor play. Of course, it's another open ended activity where you can teach numerous things. We use mixture of store bought play dough and homemade (in my opinion, NOTHING beats a good batch of homemade playdough, the texture is a lot easier for younger tots as well).

Oh my gosh how young Monkey was!
Nothing can beat a good old fashioned wooden block set. We have TONS of different varieties of blocks, all offer different challenges and opportunities for imaginative play and learning. One of my favorites though are wooden blocks. We received one set as a gift and I purchased a similar set of larger sized wooden blocks from Salvation Army (yes, I DO go to other thrift stores!) for $2.

And that's it! There aren't very many things I consider super important, but these items are so versatile that the purchases are definitely worth it.

Geez, I have to include another picture, one of our only family pictures we have (this when having another baby was still a distant dream). How young Monkey looked at age 2!


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