3 Must-Have Preschool Manipulatives

I don’t know about you, but it can be so easy for me to get caught up in thinking I need all. the. things. to help homeschool LG. There are so many amazing manipulatives out there that it can be hard to remember what is necessary and what is just for fun. But no matter what materials I run into while out and about, I always come back to these 3 manipulatives. Sure – I throw in some fun seasonal extras, but these guys are my trusty go-to manipulatives for SO many activities!

Puffy Alphabet Stickers

These stickers are one of our favorite manipulatives! I found a HUGE package of them at Hobby Lobby last YEAR and we’re still working through them! One way I make them last is by just using the colors that match that month or season. Below are some of the ways we use them!

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These stickers make great sensory bin fillers! They add so much color to our favorite black beans, and are perfect for color sorting! As we sort the letters by color, we talk about their color names and sounds!

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One of the easiest ways to practice letter identification is with these puffy alphabet stickers! Preparing this activity so simple! I simply take a sheet of printer paper, choose about 15-20 letters, and write those letters on the printer paper. LG chooses 1 letter at a time from her sensory bin to match up with the correct letter on the paper.

Because these stickers have a backing that has to be removed, this activity practices several different skills! We’re able to practice letter identification, discuss letter names and sounds, and strengthen her fine motor skills by taking the backs off!

PomPoms

PomPoms are an absolutely favorite of ours and SO stinking useful! They’re probably the most useful manipulative we own! You can find them for super cheap anywhere like the Dollar Tree, WalMart, or Target! We grabbed another HUGE bag at Hobby Lobby because it lasts forever and we’re able to use our weekly coupon. These little puffs are great for so many activities!

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PomPoms makes such a fun sensory bin filler! My little one has always loved getting to handle the little fluffs as a little break from our favorite black beans filler. You can this pattern sensory bin activity by clicking here!

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PomPoms are the ultimate sorting manipulative! Putting together this sensory bin was SO simple and LG played with it for so long! (Can you say “hot coffee”?!) I tossed out entire collection of pompoms into our bin and laid out these 6 little bowls that I found at Kroger for only $2! This turned into the perfect color sorting activity for her to use over and over again!

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We love using pompoms for building! From letters to shapes to numbers – the possibilities are endless! Simply grab a template like these capital letter building cards and let you little one get to work! You can these sensory bin task cards by clicking here!

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Finally, another one of our go-to activities with pompoms is pattern building. Give your kiddos some pattern strips to replicate, or let them create their own! Either way, they’re getting in some wonderful practice! You can this pattern activity by clicking here!

Puffy Shape Stickers

These puffy shape stickers are another favorite find from Hobby Lobby. (P.S. In case you didn’t already know, sign up for Hobby Lobby’s weekly e-mails and you’ll get a coupon in your inbox every week! This is how we get lots of our craft supplies without busting our budget!)

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The most natural way to use these stickers is for sorting shapes! Just like some of our other sensory bins, setting this bin up is super simple. Grab a sheet of printer paper, divide it into 4 sections, and add a shape sticker to each section. Then have your preschooler sort the shape stickers into the correct section!

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This color sorting sensory bin with shape stickers came about thanks to my little one! While sorting by shapes, she recognized that many different shapes shared a color and wanted to sort them by colors instead. So we whipped up a color sort to match her shape sort!

Keep It Simple!

Can you believe these 3 manipulatives can be used in so many ways? It just goes to show that preschool at home does NOT have to be difficult or expensive. Simple find your child’s favorite manipulatives, even if they’re different from these 3, and brainstorm all the ways to use them. The possibilities are endless!


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