Some of the most effective early childhood resources and materials are made by the loving hands of teachers. When you use teacher-made resources in your childcare setting, you have more freedom to plan lessons based on the kids’ interests because you are not limited by budget constraints, or by what’s available in the supply closet.
For instance, if you plan a lesson on farm animals, and your center is short on theme-based resources, you can use simple materials to make cow lacing cards, farm animal matching games, pig file folder games, a farm theme box, and a Three Little Pigs magnetic storyboard. These types of resources are easy to make, and can be tailored to fit any lesson plan or theme.
Lacing cards improve kids’ small motor skill and hand-eye-coordination. To make lacing cards, copy or print the desired patterns on cardstock, and color them with markers. Laminate the colored patterns, and then cut them out. Use a hole puncher to punch holes around the inner edges of the lacing card patterns. Kids can use shoestrings or yarn to lace the cards.
File Folder Games
File folder games are great for teaching children math, colors, letters, reading, and letter sounds. The simplest way to make file folder games is to download free templates off the Internet. Once you have the file folder game templates, color the game pieces, cut them out, and glue them in the appropriate places on manila folders. Laminate the file folder games so they’ll last longer.
Matching games can improve memory, focus, and concentration. To make matching games, color and cut out the desired patterns. There should be two identical versions of each pattern. Once the patterns are cut out, glue them on index cards (one picture per index card). Laminate the finished game cards for durability.
Teacher-made resources can also be used to liven up learning centers. For example, you can make theme boxes to put in the dramatic play area of your classroom or home childcare. For a bakery theme, you might label a box and fill it with rolling pins, cookie cutters, aprons, pie tins, muffin liners, empty cake mix boxes, and empty icing containers.
Magnetic storyboards can bring stories to life, and improve children’s language skills. To make magnetic storyboards, find simple patterns of storybook characters, and copy or print them on cardstock. The Internet is a goldmine for printable storybook patterns. Color the patterns, laminate them, and cut them out. Attach small magnets to the backs of the laminated cutouts. You can stick the story pieces to a cookie sheet or other metal surface.
Teacher-made resources like lacing cards, matching games, file folder games, magnetic storyboards, and theme boxes are budget-friendly, reusable, and can be tailored to fit any lesson plan.