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Classroom Supplies For Your K-1 Classroom

The Classroom Supply Question You Ask Yourself EVERY Year

No matter if you are a first year or veteran teacher there’s one question that you ask yourself every year. “What classroom supplies do I need for next year?”

We even ask our teacher friends, “What are you ordering next year?”

And if you’ve just finished the year, you are probably wondering, “What do I still have and what do I need to buy?”

 

What Do I Need For My Classroom?

Teaching requires a lot of stuff. Gone are the days (thank the heavens) of the teacher sitting up in front of the class with a piece of chalk in hand spewing on for hours.

The fact is, teachers in kindergarten and first grade classrooms need more supplies and materials than they needed 20 years ago.

And the list keeps growing and growing and growing. You are going to add to it too. 

Affiliate Discloser

In the spirit of transparency and honesty I must disclose:

Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that I have experience with, or have seen the value of all of these resources for teachers, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals. 

As always, if you have any questions about any of the resources for teachers found on this page I'd be very happy to help you.  I am here for you. 

top graphic woman's hands stretching out an orange plastic slinky, bottom graphic, printed phonics game in a page protector

Supplies Every K-1 Classroom Needs

Now for some of the BASIC classroom supplies.

Some of these are pretty straightforward but I am just going to list them out for you so you have them.

Can I list all 200+. No way. Ask yourself, do you want to spend your time brainstorming over 200 classroom supplies so you can make sure you have what you need or use the list for inventory? I didn’t think so. Grab the Classroom Supply Checklist (Find The Link Below)and save yourself sometime. 

Until you get the list here are some of classroom supplies you will find in the download:

Teacher Binder

If you have time and money to invest in only one of the mentioned classroom supplies, this is the one I recommend. 

The teacher binder is a time saver, it makes you look good, it’s a professional planner for teachers.

I have done several posts and videos on this and because it is my wish to see you succeed beyond your expectations I provide a Teacher Binder Starter Kit every year, for free, for my teacher friends. So check out these posts and videos to get yours. 

Teacher Binder YouTube Video 1

Teacher Binder YouTube Video 2

Electric Pencil Sharpener

I NEVER let my kindergarten or first grade students use my electric pencil sharpener.  I learned the hard way that they don’t have the skills and they also think sharpening crayons and markers is a good idea.  No way. So I did the sharpening. 

(Rather I had a classroom helper do it. Middle school students or parent helpers.) I always had a big bunch of sharpened pencils on hand and a big bunch ready to be sharpened.

A little side story -That might save you a lot of money. 

I was at a teacher conference and there was a Costco table in the exhibit hall.  I walked by and said something to the gal about how I never let my students use my electric pencil sharpener.  She asked why and I let her know that kindergarten and first grade students like to destroy electric pencil sharpeners and I didn’t have that kind of money to be buying a new pencil sharpener every other month. 

She inquired why I hadn’t returned the pencil sharpener when they got ruined. I told her that it wasn’t a product defect but kinderminion behavior. She said it didn’t matter the cause, I could return it and get a new one.  Ummmm Really? 

Yep. That’s what she said.

So if you live by a Costco ask them to confirm and then make the decision on your pencil sharpening policy.

Electric Stapler

This classroom supply is another item that I didn’t know I needed until I got one.  I used to spend hours stapling little readers together.  I would send the task home to moms who wanted to help out but couldn’t come to the classroom. It took hours and hours and hours. And the hand held manual staplers work good but… uggg, it’s rough.

Nope, we’re not doin’ our hair. We’re removing permanent marker ink.

You know the feeling. You look across the room at a student using the big poster tip sharpie on the whiteboard.  Your teacher cape is at the dry cleaner so you have to run like a normal human into the developing carnage. It’s too late. Black sharpie ink is everywhere.  

You say to your student,  “2 things. First, that’s a permanent marker. See it says “Sharpie Permanent” and second, you wrote all your numbers and letters going the right way… Yah You!!!” 

But the fact remains, there’s permanent marker ink everywhere. Do you put a poster over it and pray your admin never sees the wreckage OR do you pull out the aerosol hairspray and give it a squirt? 

An electric stapler is a must if you are making work packets or paper leveled readers. A CLASSROOM SUPLY MUST. I like this one because You can adjust the staple depth. 

12 inch Paper Cutter

It happens with every art project. You run short on something and it is not easy to cut extra pieces quickly. And if you’ve spent 10 minutes in a K-1 classroom you know that as soon as you are distracted something’s going to happen and your smile is going to get turned upside down. 

So stay happy and get yourself a small paper cutter. Make sure it stays out of reach of little hands.

 You can pretty much figure out that you need crayons, construction paper, glue and disinfectant wipes. (Unless you’re a first year teacher and for you, there’s tons of  more towards the beginning of the post)

But you want in on some classroom supplies that are in the category of teacher hack. These are the tips that I found in my 25 years in the classroom mostly by accident. 

You know how it goes: you are sitting in a teacher friend's room and they do something or you see something that you’ve never seen before. Then they share their not so secret secret with you and “mic drop” teacher hack.

Bins and Baskets & Dry Erase Pockets

One time I counted how many bins or baskets I had and it was something crazy like 150.  I know that seems impossible but I’m telling you that if each kid has their own book box and you do stations or centers it’s easy to meet and exceed that number.

Don't forget the dry erase protectors These are awesome for printable games, handwriting and fine motor tracing practice, playdough mats, and so much more. 

Staple Puller

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used this hack. I’ve made the sharpie mistake, subs and kids and volunteers all have as well.  They all come to me terrified. But all is not lost.  Check out this little video below.  

Just a heads up.  This teacher hack works on non-porous, smooth surfaces. Paper, fabric, some hard surfaces like rough metal… not so much.

Staple pullers are the best. Don’t ruin your nails. I had a claw staple puller and the school nurse would always come borrow it. Every time it left my room I got small heart palpitations. Would she return it? Would I be left without my staple puller? Would the task of taking staples out of a wall or bulletin board take 20 minutes without my beloved tool or 5 minutes with my  tiny mighty friend?

Then one day it happened. I was using the staple puller and (dun, dun, dun) It walked away.  And that’s something you might not know, staple pullers, scissors, phones and car keys have legs.  So be warned. Get 2 staple pullers. Better safe than sorry.

Suction Spinners

These are cool. Full disclosure. I’ve never used these with kids. But I hear these suction spinners work tons better than a pencil and paperclip. I have used them on my own and they are pretty cool.

suction cup spinner on white table top, female hand pointing to spinner

Finger Lights

Finger lights are so fun.  If you have students that don’t like pointing at words while they read, then grab some of these finger lights. Kids love them and it really does help them to attend to text.

finger light on "The Blueberry Pancake Problem" picture book.

Rolling Cart

Rolling carts are handy for organizing weekly materials or stations. I used mine for stations. They can be a little cheap and wobbly but if you tighten them up with the allen wrench they do pretty good.

Laminator

If your school has a big laminator, use that one. However, sometimes you need one for home or small jobs. They are handy but the laminator film can get a bit pricey. This is the brand I got. I've never had any issues with this laminator.

Construction Paper Organizer

Having your construction paper organized and easily accessible is going to make you feel like a rock star. Don’t waste your time trying to organize it by stacking it in a supply closet. It seems like the color you need is the one that’s on the bottom. That stuff is heavy, and it’s frustrating when it gets all out of whack. A construction paper organizer isn’t the sturdiest but it is a little tool sent from heaven. Don’t over stuff it.

Student Mailboxes

The easiest way to hand back papers is with student mailboxes. In my opinion you can’t live without one. 

Don’t stuff the mailboxes yourself. There are lots of hacks on delegating mailbox stuffing to someone else. You have better things to do with your time.

Classroom Supply Overwhelm? Get The Checklist

We have just dipped our toe into the ocean that is classroom supplies. The number one, most important tool in your classroom is you.  That- is- the- truth. You are it my friend. Your students need you, not smelly markers, not personal sized whiteboards, not cases of playdough. You!!  So be confident that without all the stuff you are enough.

If you don’t get everything that you “need” for your classroom go look in the mirror and reevaluate because you do have it all. The rest is sprinkles on the cupcake.

Oddball Classroom Supplies That took me 20 Years To Find Out About

(Find Them At The End Of This Post)

Get TheClassroom Supply List Printable Now

Here’s your action plan for classroom supplies.

  1. Grab the classroom supply checklist
  2. Use it to take inventory of what you do have
  3. Highlight, annotate, and prioritize what you can get with the budget you have
  4.  Make a wish list or go-fund me page for the rest.  You’d be surprised how parents, grandparents, PTA will help out if only you would ask or be prepared when they ask.

3 Way To Use This Classroom Supply Checklist

Below you will find the printable “200+ Classroom Supplies For Your Early Primary Classroom” 

If you are like me I LOVE school supplies. Skip Channel #5 – I mean the smell of laminator film and fresh crayons… pure love!!

But how can you use this list? 

Here are a few ideas. 

How to use this Classroom Supply Checklist:

  1. Use it to take inventory of existing supplies
  2. Use it to order supplies for next year
  3. Add to it and customize it to your own needs
  4. Put it in your teacher binder for quick reference
  5. Give it to a teacher friend who asks “What are you ordering for next year.” 
  6. Use it for a go-fund-me page or PTA/PTO wishlist

Teachers Are The Most Important Tool In The Classroom

But before we get to the classroom supplies that you are going to need, let’s talk about the single most important thing your classroom needs… YOU!!

The past few years have taught us a lot about the importance of teachers and the role they play in keeping life “normal.” If you’re a teacher that’s not new news to you. 

If you’re like me, I became a teacher because I knew I’d be a good one. I knew I could be a positive influence in my students’ lives. 

What I didn’t know starting out was just how hard it would be. I didn’t know how much of my personal free time and money I would spend building a classroom I could be proud of, the kind of classroom I wanted to come to everyday and one my students loved. 

So before we start with all the bazillion things you need for your classroom, remember you are the most important. 

So say “no.” if you want. 

You are amazing without the gadgets and do-dads. 

You are enough without the fancy this and the pretty that. 

You are just what your students need. 

You are a person who wants to be a teacher. 

And that, my friend, is enough. 

But if you want an idea of the classroom supplies that will help you on your journey… this is the post for you. 

Oddball Must Have Classroom Supplies

small white board with a black ink squiggle on it. Women's hand hold can of hairspray nearby. Bottom graphic showing a small cookie sheet with a blue binderclip on the top attatching a piece of green paper to the cookie sheet.

5 Odd And Unknown Classroom Supplies Countdown

Sometimes you don’t even know you need a certain something or that a special little something is even available. This is a fun list. Let’s dive in. These are in no particular order. 

5-Aerosol Hairspray

Nope, we’re not doin’ our hair. We’re removing permanent marker ink.

You know the feeling. You look across the room at a student using the big poster tip sharpie on the whiteboard.  Your teacher cape is at the dry cleaner so you have to run like a normal human into the developing carnage. It’s too late. Black sharpie ink is everywhere.  

You say to your student,  “2 things. First, that’s a permanent marker. See it says “Sharpie Permanent” and second, you wrote all your numbers and letters going the right way… Yah You!!!” 

But the fact remains, there’s permanent marker ink everywhere. Do you put a poster over it and pray your admin never sees the wreckage OR do you pull out the aerosol hairspray and give it a squirt? 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used this hack. I’ve made the sharpie mistake, subs and kids and volunteers all have as well.  They all come to me terrified. But all is not lost.  Check out this little video below.  

Just a heads up.  This teacher hack works on non-porous, smooth surfaces. Paper, fabric, some hard surfaces like rough metal… not so much.

4-Coffee Filters

You heard me coffee filters. But we aren’t making coffee… at least not with all of them. (I do love me some coffee. How about you?)

Coffee Filters Bowls

If you buy one package of coffee filters it is going to last you the entire year. Use it during the popcorn party as a bow. The popcorn’s cheap, the bowls are cheap and the movie was cheap. 

Use it as a bowl when doing counting protects that require a bunch of small objects. I’m thinking beads, m&m’s, cheerios, you get the idea. Instead of giving them a handful, give it to them in a coffee filter and contain the chaos.

pile of popcorn, coffee filters, Lego pile, wood cubes, various shaped beads.

Use it as a name tag to mark projects.  It’s the end of the art project and you still have 5 sloth students not done with their project.

Give them a coffee filter and have them place their name on it. Then they pile up their stuff and put it on the back table. If they put their name on a piece of paper it’s going to get lost.

The coffee filter is just different enough that you aren’t going to have to go searching for it among the piles of art project construction paper. 

This also works great on unfinished lego creations, or anything else they want to label. It makes it feel special. 

And of course you are ready for the annual- color a coffee filter with a marker and squirt it with water project. 

3-Slinkies

I love to use slinkies to help kids who are tactile stretch letter sounds in words. If they are having a hard time hearing all the sounds in a word a slinky helps to make this abstract concept concrete.

woman hands stretching an orange slinky

Just hold it in front of you all squished together. Then as you pull it apart, say the word very slowly. Sloth style.

(Why is it that kids who do everything else sloth style can’t stretch letter sounds in words???? Hummm. Doctoral study anyone?)

Pro tip. Get slinkies and place them in a shoe box with cardstock dividers between them. Then you have everything contained. If the slinky gets twisted, as slinkies do, cut it at the kink. 

The kids can still use it and now you have two for the price of one.  (Does anyone else have the picture of an earth worm being pulled apart so that there are two instead of one.  Maybe it’s just my weird mind)

2-Cookie Sheet

Small cookie sheets are the bomb.

Why?  They are magnetic so you can use them with your magnetic letters at a station or during small group. 

They are dry erase friendly. If you don’t have enough mini dry erase whiteboards grab the small cookie sheets. Anytime you can give something different for kids to write on you get a little extra super power in that cape of yours. 

They can write on both sides so that is fun in some situations.

If you add a big binder clip you now have a clipboard. And you can clean it up easily if it gets grody gunk on it. Perfect for science projects or outdoor learning. 

Lastly, if you have a messy project or need a tray to contain pieces, a cookie sheet is perfect. It’s portable, it’s washable, magnetic, it stacks easily and it’s cheap. Told ya they were the bomb. 

The one and only thing that is a bummer is that they can get loud with all the clicking sounds that can potentially happen. I say it’s worth the risk. How about you. Are you going to get some cookie sheets for your classroom? I recommend a trip to the dollar store.

1-Scented Anything

Kids love anything scented. It’s the easiest way to take the fun and engagement to the next level. 

You know the usual: Smelly Stickers, Smelly Markers like Scentoes (My personal favorite.) But did you know that there are scented dry erase markers? (I tried to find them on Amazon for you but it looks like they are out. I'll keep looking and when I find something I'll post it here.) And just out, or at least I’ve never seen them, scented flair pens.  Whaaaat???? Scented flairs.  Who do I give my money to?

box of Mr. Sketch scented markers on a 12 inch wood paper cutter

A lightly scented star or smile scribbled on a paper is better than a foil star any day. Why? Well scented anything is  engaging their senses when they give it a quick sniff right after you place it on their paper and they aren’t going to peel that puppy off and wear it on their forehead and then lose it in the sink. 

It's not fun for you to fish gold stars out of the sink or see the giggle match as they try to outdo each other on where they are putting their stars… (Things They Don’t Teach You In College page 92 Chapter 4- Reason Parents Call You at 8:30 p.m.)

Classroom Supplies And How To Get Them- Ask

Whew!!! Do you think the rest of the world has a clue about all the classroom supplies you need for those kudos? Nope!!! Use this classroom supply list to make your teacher life easier. Use it to take inventory, or do your ordering. Or if someone asks you what you need for your classroom, circle a few items and send them a picture. I hope the amazon links help you to find what you need quickly on the few classroom supplies mentioned. (They are affiliate links and the disclosure is found in this post or here in my disclosure statement)

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Angie K

Angie K

I love to help teachers create an amazing teacher life.
I've taught for 25+ years and I want to help you find joy and energy in each day.

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