Dollar Store Teacher Hacks!

Fun post idea from Lauren P — thank you! 🙂

We are approaching the time of year when a new team of teachers will be hired, and they’ll excitedly begin planning and preparing for their first classrooms. As a novice teacher you are starting from the ground up, and buying supplies for a classroom can be very costly. Here are a few quality items that can be purchased at your local dollar store to help supply your classroom without breaking the bank.

Plastic shoe boxes. These are an asset to the classroom and can be used for many different purposes! They can be used to hold art supplies, math manipulatives, as goal bins for IEP students, etc…You can find them in sets and they also come with lids, which are great for stacking in a small space.

Plastic storage containers. They come in many shapes and sizes and also have lids for easy stacking and keeping prepped items for word work, art, or math. The smaller containers can be used to hold dice for math games. The kids can shake the entire container so the dice stay in one spot.

Dice. They are lost many times during different classroom activities and some math activities require each student to have a set. Many times the dollar store sells them in big packs. Foam dice can also be found, which will allow for a quieter math time.

Clothespins. Clothespins can be used to place students in different centers or used as a placeholder when students borrow books from the classroom library.

Utensil caddies. These come in many different colors and have different compartments to hold supplies. The caddies can be used to hold pencils, crayons, markers, scissors, etc…

Ziploc bags. These are also sold in different sizes. In early childhood the sandwich size bags are used the most. Make sure the bags have an actual locking system and they are not the sandwich bags that fold over. The bags are used to hold items for word work, manipulatives for math games, lost teeth, art supplies for a class project, etc… If you are reusing the items that are in the bags, they can be stored away in a plastic shoe box! Bigger Ziploc bags can be used as book baggies for reading workshop.

Plastic baskets. Plastic baskets can be used to hold books for your classroom libraries and come in a variety of colors. I would suggest buying more than you need. After a while these bins can break, but can be easily swapped out if you have extra.

Magnetic boards or clipboards. A class set is more of an investment, but can last for several years and be used in every subject. Perfect for rug activities, active engagement, word study, observation inquiry, etc. Plus these “professional” tools are appealing and motivating!

These are just some of the items that can be found at the local dollar store. Every time you go it feels like a treasure hunt. And the last few bits of advice are to start shopping early and when you see something you like, BUY IT! There are many other teachers that shop in the dollar store and things will be gone before you know it. Happy dollar store hunting!


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