In: My Childcare Mastery0

Toddler Classroom Shopping On A Budget

Hey you guys, this is your coach Andrea Dickerson with IOwnADaycare.com . And for today’s video, I want to give you a few of my toddler/one year old secrets of what I do to purchase items on a budget in our classrooms. So if you’re interested in finding out how to purchase items that toddlers will love, keep them busy and developmentally appropriate.

First let me say this, I was shopping for toddlers. I love getting into their world. I love being able to provided them with a YES room. You know, have you ever seen where we always tell toddlers, “No! Stop! Don’t! Quit! Sit down! Stop that! Put that back! Don’t you touch that!”? You know, we’re always giving toddlers no –no, no, no. And then by the time they’re two years old that’s all they know how to say is “no.”
Back to my story, I went to my local Wal-Mart and found several items that can be used in a childcare facility that were affordable and great tools for our toddlers. So if you guys are looking for a particular product that I used specifically, I’m going to leave the link below to those products of what I used to add more of a “yes” atmosphere in my classroom.

So the first thing I did was I bought mini flush balls.

Now you guys know toddlers love balls. One of the things that I was really afraid of was getting them something hard, so I found these for no more than a $1.88. So what did I do, I purchased all of their balls – foot balls, basket balls, soccer balls, base balls. I purchased them all.


I love them because they are plush with vinyl covering for easy wipe and cleaning. Also they’re just the right size for their little hands. And of course, you know they’re going to put it in their mouth HOWEVER the covering of it is so protective, it’s non pores. It could be bleached wiped back down, disinfected and ready for the next day’s use. These balls will probably last you about six months in a commercial childcare center.

Spark Create Imagine Shape Sorter, Teacher Directed Activity

Alright, so my next least expensive toy was only $8.88. It’s the “Spark, create and imagine shape sorter.” It’s a 15-piece shape sorter, it comes with the size of the shape to the top, and it also come with the 14 pieces inside of the shape sorter.

Now this is what we will call a teacher directed or small group activity, where we would encourage them with counting, hand-eye coordination, shape recognition, and also color recognition. And so, I felt like for $8.88 that it was worth it for me to get four of them. You can use it for sorting. You can use it for color recognition, and you can use it for hand-eye coordination of encouraging the students to put the matching block through the holes.

Spark Create Imagine String Shape Sorter

And then for another $8.88, I found this 47-piece-string shape container. So I love it because it’s in a container, it comes with 47 pieces and have the same concept of teaching children hand-eye coordination and their fine-motor skills of stringing. It comes with the strings inside, and it comes with several different sizes of shapes for sorting, color recognition, hand-eye coordination patterns. You know, it’s not too early for toddlers to begin to learn about patterns, and so this one is like full of so many different activities.

Outside Toy Balls

The next toy that I purchased was the out door balls. Toddlers love outside-play and they love playing ball. And so this one I know was like $5.88, and this is a jumbo tennis ball. And this is something that was soft to touch, and I feel like it will be a great ball for toddlers.


I believe that toddlers need big objects. I made a mistake of building my T1 classroom around a particular teacher. And when this particular teacher left my organization, the new teachers that I hired and bought on, they had no clue on how to help with the small manips that we had in the classroom. So one of the things that I had decided to do to make it easier for the classroom and for my brand to continue to have materials that’s appropriate for children, I decided to invest in larger toy items and less manips. So of course, I just showed you guys some of the manips that I purchased but they aren’t expensive. One of the things that you don’t want to do is to have a expensive manip in an infant/toddler class because they’re always coming up missing.

Purchasing Solid Cars and Trucks

One of the things that I know that they’re going to love are cars and trucks. And so I purchased a variety of cars and trucks, and these were like $3.88. They’re not heavy, heavy-duty but they’re solid. And what I mean by solid is, you don’t have a lot of gadgets going on, you don’t have any lights. You don’t have any batteries.

You don’t have any doors opening. All you have is just the major function of scooting, and that’s the basic learning function for toddlers, to able to scoot the vehicles.

And by doing so, they have so much more fun with it because it doesn’t have a lot of lights and things. So this was only, like I said, $3.88 so I racked up maybe five of them.

My Final Selections, Push and Pull Toys

Do you guys remember the push n’ pop toy? I hope that you guys do. This is made by Fisher Price so it’s a pretty good, solid brand. But I love it because, infant/toddlers like to pull, they like to push and tug at things.

Then of course the next thing I did was, I purchased this toy, this was only like $29.00. This is one of the most expensive ones I bought, but it’s a block scooping of fun. Blocks can literally be on the floor and make them ride over the blocks and get scooped up that way. And I thought that it was really fun, it’s a pull and push toy.

You know, toddlers love to pull and they love to push, so I thought that this will really good. And then it came with 20 blocks as well on the inside, so this was what we got for the pull and push. And when I saw it, I felt “wow, this will be awesome for them to see the blocks disappear and able to manipulate it because it’s a big toy.”
And so, the grand total is no more than $262. I feel really good about what I spent, PLUS I purchased a really large item for the infant room. However, most of the toys that we purchased were pre-assembled, there was only one piece that we had to put together, and the children are going to learn a lot. They’re going to discover a lot just by adding in cars, air planes, blocks, and creating an area where they can have the blocks and the toys set up together
I’m excited because the toddler one classroom area is inviting and it gives the children opportunity to learn to grow.


So thank you guys so much for going on the shopping trip with me, I really hope that you discover several pieces that you can add into your toddler program, and be sure to leave your comments and toys suggestion below!

Talk to you soon!
Remember: If You Manage The Childcare Business You Love, You Will Love The Childcare Business You Manage