These are a few of my favorite things... {non-traditional homeschool supplies}


Parents of preschoolers and little ones: ready to bust boredom, and inject some creativity and artful learning into your homeschool day? 

Young kids are built to move, to create and build  - and that's exactly what these unconventional supplies encourage.

Weave these unexpected, inexpensive supplies into everyday learning to up-level the fun-factor in your homeschool program!

For those of you who enjoy hearing AND seeing, be sure to check out the full video above!


1. India Ink

A beautiful medium for creating strongpunchy bold lines, India Ink is a unique tool to create expressive portraits,  working BIG on easel paper, or creating fun script, alphabet letters and numbers. Available on Amazon or Michaels, I offer a BIG disclaimer: India Ink is highly staining. So get outside, and don those big sloppy smocks!

2. Sharpie

Fine-line Sharpie markers are not for the faint of heart, as they are as highly staining as India Ink, but they're much more portable and flexible in use. A great medium for creating strong contour lines (outlined drawings), encouraging children to "commit" their drawings to paper (unlike pencil which can be erased and re-erased until a hole appears!} I love to use Sharpie in conjunction with watercolor - the bold lines of the Sharpie, paired with the softness of liquid watercolour creates the most magical effect.

3. Liquid Watercolor

Just as it sounds, color in transparent liquid form is one of the most impactful media your child will explore, lending itself to countless process art techniques. "Watch the colors dance" is one of my favorite ways to describe the movement when one color meets another. Add salt and listen for "oohs and aahs" from your children with this science-infused experience.

 4. Wire

One unusual tool that allows our children to explore more sculpturally is wire. Wire can be used to create mobiles, self-portraits, a great fastening solution for STEM related projects, and so much more. Wire is a wonderful tool of expression for your child's hundred languages, and encourages in our kids a different way of thinking as they move from 2D to 3D. 

5. Ooly Watercolor Paint Pods

For the mess-averse homeschool families, these pan-style watercolors provide a gorgeous shot of color and last a very long time. These are a fabulous alternative to liquid watercolor, anywhere and everywhere your child needs a splash of color - with limited mess!

5. Clay

There's something so special about being able to manipulate and work with our fingers using this raw ingredient from the earth. For those of us without a kiln, air-dry clay is a great alternative and very inexpensive. Once again, encouraging our children to change perspective of thought as they move from the 2D plane to a more sculptural way of thinking.

6. Loose Parts

Loose parts are open-ended materials that can be re-purposed, re-imagined and re-configured in a myriad. They open the child's imagination as children, and offer endless possibilities for deep, sustained play. Magda Gerber, founder of the RIE movement, reminded us that Passive Toy = Active Child. The less the toy does for your child, the more active imagining and creative thinking your child must do. There are many kinds of loose parts, ranging from crafty to recycledLoose parts can be used in art-making, mathematics, and small world play. 


7. Plasticine

The #1 winner for "unconventional supply" in our household is  plasticine - also known as modelling clay. This oil-based product is inexpensive, available at the Dollar store, and never dries out. Plasticine is a beautiful medium for children who are always "on the go" - our kinesthetic learners, who need to be actively moving to learn. It is also a great tool for working those fine motor skills.

I hope these supplies encouraged your willingness to experiment with a few new supplies. Offering children a variety of tools to show their thinking is a beautiful way to strengthen their fluency in the language of art and their many ways of knowing.  Introduce these tools slowly, play and muck about with them, and then offer a few out-of-the box invitations to create and watch their creativity soar!

If you enjoyed this blog post, and are looking for a play-based, artful curriculum for your little one (K-1) this fall, join our waitlist for Artful Teaching. Joyful Learning. All-in-One Curriculum. Doors open in August!




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