The Ultimate Home Daycare Supplies List
When deciding what you actually need to operate a home daycare, start by going through your whole day from when children arrive till when they leave.
Take into consideration the number of kids you plan on having and the activities you plan on doing.
You might be surprised that you don’t need too much stuff. Don’t be afraid to ask around to friends and family if they have any supplies that they don’t need anymore.
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Everything You Need To Start A Home Daycare
1. Front Entry Essentials
Ask yourself where are the kids going to put their jackets and shoes?
Do you need
- A coat rack
- A shoe rack
- Name labels
You don’t want this area to be a dumping ground. Have an organized space, where each child knows where his or her stuff goes. The last thing you need at the end of the day is to be searching your house for a shoe.
2. Play Area Must-Haves
Designate an area in your home as the “play area”. Think about area’s can children play in and what areas can the children not play in.
How are you going to store toys? You can use one big toy bin or a cubby with bins.
You don’t need a ton of toys. The more toys you have the more toys you’ll have to clean up and organize. Oh and don’t forget sanitize. You’re better off having fewer toys out at a time and rotating toys on a weekly or monthly basis. Too many toys often overwhelm kids anyways.
Try to have age appropriate toys. But don’t worry about having gender specific toys, let kids decide what they want to play with. However, remember small toys for older kids are choking hazards for smaller children. A general rule is if the toy can fit into a toilet paper roll it’s too small.
Don’t use your favorite books for your home daycare. Buy books that you won’t care if they get ripped, chewed or puked on. Have a variety of age appropriate books on hand. Books make a great quiet time activity.
Art and Craft Supplies
Oh, the mess but crafts are so much fun. Parents love to see that their children are having fun and creating masterpieces. Craft supplies don’t need to be expensive. Reuse items in your home or check out your local buy and sell for craft supplies. You can also post a “wanted ad” for free leftover craft supplies for your home daycare.
- Paints & Brushes
- Safety scissors
3. Outside Play Area Considerations
Are you planning on having an outside play area? Here are some questions to ask yourself about your outdoor space.
Is the area fenced in?
What safety measures do you need to implement? (Lock on the gate)
Where are you going to store outdoor toys?
Think about the age ranges. How are you going to entertain infants at the same time as toddlers?
- Water Table
- Play pool
- Sports equipment
- Picnic table
Stay away from trampolines and bouncy castles. They are not worth the legal and insurance hassles.
4. Meal Time Supplies
Ask any kid, snacks are important!!!!!! To have everything run smoothly to make sure you have enough supplies for everyone. Start by figuring out where your eating area is going to be. Are you going to use a kid-sized table, high chairs or have booster seats at your dining room table?
Have multiple sets of unbreakable dishes. You don’t want to be doing dishes all day. We recommend 2 plates, 1 bowl, 2 forks, 2 spoons and 2 cups per toddler/preschool age children. This should give you enough options for breakfast, lunch, and snacks. You may need to increase or decrease these numbers. Also, bibs are also a must.
5. Sleeping/Quiet Time
Figure out where the children are going to nap? Are you using a spare room? Mats on the floor? Are you planning on supplying the bedding?
Make sure you have a white noise maker. It will help you get multiple kids to sleep in the same space.
How are you going to handle quiet time with older children? It’s helpful to have separate quiet time toys and activities
Think about where you plan on changing younger children. Parents should be providing you with diapering supplies. Diapers are expensive and you can’t possibly stock that many different sizes and brands. Make sure parents supply with lots of extra of diapers. The last thing you want is to run out. But think about where you’re going to keep each children supplies?
- Change table
- Change Pad
- Diaper caddy
Potty training supplies.
Your goal should be to set up children to independently go potty on their own. Of course, you’re still going to assist with wiping but you should set them up to feel confident to go to the washroom on their own.
- Little potty (not all kids like to use a potty seat on the big potty, so have a little potty on hand too)
- Potty seat
- Stool for toilet
- Stools for washing hands
- Faucet extender
Are you providing transportation for your home daycare? If so, do you have enough car seats? Are you requiring a parent to provide car seats?
You don’t want to be stuck in the house the whole day. What do you need to transport the children to the park? Do you have a big enough stroller? Or wagon.
8. Office Equipment
9. Cleaning Supplies
10. Safety Equipment Considerations
Go around all your designated home daycare areas and determine what you need to make these areas safe for children.
Don’t go out and buy brand new stuff. Get as much as you can used. Look for extra high chairs, toddler bed, kids tables, and toys at thrift stores. Local buy and sell groups often have great deals too but keep in mind that without a receipt you will not be able to write used items off as an expense.
*In the USA, if you shop at garage sales you can write up your own receipt and have the seller sign it. You need to include the date, a description of the item, the price and the signature from the seller.
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