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Starting a Daycare? A List of Daycare Supplies You Will Need

Updated on December 14, 2014

Opening a daycare at home takes more than just getting a daycare license. You also need to turn your home into your place of business. Luckily, spending money on daycare supplies is usually the fun part of starting a daycare after taking your early childhood education classes and making sure you’ve met all the requirements for licensing. Although not completely exhaustive of all the daycare supplies you will need, this list will get you started.


You will need a lot of storage for both your supplies and for the kids. Some storage needs to be for the children to easily get the toys and put the toys away. You’ll want bins to put groups of large toys such as blocks in, shelves for individual toys so that the children can easily see what’s available, and a set of cubicles for each child to store their stuff, such as diaper bags, blankets, and a change of clothes. For your supplies, look for storage that allows you to put things like scissors up high and out of reach and cabinets you can lock to keep your manipulatives and other preschool teaching supplies stored away.

Infant and Preschool Toys

You will need several toys for each age group of children. Buy toys for the babies age 3 to 12 months, toddlers aged 12 to 36 months, and for school-aged children. Focus on buying toys that allow open ended play and let children experiment and develop their imagination. The fewer electronic toys you have the more children will create their own games and learn from their play. Less electronic toys will also mean no batteries to continuously replace and you won’t have to listen to an orchestra of obnoxious computer generated noises all day.

Some good toy ideas include train sets, blocks, cars, trucks, and balls.

Art Supplies

Art does not need to be directed for it to have value. In fact, kids that can create their own art will better develop their artistic side. Art also helps develop fine motor skills. So buy a large collection of art supplies and put out a sample of it at art time. No further instruction is necessary. Let the kids decide what to do with the stuff.

Art supply ideas – paint supplies, crayons, colored pencils, scissors, glue, and any craft supplies in the sale bin.


You can’t have too many books. Buy books designed for all ages and leave them out in a reading corner.


Another item you can’t have too much of is a selection children’s music. Buy or download nap time music, learning songs, and general goofy kids’ songs to use throughout the day.

Outside Preschool Playground Equipment

What and how much outside preschool playground equipment you buy when starting a daycare will greatly depend on the size and design of your yard. Get different types of items and of course, keep in mind the various age groups.

Outside preschool equipment ideas- bikes, scooters for babies, slides, playhouses, water table, and climbing structures. The water table can double as a sand table in the winter.

Walk to the Park

If you plan to take kids on a walk to the park then you will want strollers that can carry multiple children, wagons, and/or a walking rope. The walking rope allows a line of kids to hold one to a long rope that is led and ended by a supervising adult.

Cleaning Supplies

Not surprisingly, you will spend your day cleaning up messes. Keep your cleaning cabinet well stocked with rags, brooms, and nontoxic cleaners.

When starting your daycare, the daycare supplies list can seem never-ending and expensive. But you don’t have to buy everything brand new. Go to garage sales and thrift stores and you’ll be likely to find some of the more expensive items in good condition at a big discount.


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