I would love an endless budget for Aistear, but unfortunately I don’t so I just have to make the most of what I have while keeping an eye out for a bargain.
I would recommend getting a children’s gazebo if you have the room in your classroom. While it provides a great set up for the play area, it also stores all the toys when not it use. I got my gazebo in Home Store and More and it’s on offer again for €20, which is great value for money in my opinion.
For the socio-dramatic area, key resources are the kitchen, tea set and food that you may have in your home corner. Some dress up clothes are nice to have, however they are not essential. I always keep a selection of scarves and things to add to the area. A doctors set can often be used for different topics, the doctor, the vet. I keep these sets in my store room for when I need them.
Many of my Aistear resources have been donated by parents in the school and also my own family, which helps to build up a bank of resources for each topic. I store resources for certain topics such as The Dentist, The Doctor in plastic containers and only bring them out when needed.
For the construction area, I would love the Jaggo blocks but they don’t come under my budget. I bought a giant Jenga set on Amazon, it’s not as giant as I thought it would be, but it works. I also got a set of Melissa and Doug Jumbo cardboard blocks which the class love for bigger constructions. Find them on amazon by clicking here.
For my small world area, it was hard to find toys that were not gender specific. However I got the dolls house in ToysRUs. At the time they would deliver to a collection store in Dublin. However with Parcel Motel, you could get it delivered to a location closer to you. The dolls house I bought can be found by clicking here. It comes with lots of dolls and accessories, and while it may be a little expensive it is a worthwhile spend. Other key resources for this area are small cars and other vehicles, farm animals, wild animals and sea animals, farm vehicles and play mat. I also like to have a car map with a road on it for this area too.
In the sand area, I am lucky to have a sand tray. In the sand tray I add spades, buckets, water wheel, sieves and other sand toys, they are easily available at this stage of the year and often get reduced as we head towards the Autumn.
Junk Art materials are often what is available in the class, pipecleaners, lots of sellotape, buttons, beads, paint etc. I often ask the parents for cereal boxes, shoe boxes and smaller boxes depending on the topic and what the children will need. The children themselves are keen to bring in their own boxes for Junk Art.
Here are some of the resources in my room, over the last 5 years I have accumulated a range of resources, too many to mention here. If I find any bargains I will add them to my facebook page.