Supplying Your STEM Stations on a BudgetHey y'all! I have had some questions lately about how to supply STEAM stations or maker spaces on a budget. There are so many amazing activities out there and budget should not be the deciding factor on whether or not your kids get to do them. Here's what I use to get these supplies on a dime:
1. The school's supply closet
This is the first place I check. Our school has a stash of things like construction paper, index cards, chart paper, markers, etc. We also have a supply drawer of things in our break room that people have left like popsicle sticks, paper cups, droppers, straws, etc. These little supply stashes have definitely helped out in a pinch.
2. STEM kits
Our school purchased STEM kits at the beginning of the year. They're full of clay, tin foil, paper sacks, and other supplies. Ask your coach or admin if your district has any of these. They have been a significant source of supplies for our school.
3. Dollar Tree
If you don't have access to STEM kits or a supply closet, Dollar Tree has almost everything you need for a fantastic STEAM lesson or maker space. I can almost always find popsicle sticks, index cards, tin foil, fuzzy pom poms, and more. I usually get storage containers for supplies here as well.
4. Bullseye's Playground
I keep an eye out in the Target dollar spot all year long for things like blocks, erasers, straws, and anything else I might be able to use. The supplies are usually $1 and last at least a couple of uses.
5. Scavenger hunts
We save things like toilet paper rolls and mismatched socks all year long. I keep a lookout for supplies in clearance sections of just about every store we go into. (Even my own kids head straight for the clearance section when we enter stores.) Trader Joe's is very generous in donating paper sacks for classrooms.
6. Parent requests
The night before one activity, I realized I was completely out of plastic spoons. I was done for the night so I sent a Class Dojo message to my parents asking if anyone had any extra plastic spoons. We now have enough spoons to last us the rest of the school year. Ask and you shall receive. You can even send out a wish list of STEM supplies to your parents a couple times a year.
7. Hobby Lobby/ Michaels
This is usually my last stop for supplies. While I LOVE Hobby Lobby and Michaels and could shop there all day, I don't want to spend all my money on classroom supplies. Thankfully, the things I typically purchase there are fairly inexpensive. I can grab a package of jumbo popsicle sticks or a few packages of pipe cleaners or scrapbook paper once or twice a year and we're good. (These are also great things to add to your parent supply requests.)
These are just some of the ways that I find supplies on the cheap. Occasionally, I order from Amazon, but most supplies are pretty accessible in these places. What other places would you add? Let me know in the comments. Stay tuned for more resources coming soon.