The Ultimate List of Daycare Supplies & Equipment

Teacher and child playing - List of childcare supplies - illumine
Neelabja Adkuloo

Neelabja Adkuloo

Published 21st Nov 2022

If you’re a first-time childcare center owner, your nerves may be getting the best of you.

It’s always tricky to navigate the long list of essential daycare supplies and equipment without feeling like you’re breaking the bank.

 To help you manage your daycare budget, we’ve rounded up an exhaustive list of age-appropriate materials for toddlers and infants.

Now, all you have to do is carve out time to go on a shopping spree for this specific equipment!

Table of Contents

What are daycare supplies?

Infants and toddlers learn best from hands-on experiences and interactions. 

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, it is mandatory for a childcare center operating for over 3 hours to provide children daily access to interest areas for promoting exploration, creativity, problem-solving, and social interaction. This means they should be supplied with equipment for daycare within their area of interest to play at their own pace and to develop physically, emotionally, socially, and cognitively. 

The daycare supplies should:

  • be routinely rotated and provided both indoors and outdoors to expand the child’s interests
  • promote acceptance of diversity (culture, race, gender, age) 
  • be age-appropriate, high-quality, well-maintained, and accessible to all kids so that they can reach and use them
  • be in line with every child’s developmental capabilities
  • be well arranged for mixed-age kid groups to support different types of play

Download printable pdf checklist

102 must-have supplies for daycare

While investing in equipment for daycare, check with your local state requirements to verify any rules and regulations you must meet regarding the daycare supplies you purchase.

Drama activity materials

Drama classes for kids - List of childcare supplies - illumine

Props such as soft dolls, doll accessories, toy telephones, and play buildings encourage children to expand their creative horizons and repurpose the materials to get their imagination running.

  1. Culturally diverse action figures and adult figure dolls 
  2. Soft animals with building accessories, like a barn or a cage
  3. Cardboard boxes to build props such as furniture or a crown for a king
  4. Caps and costumes for different weather and jobs
  5. Flags of different nationalities
  6. Cultural artifacts such as blankets and fabrics
  7. Child-sized pots, pans, spoons, stoves, dishes, and ladles
  8. Child-sized bucket, mop, broom, dust pan 
  9. Toy telephone
  10. Prop boxes for themes such as a vet’s clinic, restaurant, hospital, or a campsite

Fine and gross motor supplies

Grasping and manipulating small and large objects helps a child engage in developmentally appropriate practices. While kids can boost their fine motor skills by exercising smaller muscles, they can improve their gross motor skills by making large muscle movements required for sitting, crawling, and running.

11. Stacking rings and shape sorters

12. Teething toys for infants, such as a rattle

13. Beads and balls of different colors and sizes 

14. Measuring cups with rounded edges and lids 

15. Board games and puzzles

16. Wooden straws and sticks 

17. Pegs to hang on the walls

18. Child-safe sewing materials like buttons and wool

19. Mittens and gloves

20. Riding toys like scooters and a tricycle

Block activity equipment

Interlocking or metallic blocks of different colors, shapes, sizes, and textures can activate the children’s senses and help them build what they envision, making it a must-have choice for daycare supplies.

21. Small interlocking blocks for building a castle, a building, and a mode of transportation

22. Medium or large interlocking blocks, like Lego

23. Magnetic blocks, like Tinker Toys

24. Lightweight, soft blocks for infants that may or may not make noise

25. Foam containers

26. Discarded crates

27. Hollow blocks with both sides open

28. Cardboard blocks

29. Wooden blocks 

30. Building block action figures


Download printable pdf checklist

Preschool equipment for reading zone

Apart from ensuring you’ve age-appropriate material in the reading zone for preschoolers, a couple of child-sized chairs, soft pillows, and green planters can enliven the room and motivate them to curl up with their favorite book.

31. Comfy seating, like floor cushions

32. Storage options for your books

33. Indoor plants

34. Wall shelves 

35. Bookcase

36. Preschool supplies like behavior charts to brighten up the reading room

37. Soft rugs and mats

38. Bean bags

39. Fur throw

40. Mood lighting for extra ambiance

Music and movement supplies

Dancing can be accompanied by playing songs to give the children a pause between activities. However, they shouldn’t be left on as background music since it’s shown to affect memory tasks in toddlers adversely. 

41. Rattles, windchimes, and toys with bells inside them

42. Headphones 

43. Cultural dance videos

44. Cultural music in diverse languages 

45. Music tapes carrying age-appropriate song genres like nursery rhymes, folk songs, classics, blues, and jazz tunes

46. Culturally distinct costumes worn during local dances

47. Music boxes or musical mobiles

48. Child-appropriate musical instruments like guitar, harmonica, banjo, piano, xylophones, drums, tambourines, and cymbals

49. Pompoms for daycare dances

50. Scarves and capes

Math and science activity materials

Young girl child learning abacus - List of childcare supplies - illumine

A daycare supply list is incomplete without materials that allow kids to explore quantity, size, and shape and discover flora and fauna in the natural world. As children age, you’ll need to start investing in more STEM toys to boost their academic temperament.

51. Balance scale and weights

52. Magnetic shapes and numbers (or numbers and shapes books)

53. Games like dominos, number lotto, playing cards, and dice

54. Ruler and a meter tape

55. Geometry set

56. Calculator and stopwatch

57. Natural items like flowers, shells, rocks, sand, twigs, branches, and terrarium

58. Globe, atlas, and a map

59. Worm composter

60. Magnifying glass

Health and safety gear

When you’re running a daycare, the safety and well-being of the kids are your number one priority. By buying the right daycare supplies, you will be prepared to avoid any untoward incidents or accidents.

61. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

62. First aid kit, comprising a thermometer, gauze, bandage, antiseptic cream, disinfectant, etc.

63. Electrical outlet cover

64. Fire extinguisher

65. Child lock for cabinets and shelves

66. Child-safe door knob cover

67. Safety gate

68. Ice pack

69. Hand sanitizer and a liquid hand soap

70. Disposable hand gloves

Download printable pdf checklist

Kitchen and cleaning equipment

Kids are messy, so your daycare can be a breeding ground for germs if you don’t follow a proper sanitizing routine. Especially in the wake of COVID-19-related school closures, areas like the kitchen and common toilets require a rigid cleaning routine.

71. Glass and multi-surface disinfectant cleaning liquid

72. Vacuum cleaner

73. Bleach

74. Dishwasher

75. Cleaning cloths

76 .Cooking utensils

77. Eating utensils like knives and forks

78. Paper towels

79. Sippy cups for children

80. A week’s supply of food stock preserved in a freezer

Furniture equipment for daycare

Ensuring you have ample furniture for your daycare is essential to running it smoothly. Suppose you have more children than chairs in a classroom. In that case, chaos can quickly ensue, with children fighting over seating.

81. Cribs and strollers for infants

82. High chairs for adults and low chairs for toddlers

83. Tables of appropriate height for children to write, draw and eat

84. Storage space for children’s belongings

85. Booster seats

86. Nap mats

87. Step stools

88. Child-safe mirrors

89. Soft blankets and pillows

90. Wheelchair or a walker to make the daycare accessible for all

Learning from home can be just as fun as learning in a classroom. With a little planning and imagination, you can transform your home into an ideal school environment where your child will be safe, comfortable, and motivated.

Childcare technology

Technology can drive much-needed innovation in childcare centers, engaging kids in key skills such as computational thinking that will empower them to become global digital citizens of tomorrow. It can also help eliminate manual tasks that eat up a teacher’s or an administrator’s time and pull them away from their center of attention: children.

91. Interactive screens

92. SMART Boards

93. Augmented reality games and toys

94. Digital camera

95. iPad, tablet, and smartphone

96. Play-based digital language tools, like talking books

97. Digital word banks

98. Word processors

99. Computers

100. Printer

101. Bluetooth-enabled speakers

102. Illumine

Download printable pdf checklist

Optimize your childcare business with Illumine

Being a childcare center owner can be taxing, with operational tasks constantly demanding your attention and time. Illumine automates your repetitive administrative duties to help you attend to children and their families and focus on growing your business. 

Trusted by hundreds of childcare centers worldwide, you can make the most of this technological equipment for daycare in the following ways:

  • Real-time activity updates in the parent communication app
  • Contactless check-in and check-out for students and staff
  • Security daycare supplies, including CCTV streaming and bus tracking

Whether you’re running an in-home center or a franchise childcare business, one thing’s for sure: your daycare supplies list is incomplete without Illumine. Get a free demo today to streamline your childcare center operations.

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