Jul 29, 2017

Back to School Must-Haves: 5 Items your Students NEED!

I found some Back to School supplies and activities that are a must-have for your Preschool, Kindergarten, or First (1st) grade classroom! Games that develop logical thinking skills and spatial reasoning abilities. A classroom rug that reinforces math and counting. Activity books that are fun, age-appropriate and include "sneaky learning." Stinky Wiggly Worm stickers for your Apple Themed unit. Something for your Polar Animals or Penguins unit. And more! Come take a look at what I ordered, and learn more about MPM School Supplies, too!
Yay! It's here!
I love getting boxes of stuff delivered. I'm sure you can relate! There's something about opening your front door to find your box of ordered goods sitting there waiting for you to open them.

For the last few days, I have been eagerly waiting for some Back-to-School items from MPMSchoolSupplies.com to arrive. 
I found some really awesome resources for this upcoming school year.

I was asked to give a honest review of the items I received, as well as of my experience with the company they came from. Since school is not yet in session, and I was too eager to wait, I decided to go ahead and try them out with my Kindergartener...who, might I add, was super excited to be my helper.

The Resources
So let's take a better look at what was in my box. (Pssst....#1 &#2 are my favorites!)
1. Melissa and Doug Hop & Count Hopscotch Rug
I knew that this rug was going to be a lot of fun, but, oh my, was I super impressed after we tried it out!

The back of the box show directions on how to play the traditional way.
 Now, I had initially ordered it simply thinking that it would be a fun resource for helping Kindergarteners learn to count to 10. However, I was pleased to find that underneath the directions were listed some variations and even extension activities that can be used with the game and rug!
 The rug itself is so beautiful. Very, very bright, as you can see from the non-edited photo. For both outdoor or indoor use, it has a rubber backing so that it does not slip while the kids are jumping around on it.
The border around the rug is thickly reinforced to prevent fraying. There were no stray threads in the binding (another pet peeve of mine that products sometimes have coming brand new out of a box).
The hopscotch rug measures 78.5" x 26.5" and is also stain-resistent and washable.
 It comes with two colorful beanbags in orange and yellow. One of the beanbags did have large product tags on it, so I took scissors and carefully cut them off so that they weren't in the way while the kids played.
 This was my daughters first time learning the true way to play hopscotch. She loved holding the beanbags and they really were a perfect size for her little hands.
The rug was soft for jumping on. She was barefoot playing the game, but I think it would have been absolutely fine with shoes on as well.
 
The two beanbags allow for two kids to play at a time, but she was the only one outside with me so she wanted to "be" both players!
For those not familiar, with hopscotch, you start out throwing the beanbag on number 1. Then you skip that number and hop on all the rest, making sure to turn around at 10 and come back to the beginning. Then you throw it on the next number and keep going until you get to number 10. I love the concentration and focus she had to use as each number presented a harder challenge than the one before!

 She was having so much fun, that her older brother (going into 2nd) came out to check out what all the fuss was about.
 He was instantly engaged and wanted to play too!
 He was up for the challenge of collecting his beanbag on his way hopping back to the beginning!
 I love how this game teaches and encourages them to take turns and cheer each other on! Nothing makes a momma more happy than seeing her children praising each other...well, besides if they spontaneously cleaned their rooms without me asking, haha!
 I highly recommend this rug! It's very affordable and the quality is incomparable. I would recommend it for ages 3-10. I love that you can use it inside your classroom and then just allow students to roll it up and take it outside for recess as well.
Melissa & Doug Hop & Count Hopscotch Rug

Tons of other affordable classroom rugs were also available at MPMSchoolSupplies. You can find them HERE.


2. Penguins on Ice
I ordered this game to go along with our Polar Animals unit during the winter season. (Yes, I know, thinking ahead!) This game offers a fun way for students to develop logical thinking skills and spatial reasoning abilities. Plus, let's admit it, it's just downright adorable! 

The back of the box gives an example of what the game and pieces looks like: 

The blue tray was quite a bit smaller than I was expecting, but then I realized that if it were larger, then the pieces would have to be larger and that might make it more difficult for students to use.

Five penguin ice floes are included of various shapes. The penguins slide up and down on the pieces, causing the pieces to take a new form. This alone take the game to a whole new level!


Did I mention already how CUTE the penguins are? Ok, just checking!


 A Challenge Book is included for kids to use. It offers Starter, Junior, Expert, and Master challenges. As well as...answer keys! (Phew, thank goodness, haha!)

Students must work to put the penguins in the matching places on the blue game tray.

Directions are included in the front inside cover of the Challenge Book:

This is what Starter challenges looks like:

Here are some Junior challenges:

And a sample of Expert challenges:

And finally, some of the Master challenges:

Thank goodness for Answer Keys! {wink!}

 My kids wanted to instantly start with the Master challenges, but quickly learned they needed to start with the Starter ones first. This is my son, who is going into 2nd grade, attempting to solve some of the Starter challenges. He didn't realize at first that the penguin his right hand is touching, slides up and down the ice floe, creating a new shape for the piece.

 It took him a good fifteen minutes before figuring out the first Starter challenge! Even my husband took a stab at helping him out. (Were we just making this more complicated than it needed to be? Or do we as a family just need more practice on our logical thinking skills, lol!)

I loved watching him think as he worked. It's actually a lot harder than you may think! Take a try yourself, you might be surprised!

I very highly recommend this game! It's a ton of fun and will be a great surprise to pull out during our Polar Animals unit. I'm thinking the kids can do it at indoor recess as well.

You can find Penguins on Ice and other games like it under the Critical Thinking Games tab at MPM School Supplies.


3. Mazes, Dot-to-Dot, & Word Search Activity Books
 I ordered these activity books with fast finishers in mind. I picked the Front of the Class K-1 Word Searches and the K-1 Mazes & Dot-to-Dots.
When first opening them out of the box, I was surprised to see how thick the books were! I guess I hadn't thoroughly read the description that says they are over 300 pages in each. I was expecting 20 or so pages. (Yes, I realize I'm admitting to not paying attention to the details! Ah!) So that was a nice surprise.

I quickly realized, after browsing the Table of Contents for both books, that I had hit the jack-pot. These can apply to many of my themes throughout the year!
For example, I saw "Living Things" from the K-1 Word Searches book right away, which is covered for the Next Generations Science Standards. What a fun, age-appropriate, and "sneaky learning" (as I like to call it) activity to add to that unit!

Another example from the K-1 Mazes & Dot-to-Dots book is this Fire Truck maze, which will be perfect during Fire Safety week! 
And the two above mentioned are just a small few of the themes that will fit into our curriculum throughout the year. Themes include animals, people, places, food, weather, sounds, feelings, sports, shapes, colors, and more.

Let me show you, in more detail, what some of the inside pages of these books look like.

In the Word Search book,
the puzzles help students build alphabet comprehension, word recognition, and thinking skills.

My daughter was super excited to try one of these mazes. I like to have the kiddos use highlighters when they find the words. Yes, I realize that that sometimes means the paper winds up kind of messy, but it's just how I prefer them to do it. They can also use yellow, orange, pink, or green crayons.
For the classroom though, I think it'd be best to laminate the pages so that students can use dry-erase markers and reuse over and over again. Or put them in dry-erase pockets.

The one downside to these mazes, is that I felt the pages were too thin. As you can see in the photo, the pictures from the opposite sides show through. While that's not the end of the world, it is a bit of a bummer. I wouldn't let that keep you from trying this book out though. 

Here's another word search that will go along perfectly with our weather unit. This one is more advanced in that it has more words to look for, plus it does not include pictures next to the words. 

And here's one more:

Remember, there are over 300 pages of these included! Wow!


The Mazes & Dot-to-Dots book,
allows students to practice upper and lower case alphabet and numbers. It also increases critical thinking skills as they work to solve mazes of different difficulties and hidden picture games.

Differentiation is easy to do with this book. The puzzles range from simple 5-lettered alphabet mazes,
to full alphabet mazes in either upper or lower case.

Same goes for the number puzzles. You can choose exactly which level of puzzle would best meet the needs of your student.

Here's one that goes up to 15.

 The mazes are also available in super-easy to challenging.

They leave room for students to color the pictures on the page if they so choose.

And they include fun themes, like this Fire Truck one!


I am all about resources that will improve concentration and critical thinking skills!

Now I'm wishing I had ordered the others in the series:

Number Games
Puzzles & Games
You can find all of these Front of the Class activity books in the Teacher Supplies tab under Resource Books.


4. Wiggly Worms Stinky Stickers

I bought these to set aside for our Apple unit. They are the Scratch 'n Sniff kind and smell like...DIRT!

Ew.

You can be the kiddos will absolutely love this later on this fall when we learn about Apples. 60 stickers are included per pack.

These stickers, and others, were under the Teacher Supplies tab, under the Awards and Incentives category.

5. Mini Incentive Charts w/ Stickers
 My students love the "pathway" sticker charts the best!
I found these under the Teacher Supplies tab at MPMSchoolSupplies.com.

I ordered these two: 

The Jungle Safari Mini Incentive Charts

630 stickers are included! Students have to earn their spots on the pathway to help the safari Jeep reach the hut.

 The other I ordered is the Pirates themed Mini Incentive Charts:

Again, you get 630 stickers. This time, students are helping the pirate ship reach the stranded guy on the island!


So those are my reviews on the items I ordered. I am overall extremely pleased with my order and excited to use everything with the kiddos! 


The Company
Let me give you a little background about MPMSchoolSupplies.com, as this was my first time ordering from them. After reading their "About Us" page, I learned that they are a family owned and operated business. Their goal is to provide a website for educators that is simple and intuitive (oh, yes!) and that offers quality and affordable resources for teachers.

I found the site to be very easy to navigate. You can easily shop by departments which are then broken down even further into both categories and sub-categories, making it quick to find what you're looking for...even if you don't know exactly what you're looking for! You can also search by a specific brand, including Melissa and Doug, as they carry many that teachers are familiar with.
As I browsed the resources, I found the prices to be (for the most part) cheaper than anywhere else I had seen. I especially liked the Daily Deals tab which offers mega discounts on already fair prices.

Shipping was quick! I received my order 5 days after placing it, and the items were properly packaged. One of my biggest pet peeves is when companies just throw items in a box and send it your way. This was not the case at all! There were many air bags inside securing all the items and keeping them from getting damaged during shipping.

They also offer to send you discounts and FREE teaching ideas if you submit your email. To me, that goes beyond just selling products. I can tell that MPMSchoolSupplies.com truly cares about making your classroom a place where students yearn to learn and grow.

So if your in need of some Classroom Decorations, Teacher Supplies, Classroom Rugs, or anything else for your classroom this year, give MPMSchoolSupplies a look!


-Til next time
     
I found some Back to School supplies and activities that are a must-have for your Preschool, Kindergarten, or First (1st) grade classroom! Games that develop logical thinking skills and spatial reasoning abilities. A classroom rug that reinforces math and counting. Activity books that are fun, age-appropriate and include "sneaky learning." Stinky Wiggly Worm stickers for your Apple Themed unit. Something for your Polar Animals or Penguins unit. And more! Come take a look at what I ordered, and learn more about MPM School Supplies, too!

I found some Back to School supplies and activities that are a must-have for your Preschool, Kindergarten, or First (1st) grade classroom! Games that develop logical thinking skills and spatial reasoning abilities. A classroom rug that reinforces math and counting. Activity books that are fun, age-appropriate and include "sneaky learning." Stinky Wiggly Worm stickers for your Apple Themed unit. Something for your Polar Animals or Penguins unit. And more! Come take a look at what I ordered, and learn more about MPM School Supplies, too!

I found some Back to School supplies and activities that are a must-have for your Preschool, Kindergarten, or First (1st) grade classroom! Games that develop logical thinking skills and spatial reasoning abilities. A classroom rug that reinforces math and counting. Activity books that are fun, age-appropriate and include "sneaky learning." Stinky Wiggly Worm stickers for your Apple Themed unit. Something for your Polar Animals or Penguins unit. And more! Come take a look at what I ordered, and learn more about MPM School Supplies, too!