7 Favorite Learning Resources Under $20 for Ages 3-5


Here is a list of 7 Learning Resources that I really like for preschoolers/kindergartners. I’d say Ages 3-5 would best benefit from these picks.

This year, we are homeschooling our 4th preschooler. (Our other children are in 7th, 6th, and 1st grade!) Along the way, I’ve used some products that were just so-so, some that weren’t worth the time or money, and some that I loved and have used over and over again!

What makes these ‘keepers’ to me? 

  1. My kids have enjoyed them and actually used them
  2. I have enjoyed my kids using them (something that is complicated or overly time-consuming or messy is probably not going to be a winner in my book. So, my “keepers” are resources that are simple, yet effective
  3. Economical- We don’t (can’t) buy our kids every neat book or toy we see. So, resources that get the job done without breaking the bank are a must for us.
  4. Durable- Toys or puzzles that break after one child uses them, won’t be bought again!
  5. Educational- the whole point of a “Learning Resource or Activity” is for it to actually teach kids a skill or strengthen a skill or thinking process or encourage creativity.

So, here you go: 7 suggestions for books or activities that teach – while being fun, too! (and all under $20)

Activity Books

Sometimes beginners just want something to call “school”- these activity books are great for that.

They’re also wonderful to give to children who need something productive to do while the older kids are still working on their schoolwork.

Let’s Color! This is such a cute little book for a creative intro to coloring. I loved using it and my little ones always wanted to do more and more pages. The First pages have the kids complete a scene with creative prompts such as: draw ketchup on the eggs, draw spaghetti on the plate, add sprinkles to the ice cream, hair on the boy’s head, etc.  Later into the book, it asks children to complete the picture by coloring in a missing piece of the picture…such as a piece of fruit that is already colored in, except for a small white shape that needs to be colored. And it continues to progress in difficulty, while always remaining simple and creative.
Let’s Sticker and Paste: Much like Let’s Color, this is a fun little book that helps young children develop motor skills while giving them something fun and creative to do. My kids liked to do these books when the older kids were working on their school work. The book begins with stickers to use on certain pages…adding frogs to ponds or birds to the sky or animals to the barnyard, etc. Then it switches over to pasting shapes and things onto designated places. (I don’t know any child who does not like gluing things!)

Preschool Sticker and Activity Book: My little boy had a lot of fun with this one! Filled with large, colorful illustrations and over 200 stickers to use. There are so many fun pages in this book! I’d recommend this for Ages 4-6.

For an idea of the pages, here’s some of what you will find:

  • large, simple pictures to color a specific color
  • use your crayon to give the pig a curly tail
  • draw a line between the matching pets
  • Use the apple stickers to put apples in the tree
  • Add stripes to the zebra
  • Find stickers to give the teddy bears some picnic treats
  • Draw hair on the funny faces
  • connect the dots
  • Fill the sky with hot air balloon stickers
  • Decorate the ladybug with sticker spots
  • Color the rainbow

*note- there is one page that asks you to connect the dots to a witch’s hat- but you could easily remove this page, if you prefer not to use things along these lines.

Scissor Skills: Cut! Cut! Cut! By the time your child completes all the activities in this book, he will be an expert cutter! My son was 5 when he received this fun activity book, and I found that to be a great age for it. Too much younger, and I feel the child might have trouble doing all that cutting. But, my James often asked to do one of his “cutting” pages. After he cut out all the shapes, he’d assemble and glue them on a piece of construction paper. He really needed very little guidance from me, which was nice.

  • Cut a watermelon into slices
  • Cut around a lion’s head and cut ‘fringe’ for the mane
  • Cut out a pizza and add the pepperonis
  • Cut out and assemble the snowman
  • Cut out a slithery snake

and many more!

Hands-On Learning

Shape and Color Sorter: I really LOVE this product! First of all, It’s very durable. We’ve had ours over 10 years now- going through 4 children- and it’s still in great shape. It is made by Lauri, and their products always hold up wonderfully.

Children place the 5 pegs in one the holes on the blue mat.

Then, there are two ways to play:

  1. Place all the red shapes on the red peg, all the blue shapes on the blue peg, and so on.
  2. Put all the hearts on one peg, all the circles on one peg, all the triangles on one peg, and so on.

All my children have enjoyed this game. It’s wonderful practice for color and shape recognition and also reasoning skills. My 4 year old has had fun sorting the shapes and colors as part of her preschool time, recently.

I’d recommend it for Ages 3 & 4

Stacker Pegs and Peg-board: Here’s another product by Lauri. And, yep, this one has been just as durable and the Shape and Color Sorter.

Children can place pegs in the pegboard, organizing them in rows by color, practice counting the pegs as they are placed in the holes, or practice counting by stacking them 2-high or 3-high or 4-high or 7-high?? How high can they go before they tumble!?

I’d recommend these for Ages 3-5

Alphabet and Numbers Puzzle Pairs: These educational puzzle-pairs are a newer addition to our collection, but 4-year-old Lainey is having a lot of fun working on making matches. Some days when the other kids are working on their school work, Lainey will sit at the table with us and work on these for a while.

There is a match for A through Z (letter matches with an animal) and also 1-10 (number matches with dots of that number

For more products we love- check out Our Favorite Things and our Top Book Picks


Kari Boyer

About Kari Boyer

Kari is married to Rick and Marilyn's son Tim. She is a stay-at-home mom and also homeschools her 4 children. She organizes the Character Concepts blog, sales and marketing. She loves being outside in the garden or helping her husband on the farm. She also loves cooking and fixing up their old farmhouse.

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