You can start singing the song from the Sound of Music or envision me as Oprah...but I do have some favorite things that have saved my sanity in the world of early childhood.
- Diaper Wipes--I don't care if you work with preschool age kiddos or kindergartners...diaper wipes are an amazing invention. These wipes do much more than...well...wipe dirty bottoms. Diaper wipes can be used to un-stick crusted boogies from noses...what I hate more than a snot streak on my pants from a preschooler hug is boogies that get stuck on my pants and then rip from the child's nose causing great pain. I have used wipes on my shoes after playground duty. They are great at the art center. A must have on field trips for many reasons. Got lunch on your shirt...diaper wipe it and it helps! Plus you can get them in many varieties. I love the new soft packs they are in now...I keep a pack in my car and use them for many things!
- Sharpies--I love Sharpies...all shapes, colors, and sizes. Sharpies have helped me make many materials for my kids--from games to nametags. I have even replaced faces on Lego men with sharpies...we even ended up with a John Lennon look-a-like and some with angry eyebrows. I also have labeled many children's coats and other belongings because some families miss this step. I always try to remind my families...if you saw a great jacket on sale for your child...chances are others noticed the same sale and there will be more than one of those jackets floating around the cubbies.
- Hand Sanitizer--I know that not every program allows the use of hand sanitizer but these are non-child related uses for the wonder anti-germ gel. I have used it to help remove the sticky from price tags and left over stickers. I hate to admit it...but in a moment of desperation I dabbed some on a zit I felt beginning...and I swear it helped it not appear. It does make me feel a little bit more in control of my own germ party to use it throughout the day in addition to washing...I prefer a nice scent and one that isn't too drying. It is amazing the power of a fresh scent on your hands to help muffle some of the less pleasant smells associated with little kids.
- Clear Packing Tape--The sound of clear packing tape ripping off of a roll reminds me of so many moments in my preschool classroom. In my first classroom we used a lot of this tape to adhere name spots to the carpet, attach labels to shelves, and to "laminate" small items in a pinch. I prefer the heavy duty thick, more expensive, variety with the cutter on the roll...the big mechanical rollers only frustrate me when the tape gets tangled. I will pass on a tip of either rolling down the loose edge so it doesn't get re-stuck to the roll or adding a large paperclip along the edge so you can find it again. I have repaired many torn books with this kind of tape...even though my librarian friends would prefer I use a gentler library tape. The only drawback I can see with this tape is the noise factor so you cannot get crazy taping things during nap time.