Operating a daycare successfully requires a large number of supplies! Investing in your supplies will be one of the first steps you take before you open your doors. Whether your daycare is held in your home or you have a commercial building, investing in the right supplies will make a difference in the success of your daycare. To help you ensure you don’t miss any essential supplies, we have created the ultimate daycare supplies checklist.
Your daycare supplies checklist will cover your needs for furniture, safety, cleaning, education, play, technology and comfort items. While investing in your supplies, it is also important to check with your local state requirements to see if there are any regulations you must meet regarding the supplies you purchase.
Every daycare will require standard furniture, no matter where your daycare is located and what age ranges of children you care for. Furniture is essential for giving children a place to eat their meals, work on educational items, take their daily naps and play games.
Another benefit of having the right furniture is you will also have a place to keep all your items. Daycares will contain large amounts of toys and books, so it is essential to have proper storage systems to keep all your items organized when the children are not playing.
Ensuring that you have the right amount of furniture will be a large factor in helping your daycare run smoothly. For example: If you don’t have enough chairs for all the children in a classroom, it can quickly cause chaos with children fighting over a chair.
For a classroom with infant aged children, your furniture list will include:
- High Chairs
- Storage System for Toys
For a classroom with toddlers and pre-school aged children, your furniture list will include:
- Booster Seats
- Storage System for Toys
- Nap Mats
- Step Stools
When you are operating a daycare, the safety of the children in your care is your number one priority. By purchasing the right safety supplies and equipment, you will be much more prepared and will have a higher chance of avoiding any possible incidents. For example: By purchasing locks for all of your cabinets or cupboards, you can avoid children getting into any harmful items that may be locked away.
For safety supplies, it is essential to check with your local state requirements. Some states may have a list of mandatory safety items that each daycare must always have available. When going through the safety checklist, add any items your state requires.
The standard safety supplies for a daycare facility include:
- Locks for Cabinets
- First Aid Kits (1 for each classroom)
- Carbon Monoxide Detectors
- Smoke Detectors
- Fire Extinguishers
- Emergency Preparedness Kit
- Emergency Evacuation Plan
A daycare environment is a place where germs can spread like wildfire. By having the right cleaning supplies and regularly cleaning surfaces, you can prevent germs from spreading. This is the best way to also prevent sickness from spreading through your facility.
For cleaning supplies, it is important to get supplies that are going to kill the greatest number of germs and bacteria as possible. Some of the cleaning supplies will be used daily and others may only be used weekly. When cleaning supplies are not being used, these should be stored away behind a locked cabinet where children cannot get into them.
The standard cleaning supplies for a daycare include:
- Multi-Purpose Cleaner (Spray)
- Multi-Purpose Cleaner (Bottle)
- Hand Soap
- Hand Sanitizer
- Disinfecting Wipes
- Bathroom Cleaner (Spray)
- Paper Towels
- Broom and Dustpan
Education is essential to helping young children develop and is extremely beneficial in a daycare setting. You can start introducing the children in your care to educational type material as young as infants, like introducing new colors and sounds.
As children reach the toddler and pre-school age, you will need to start investing in larger amounts of educational materials. At these ages, children will begin learning more advanced material. Pre-school aged children can start learning literacy and math. Having the proper supplies will be essential for their development.
Since arts and crafts can also be used to help children learn, we have also included art supplies in our educational supplies checklist. Art is essentially important for toddler aged children since they learn best while playing and having fun. Art can help them discover new colors, shapes, and words.
For a classroom with infant aged children, your educational supplies will include:
- Books to read to the children
- Devices to introduce new sounds
- Colorful blocks to match colors
For a classroom with toddlers and pre-school aged children, your educational supplies will include:
- Read-Aloud Books
- Colored Pencils
- Blank Paper
- Water-Based Paint
- Paint Brushes
- Coloring Pages
- Math Worksheets
- Worksheets with Words
- Lined Paper for Writing New Words
Play and Exercise Supplies
All children need adequate time to play and exercise each day. Having the right supplies and equipment will be essential in providing enough movement for the children in your care. Play supplies will include toys, games and any equipment the children may use to play on (like outside equipment).
If your budget is low as you start your business, you can begin with mainly indoor type equipment that will have a lower cost. Once your business has grown and your budget allows for it, we recommend investing in outdoor type equipment. By having more outdoor play equipment, you will be better equipped for allowing children to get the amount of play and exercise that their bodies need as they are developing.
The essential supplies needed for play and exercise include:
- Board Games
- Stuffed Animals
- Toys Appropriate for Each Age Group
- Sports Equipment (like Basketballs, Footballs, etc.)
- Chalk for Outside Playtime
Option play options as you grow your business include:
- Swing Set
- Miniature Basketball Hoop
- Playground Setup
Technology allows all businesses to run more smoothly. You will need technology to track payments from parents, attendance for the children, employee statistics, and the status of any active advertisement campaigns. Technology is also used for your website and to maintain any social media accounts your business may have.
The specific supplies needed within the technology category will be based on the size of your business. If you are the only person operating the administrative type tasks, your technology needs may be lower. However, if you have employees helping you with those tasks, you will need to provide them with the right technology to perform the tasks as well.
The basic needs in the technology department will include:
- Laptop or Desktop Computer
- Printer to Print Needed Documents
- Phone to Call Parents if Needed
- Program to Track Children’s Stats
- Payment Processor to Collect Payments
- Website Host and Platform
- Social Media Platforms of Choice
Children often have a difficult time being separated from their parents, especially when they are young or haven’t previously attended a daycare facility. To help the children have an easier time adjusting to daycare, we recommend investing in a few comfort items. Some children may bring their own comfort items to daycare with them, but we recommend having some available for those who may not.
Comfort type supplies will tend to be used the most by your older infants and toddlers. This is the age when children start to experience separation anxiety and will tend to get the most upset when their parents leave during their daily drop-offs.
Besides being available to ease an anxious child, extra blankets and pillows are also a great idea to have on hand for naps as well. If a child forgets their blanket at home or doesn’t have one, it will be important to have these available just in case during nap time.
The comfort supplies we recommend for a daycare include:
- Stuffed Animals
- Relaxation Videos
Advice for Purchasing Supplies
Purchasing your supplies for your daycare is no small venture and the expense will add up quickly. Our first piece of advice is to create a budget for your supplies before you make any purchases. Once you have your total budget for your supplies, we recommend dividing up how much you want to spend on each category. By knowing what you can spend upfront, you will be better prepared once you start to do your shopping.
Our second piece of advice is to consider shopping at your local discount stores, especially if you are working with a small budget. Most common dollar stores will have a large variety of toys, coloring books, art supplies and cleaning supplies. This is an excellent way to still get enough supplies when you’re first starting out, but not breaking the bank either.
Another thing you want to keep in mind is that you will be restocking some of your supplies regularly. Restocking items will need to also be in your supplies budget. Cleaning supplies and art supplies (including blank paper) will need to be purchased consistently once you run out. You can save money by purchasing these items in bulk if possible.
For our last piece of advice, we always recommend checking with your local state requirements before making any purchases. Many states will have their own set of regulations regarding the way a daycare facility operates, including what supplies are on hand. By checking your local regulations first, you can prevent wasting money or wasting time in the long run.
Getting your new daycare up and running is an exciting adventure. Purchasing your supplies should be an enjoyable process and not stressful! By following our checklist above and getting these essential supplies, you can enjoy the process and will be on your way to building a solid foundation for your new business!
Am I required to rent a commercial space to start a daycare?
No, you are not required to rent a commercial space in order to start a daycare. When a new daycare owner begins their business, it is common for the daycare to be operated out of the owner’s home.
However, in order to run the daycare out of your home, you will need to ensure that you have adequate open space to hold the children that are in your care. We also recommend checking your local state requirements since they may have regulations on how the space must be set up or maintained.
As your business grows and you increase the number of children you care for, you will want to consider renting out a commercial space. You will only be able to care for so many children in your home due to the limited space.
What are the best forms of advertising for a new daycare?
The best form of advertising for a new daycare business is word of mouth! Parents are very concerned about who they allow to care for their children. Most children will often seek feedback from their friends and ask for recommendations for childcare services. Therefore, it is essential to keep a great reputation with all your clients.
Another excellent form of advertising for a new daycare is social media. By being present on social media and in your local community, parents will have a higher chance of finding you and seeking out your services. One benefit of social media is it is free for a new business to create a business account and their advertisements are designed to fit your budget.
How can I fund my new daycare business if I don’t have the finances myself?
There are options available for you if you don’t have the funds to start your daycare business on your own. The two most popular options are business loans and business grants. You do want to keep in mind that business grants can be time-consuming to apply for and then take additional time to receive the funds. However, they can be a great resource if business loans aren’t an option for you.
If you are starting your new daycare business with limited finances, we also recommend starting your business out of your home if possible. This will help reduce the costs of renting a space. Another great resource is looking for supplies at discount stores. Many local discount stores will have cleaning supplies, toys and various other supplies you may need.
Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.
Whether you’re just daydreaming about the possibilities or are knee-deep in plans to start your own daycare, our startup documents can help. Click here to take a look.
Meet Shawn Chun: Entrepreneur and Childcare Business Fan.
I’m a happy individual who happens to be an entrepreneur. I have owned several types of businesses in my life from a coffee shop to an import and export business to an online review business plus a few more and now I create online daycare business resources for those interested in starting new ventures. It’s demanding work but I love it. I do it for those passionate about their business and their goals. That’s why when I meet a childcare business owner, I see myself. I know how hard the struggle is to retain clients, find good employees and keep the business growing all while trying to stay competitive.
That’s why I created Daycare Business Boss: I want to help childcare business owners like you build a thriving business that brings you endless joy and supports your ideal lifestyle.