Suggested Items for Opening a Licensed Family Child Care
(For a list of required items, see the Department of Children and Families Required Items for Family Child Care Centers)
Questions to consider when making a purchase:
- Is the material or equipment sturdy & well-made so it will last a long time?
- Does the material or equipment have different uses?
- Can it be used by children of varying ages or do you have materials and equipment for all ages?
- Do your materials reflect diversity?
- Do your materials support children in many types of play, like outdoor play, active indoor play, dramatic play and quiet play?
- Inquiry packet
- Medical log book (a bound and stitched notebook such as a Mead Composition Book)
- Health exam and TB test for provider (cost varies depending upon insurance coverage of provider – sometimes county health departments offer low cost TB tests)
- File folders/file cabinet or box and copies (keep child/provider records and receipts)
Home & Safety Items:
- Safety latches, outlet covers, and locks
- Smoke detectors; one for each level of the center and for sleeping areas
- Carbon monoxide detectors; one for each level of the building except the attic and garage
- 2A-10BC (or larger) fire extinguisher
- Sleeping bags or mats—you can always have the parents supply these for their children
- Cribs or play pens
- Outdoor fence (provide a minimum of 600 square feet of space)
- Paper towels, soap, toilet paper, tissues, etc.
- Vehicle safety inspection – this is free for child care providers at some Farm & Fleet stores
- Vaccinations for any dogs or cats in the home
- Water test for private wells
- Step stool
Infant & Toddler Items:
- Safety gates
- Sippy cups, child-friendly utensils, dishes, etc.
- Plastic-lined covered container for diapers
- Vinyl changing mat
Age Appropriate Indoor & Outdoor Play Equipment:
- Preschool Toys: assorted blocks, props for block play such as people or vehicles, dolls, magnets, playdough, glue, scissors, watercolor and tempera paints, paper, books, puzzles, unit and Lego blocks, musical instruments, dress-up clothes and other housekeeping items, etc.—be creative!
- Infant/Toddler Toys: rattles, teething rings, soft toys and dolls, cloth and hard board books, foam blocks, large trucks, push/pull toys, large crayons, paint brushes, markers, paper, etc.
- School-Age Toys: board games, dominoes, cards, calculators, woodworking tools, books, camera, scales, fabric, clay, tape measures, maps, etc.
- Outdoor Toys: sandbox and sand, sand toys, hula hoops, riding toys, large balls, sports balls, jump ropes, etc.
- Storage crates/cubbies for children’s belongings
- Toy and materials shelving
- Child-sized table and chairs
No-Cost or Low-Cost Additional Suggested Items:
- Public Library books, cassette tapes, books on tape, videos, toys, etc.
- Recyclable products for art projects (ex. Milk jugs, egg cartons, scrap paper)
- Homemade playdough
- Dress-Up clothing: Look for old hats, scarves, dresses, shoes, costume jewelry, etc.
- Musical instruments: Use kitchen utensils, pots/pans, or recycled plastic containers with lids filled with dried beans or rice.
- Dish tubs and household items –sieves, funnels, measuring spoons, etc.—for water or other sensory materials.
- Large cardboard boxes for pretend play.
- Homemade puppets: Make out of paper bags, socks, or fabric.
- Bubbles: Just dish soap and water!
- Flashlights, measuring tapes and rulers for pretend play
- Homemade puzzles: Cover a picture with clear Contact paper, glue onto cardboard, and cut into pieces.
- Homemade books: Cover photographs or magazine pictures with clear Contact paper, glue onto cardboard or tagboard, paper punch holes, and tie with yarn.
- Collage materials for art, (Styrofoam peanuts, feathers, wrapping paper scraps, etc.)
- Homemade felt board: Cover a piece of plywood with felt and cut-out animals, objects, etc.
- Poker chips/cards
These are just a few ideas—there are a lot more out there. Be creative! Consider purchasing some of these items second-hand from garage sales or consignment shops if you can find them in usable, safe condition. Happy hunting!
(CAUTION: To find out about safety recalls on any of the materials you might use, visit the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission website, or call them at 1-301-504-7923).