Recently I had a parent laugh at the 'stuff' I brought for tutoring. It was a second meeting with student and I did not know what would work so I brought a great deal of stuff for fractions, hoping one or more of my non-book selections would work. It did! The parent asked about a 'list' of stuff good for children/students/etc.
Please note, I am pretty much low tech kind of person having done Peace Corps in Africa......I really believe I can do anything with nothing so as you read the list, don't be surprised by what is missing-realize the potential of what is listed.
Library Card - FREE and generally the best bang for your tax payer dollar
Super-Fun Marble Run - Lakeshore Learning or Mouse Trap at Toys R' Us
Waterway Pipe Builders - Lakeshore Learning
Cuisinaire Rods - get the old school kind if possible (without the markings) so students have to 'think' and reason
Tinker Toys - classic
Lego's - any and all......who said you can have too many Lego's?
Quercetti Georello Gears - any
Techno Gears by The Learning Journey
Anatomy model kits - hit up your doctor and dentist for all the 'extras' laying around their office
Sifting materials for sand and all manner of stuff to build sand castles
Liquid and Solid Measure tools in METRIC system.....real math and science is done in metric, the international language
Microscope and slides
Books I can not live without for math:
Math at Hand, Math on Call, Algebra to Go, Geometry to Go - All of these books are by Great Source and can be had used for less than a dollar; shipping is usually the larger expense.
A book I can not live without for writing:
WriteSource 2000 by Great Source or whatever the newest version is out there
Please note, this is in no way an exclusive list of 'stuff', this is just what came to mind impromptu. While there is a great deal of junk toys out there, you can also find the real deals. I love garage sales and live for what teachers give away on Craigslist. It is not what you spend, it is how the toy is used. Creativity and innovation is boundless!