1. IKEA Kalas dishes
I've raved about these already in my post about how I store the girls' dishes, but it bears repeating that these things are awesome! They are so easy to use, easy to wash, and easy to store. The colors are fantastic and the girls love picking out their dishes for each meal. They even make great toys- the girls pull them out to sort things, or lay them out on the floor to "make a rainbow". My life is so much easier having these, because the girls can take care of their dishes themselves and they get to pick their color.
2. Storage bins
Storage bins are a great way to give preschoolers more independence by making it easier for them to find, get out, and put away their things on their own. I use bins in the girls' closet (right picture) and their toy storage (left picture). The canvas ones especially are easy to move and see into. It's also easy to label the bins with a picture of what should be inside, so the kids can see what goes where when they are cleaning up.
My girls went through a phase a few months ago where they started waking up anywhere between 4:00 and 5:00am and insisting that they needed to get out of bed, even though they were obviously still tired. I tried everything I could think of to convince them to stop getting out of bed before I told them, but nothing worked... until I got this alarm. I have all the sounds turned off, but when it is the time I have set, the owl's face turns green. It's gentle enough that they have slept through it if they are really tired, but if they are awake they see it right away. I was afraid it would just be one more rule for them to fight, but they love coming out and telling me that the owl has turned green!
4. Step stools
Well, that's my list! What are your must-have items around the house with preschoolers? How do you foster independence in your young children? Share your thoughts below!
* I am not being compensated for this post nor am I affiliated with any of the companies that make these items- I just like them :)