The school district my children attend just announced that when classes begin this fall, they will be conducted entirely online, with no in-person classes until viral transmission in our area decreases.
The word “unprecedented” has been used frequently to describe the pandemic in which we are living, and unprecedented times call for a change in back-to-school shopping habits. Now, instead of shopping for new backpacks, lunch bags, and special first-day-of-school outfits, my family is shopping for noise-cancelling headphones and making sure our internet speed can handle multiple devices streaming videos.
While I trust our school district to provide a complete remote curriculum to the best of their ability, I’m aware that school at our dining room table is missing some of the things found in traditional classrooms. Most elementary teachers have shelves full of manipulatives, flash cards, personal dry erase boards, counters, and a host of other educational aids.
These things are not necessary for remote learning, but they might help supplement what kids are learning. However, I don’t want to spend a lot of money on them.
That’s where Aldi comes in.
If there is one thing I can rely on Aldi for, it is that the retailer always sells what I need exactly when I need it. In this case, it’s all those little learning aids that I usually find on classroom shelves, such as flash cards, marker boards, workbooks, and other manipulatives. Aldi always sells a small assortment of educational products such as workbooks at the start of each new school year, but this year, with many parents around the U.S. looking at the prospect of schooling from home, it sure looks like Aldi has increased its selection of learning products.
Bendon School Readiness Supplies cost $1.89 each at the time of publication. These are Aldi Finds (Special Buys), which means they’re only in stores for a short time. These appeared to be hot sellers at my local store, where the selection was already somewhat picked over even though I shopped on the first day the weekly ad went into effect, so if you’re in need of inexpensive school supplies and learning aids, don’t wait to hit up Aldi.
Bendon products are not exclusive to Aldi. The company that makes them is based out of Ashland, Ohio, and it creates workbooks, coloring and activity books, grab-and-go Play Packs with small activity books and stickers and crayons, mess-free Imagine Ink coloring books, and storybooks that can be purchased at familiar retailers including Walmart, Target, Walgreens, Costco, and many more. However, I’m not sure if the exact same supplies Aldi is currently selling can be found at these other retailers; what you find in each store is likely to vary.
Supplies Aldi is selling for the start of the 2020-2021 school year include:
- personal dry erase boards for practicing sight words, fractions, and telling time (dry erase markers sold separately)
- flash cards for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division
- sight word flash cards
- alphabet and number flash cards
- manipulatives including play money, counting sticks, and geometric shapes
- workbooks for preschool through first grade covering basic numbers, math concepts, and addition
- various thematic learning aids including dinosaurs, outer space, sea creatures, U.S. presidents, puppies, and a map of the United States
My kids are a little older, so a lot of the preschool learning aids, sight word practice, and basic math concepts are too young for our needs. But I did pick up the multiplication and division flash cards, along with a pair of dry erase boards that help teach fractions and telling time, and these are perfect for our needs this coming school year and will nicely supplement the curriculum we get from our local schools. When learning new concepts, sometimes just seeing them presented in a different way, through some kind of manipulative or on a board or via flash cards, can help everything click into place or reinforce understanding.
Here’s a closer look at the school supplies I picked up:
Bendon Multiplication and Division Flash Cards
These came together in a two-pack, with one box of multiplication cards and one box of division cards, which comes out to about 95 cents per box. Each box contains 36 flash cards, and they were printed in China.
The multiplication cards are advertised as being for ages 6 and older, while the division cards are for ages 7 and older. In my experience, third grade is generally the year when teachers really drill down on multiplication facts, although kids may learn some simple facts in second grade or even first grade, while serious focus on more complicated division usually comes in fourth grade.
These cards have problems printed on both sides, with the answers in small print on the opposite sides. The multiplication cards also come with a small card that offers tips for working with children on multiplication, along with ideas for how to play a game with the cards. The division cards don’t offer tips or game ideas, but the same ideas could apply to those.
My third grader immediately cracked open these card packs to take a look and maybe practice a few facts. Her only complaint is that the answers are printed right-side up rather than upside down on the opposite sides of the cards, which she thinks makes it easier to “cheat” and not have to figure out the answers for herself. That very minor issue aside, I think these will be a nice change up from learning on devices or workbooks this school year, so I’m glad I picked them up.
Bendon Fractions and Time Telling Dry Erase Boards
These also come in a two-pack, with one double-sided board with pie charts and blanks for practicing fractions and another double-sided board with blank clock faces for telling time. That comes out to about 95 cents per board. As mentioned earlier, you’ll have to provide your own dry erase markers because these boards don’t come with any.
These are easy to write on, and so far they erase well. After I brought these home, my third grader immediately set to work practicing on the clock boards just for the fun of it, although she needed a little guidance, so depending on age and ability, it might be a good idea for an adult to stay nearby to help. Overall, these look like they’ll be a good supplement to what we’re already working on.
Bendon School Readiness Supplies at Aldi include workbooks, flash cards, dry erase boards, counting sticks, play money, thematic learning aids, and more. There’s a lot for the preschool crowd, plus several helpful supplements for younger elementary students. Whether you’re a teacher looking for classroom supplies, a dedicated long-time home schooler, or a parent or caregiver facing the prospect of facilitating remote learning for the first time, these resources are a bargain. Recommended.