I recommend that substitute teachers bring their own materials and activities. A sub kit comes in handy, especially for those days when the teacher did not leave lesson plans.
I got the sub kit idea from Kid-Kits in The Baby-Sitters Club. Club president Kristy invented Kid-Kits. Her logic was that kids love to play with novel toys and activities. The toys don’t have to be new, just new to the kid. The baby-sitters stocked their Kid-Kits with old board games, art supplies, books, etc. Click here to see the contents of the girls’ Kid-Kits at the official Baby-sitters Club site.
Here are my suggestions for building a substitute teacher’s Kid-Kit.
Class set of printable puzzles, etc. You can copy these for each new job, or put masters in page protectors and bring dry-erase markers. You can buy markers at dollar stores. Another option: use crayons. Tissues will wipe crayon marks off page protectors.
Mazes: (I like the ones at KrazyDad.) Use easy or medium mazes. The hard ones are too hard.
Word searches: a quick Google search for printable word searches will yield many results. Just make sure that your word search prints on one page. Some of them put the words on one page and the jumble of letters on another. SuperWordSearchPuzzles.com has good puzzles that print all on one page.
Logic puzzles: don’t break these out unless you are prepared to teach a lesson on how to do them. A great source: logic-puzzles.org.
Squishy ball: bring a ball for Silent Ball, an all-time-favorite classroom game. Basically, it’s a silent game of catch. Many kids make it an elimination game. If you miss a catch or make a really bad throw, you’re out. You’re also out if you talk. Kids LOVE this game!
Storybooks and picture books:
Bring a collection of fun stories for kids. You can check them out of the local library or buy some at used bookstores or library sales. Another option is to visit the school library before school and ask for a book.
Another good option is a chapter book that is really a collection of short stories You can read a chapter or two to each class. Ir you return to a class, they will be excited to hear more chapters. Here are some kids’ favorites:
Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren and all the sequels
Paddington books by Michael Bond and all the sequels
The Stories Julian Tells and Ann Cameron’s other books about Julian
A Long Way From Chicago by Richard Peck
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books by Peggy Parish
The Complete Adventures of Curious George by H. A. Rey
Good luck at your sub job! Click here for my first post on building a sub kit.