Basic Supply List for a Successful Daycare Center


Starting a daycare center is the perfect way to turn your love of working with children into a thriving career. Some essential equipment and supplies is needed to start a successful daycare. While a daycare business can be built over time, there are some items that you will need to have right away. If you have children coming as soon as you open your doors, there are a few essentials you will need for when they arrive.

  • Smoke detectors
  • Carbon monoxide detectors
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Flashlights or lanterns
  • Portable radio
  • Outlet plugs
  • Cabinet locks
  • First aid kits

Your first priority, especially when working with kids, should always be safety. Toddler development stages are vastly different from a preschooler’s. Be sure, when purchasing your toys and equipment, that you keep this in mind. Below is a basic list of the equipment you will need for a daycare having children up to toddler age.


Your supply list wouldn’t be complete without TOYS. Toys and other educational materials are among the most important items when starting a daycare. Children always need something to do throughout the day. Be sure to look for toys that are appropriate for the ages that you plan on having in your facility. You should also invest in items such as books and learning toys to help develop children mentally. Start by looking for toys and educational materials from the following categories:

  • Books
  • Dramatic play
  • Manipulatives
  • Blocks
  • Sensory
  • Gross motor


A substantial investment needs to be put into the furniture you choose for a daycare program. Some basic furniture items needed:

  • High chairs
  • Booster seats
  • Rocking chairs
  • Couches
  • Tables
  • Small chairs
  • Nap mats
  • Cots
  • Step stools
  • Training Toilets

Children toddler age or younger will need a nap at some point during the day. For these children, you will need to purchase nap mats or cots. It would be in your best interest to purchase more than you will need right away. By using cots instead of actual beds, you have more space for climbing equipment and other toys. Cots should have removable sheets that are washed weekly and they should be labeled with children’s names and used by the same child for the entire school year.

Outdoor Equipment:

Weather permitting, your kids should be able to play outside and enjoy the sunshine. Depending on the area, a fenced-in playground is required for safety. The playground equipment does not need to be the best on the market, by any means, but should be safe and age appropriate. You will also want to make sure your playground equipment is placed on a soft surface such as rubber mulch or grass.

Before planning a list of, even the basic, equipment needed to operate your daycare center, be sure to check your state’s minimum standards.

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