Congrats on your new gig! If you’re just getting started, this will give you the basics of what you’ll need to get started. I went through my own Amazon list to share my favorites. (Update! Our accountant told me that I had money that I had to spend or I would lose it. (What a problem to have!) So, I’ve added some new items from my most recent haul and didn’t add in the ones that flopped so that you won’t waste your money.)
School Counseling Tribe is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. But y’all, I will ONLY ever recommend products that I have used myself and know to be valuable to your program. I literally pulled up my personal and work Amazon lists to share what I have actually purchased for my own office.
Basic Supply List
Coloring Books (The Dollar Tree has the best prices.)
Bubble Fidget Push Pop (3 pack; get these if you get nothing else)
Squish Balls & Small Fidgets (the most bang for your buck)
Sensory Toy Bundle (so much value for the money)
Soft Stuffed Animal (School mascot for the younger kids.)
Kinetic Sand (ONLY get natural colored sand. The other colors stain.)
Family Figurines (Surprising insights from these.)
Magnetic Blocks (splurge)
Candy Warheads (for grounding)
Sensory Fidget Bundle (the infinity cube is amazing)
Sensory Water Beads Toy (6 pack)
Sensory Floor Decorative Tiles (Fun to stomp and press)
Kitchen Timer (2 Pack; great for setting boundaries)
Sand In Motion Moving Art (So relaxing!)
Expandable Breathing Ball (Great visual for teaching others how to breathe)
Barbies (The most unexpected, but loved toy by boys and girls)
Family Figurines (They play and reveal family dynamics, rules, and other details)
Sharpie S-Gel 1.0 (The best pen ever made. Period.)
I love Amazon as much as the next gal, but a lot of my office toys originally came from The Dollar Tree. The goal for these toys is to be low stake and allow them to busy their hands so that they can relax and open up to you. Don’t worry if you don’t have the budget to get all of the things; it has taken me almost a decade to have my office totally decked out.
Comfortable Seating (We’ve had these for 3 years and they’ve held up well.)
Oil Diffuser (Allergy Friendly Scents)
Glade Plugin and the scent of your choice, I’m basic so it’s always Pumpkin Spice
Art (Society 6 and T. J. Maxx favorite for cute and inexpensive art)
Peel and Stick Wall Paper (I want to dress my cinderblock walls!)
Twinkle Lights (Maybe it’s tacky, but they make me so happy)
Had I not become a school counselor, I would have given Joanna Gaines a run for her money. I have worked so hard to take my windowless cinderblock office into a place where people walk by and say, “Oh my gosh, it looks so cozy in there!” Yes, yes, it does.
School Specific Packet Info
Gather these items right away. I keep a packet with me at all times with all of this information. I am constantly on the move in the elementary school and need this information at the ready. While working in a high school and middle school, I was much less mobile and had it all tacked to the wall next to my desk.
Candy Land (It’s totally a game of chance and requires zero thought which is perfect for counseling.)
Tip-It (Great impulse control practice. I found it cheaper at A.C. More.)
Play is the child’s natural method for communication. If you want to connect with them, play! Play teaches teamwork, cooperation, and communication skills.
Sensory Fidgets to Giveaway
Fidgets should be one-handed and quiet. My personal favorite is a highlighter, but that doesn’t meet my own requirements of being quiet.
Data Tracking System
Calendar (I prefer an online calendar, but to each their own, if you aren’t yet using Calendly, go do yourself a favor and signup because it’s amazing for scheduling appointments with teachers for lessons and meetings with students and families. and syncs automatically with my Microsoft calendar)
Data Tracking System (I use FileMaker.)
Focus Notes (The MOST fabulous written tracker ever. See the example below of how I use mine.)
I am sure that you already have this from grad school, but you need to make sure you keep it up-to-date for the liability insurance and for the amazing resources that you’ll find from fellow colleagues. Be sure to get involved in your local school and state counseling memberships as well.
When you begin to look for lesson plans, don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Check out TPT and you’ll find an incredible amount of resources to support your program.
You can check out my resources page for professional and student books that weren’t listed here. If you need the barebones budget-friendly top picks, check out my 15 Must-Have School Counseling Items on a $100 Budget.
I’m sending you all the good vibes! I hope that you find connection, fulfillment, and a deep love for the school counseling profession. Best of luck!