Budget Friendly EL Education Centers, Part 1


I’ve had this idea for this series rolling around in my brain for a while. As much as I love to create center games and activities, sometimes the thought of printing it all out, laminating, and cutting can seem daunting.

Having a rotation of budget friendly EL Education centers that are your “go-to’s” will save your sanity (and your wallet) while implementing a new curriculum. Keep the basic format/rules the same, and simply change out the skills each week or month depending on how you have it structured.

Now, how can you do that with minimal printing and ink costs, but still be reusable from skill to skill? Keep reading for some ideas!

As a Carson Dellosa affiliate, I may earn a small commission from items purchased through the links below, at no extra cost to you. I was sent materials to review, as well as purchased additional materials with my own money. As always, all opinions are my own.

Budget Friendly EL Education Centers #1: Carson Dellosa Paper Cutouts

budget friendly el education center

First up is my favorite way to bring a little bit of fun and incorporate themes and other seasonal fun without breaking the bank: paper cutouts! Now, traditionally I think most of us see these outside teachers’ doors with student names on them, or as a cute way to accent a bulletin board. But, my favorite way to use these cute little cutouts is for centers. (You can also do something similar with disposable plates).

el education budget friendly centers

I prefer to laminate mine, but you could just as easily stick a piece of packing tape on them to make the marker easy to erase. Another way would be to write the word on an index card and attach it with velcro dots.

This is an activity that is easy to differentiate for your students too! It takes minimal prep other than simply writing the words out and you’re ready to go.

budget friendly el education centers

Grab your own set at Carson Dellosa (I like to align to EL themes or upcoming seasons/holidays) and start creating! Students can match upper case to lower case letters, match rhyming words, make sentences and tap or write them out; or have students select a cutout use for syllable practice.

el education budget friendly centers

Budget Friendly EL Education Centers #2: Dry-Erase Puzzles

el education center games

This dry-erase puzzle makes centers so easy! Simply write the skill with a dry-erase marker and play. They clean up nicely too, making this a great investment you can use over and over.

el education centers
el education centers

Bulletin Board Boarder

This may seem random, but hear me out! Bulletin board boarder is the perfect way to make self checking puzzles! Simply place a piece of packing tape (or laminate), write the skills, and cut. Students can either turn it over to see if the picture is completed or you can write it on the design side for some extra pizazz.

Budget Friendly EL Education Centers #3: Textured Letters

I LOVE these! These I think would work best for students still working on letter sounds, but you could also use them to spell out high-frequency words. They have both upper and lowercase. The cards are large and sturdy and the texture on the cards allows for extra sensory input for our little tactile learners.

My own children LOVE these so much, and often just play with the deck of cards themselves, making words, their names, and identifying sounds.

el education centers

Budget Friendly EL Education Centers #4: Edu-Clings Silicone Manipulative Phonics Games

el education phonics science of reading

I’ll be honest, I was super curious about how these would work. I was imagining the gel-like stretchy window cling material, but since they’re silicone it’s definitely smooth and not gel-like or sicky. These come with mats you can laminate for extra sturdiness, or (if you’re brave) you could try them on the window or whiteboard to make words.

el education phonics

I like these because it’s something new and different to add to your rotations that students likely have not seen before. I think would be great for those kiddos that are needing that added sensory element without the fuss of a sensory bin. I also like that they offer blank ones, so you could really, truly make it your own.

el education phonics games

Any of these games or activities would pair well if you are a member of EL Made Easy or simply just want to add to your existing library of centers.

Tune in next week when I share even more budget friendly center ideas to use during your EL Education Skills Block!

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