7 Awesome Dollar Store Deals for Kids

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First of all, I’m loving that the word ‘awesome’ has made a comeback in the ol’ blogosphere.

‘Fabulous’ is still one of my faves– and apparently ‘amazing’ is the new fabulous– but ‘rad’ just irks me.  As a child of the 80’s, ‘awesome’ will always have a place in my heart.

Now that we’ve gotten that off my chest, here’s Totful Tuesday’s Topic:

Walking through the aisles of the Dollar Store is like a treasure hunt.  Now, some of the items are pure junk– but there’s cool stuff to be found for sure.  Here’s a few items we’ve been using around our house, and not always for the use originally intended!

1. Disney Jumprope

This jumprope came in several motifs and makes a great stocking stuffer or Easter basket filler.  If your child is too young to jumprope or needs practice with gross motor skills, here’s a tip straight from Noodle’s physical therapist:

Lay the rope lengthwise, and have kids “squash the snake” by walking along it tightrope style.  This is part of the obstacle course she sets up each session for Noodle, and it really helps with balance and coordination.

2. Mini Dusters = Paint Brushes

Stealing another idea from the geniuses in Noodle’s life, here’s one from her preschool teacher.  Wait for it– they use these mini dusters as painters.  Boom!  Perfect for kiddos who are still developing fine motor skills, simply add the paint to the mop head and “whap” them down on the paper!  She used a large duck stencil here, and the kids {literally} slapped over it with the duster.  Once dry, they added details like eyes and legs.  Plus some stickers of things that are ‘yellow’.

Are you ready for the kicker?  They rinse off easily, and every once in awhile she removes the head from the handle and tosses them into the washer.  Don’t you just love preschool teachers?!

3. Feather Duster

Speaking of dusters, here’s a fun one for all ages.  Gently tickle babies for sensory play.  Older kids can use them to pretend to clean.  Heck, cut off the feathers and use them in an art project.  As I was photographing this, Dr. Seuss popped into my head.  Thing 1 and Thing 2, anyone?

Plus… all those feathers?  They are quiet.  Such a soothing plaything!

4. Apron

When kids cook in our house, they love to get dressed up to fit the role.  For $1, my son can do anything he wants to his frog apron!  Can also be used for messy craft time or as a bib in a pinch.  And look, it has a bee for my “Bee.”  Just perfect.  You creative types could add your own motif with fabric or puffy paint if you wish, this one just happened to fit perfectly for my sweetie.

5. Butterfly and/or Fairy Wings

Sure, there are about a million tutorials for how to make these but why bother when this pair cost only $1?  Great price for a fun addition to the dress-up box.  They’d make great party favors for a butterfly or fairy themed birthday soireé as well.

 {note: wire is used to make the frames, and after some rough play the end of ours popped out.  On that note, always use under supervision, and don’t use with children under age 3!}

6. Foam ABC Puzzle

Yes, it’s a puzzle.  But the letters can also be used in learning games and crafts.  Choose a letter and have kids search the house for items that start with it, or personalize frames and such with them.  Get a bunch and make sight words.  Wish I’d known about these when I was teaching!

7. Wooden Stringing Beads and Laces

We didn’t purchase this particular set because we have the Melissa and Doug version at home, but this activity is wonderful for practicing fine motor skills.  It’s nice to have a set around for when kids get bored, or to give as little gifts.  Sets like this are also great to pull out when I’m trying to make dinner and want to keep the kids occupied for a few minutes.

And I’ll go ahead and let you picture my kids quietly stringing beads while pots simmer on the stove and I chop vegetables in my pristine apron.  Because for sure my kids aren’t whining and grabbing each other’s beads or anything like that.  Or begging for snacks.  Or hanging off my pants.

Just keeping it real here, friends.

Okay, Dollar Store Divas.  What {AWESOME} items for kids have you found at The Dollar Store?  Any that you hated and we should stay away from?  Do any of the ones above surprise you?  Please share!
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