Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Dollar Store -- A Grandma's Friend!

I got to see my three out-of-town grandkids twice recently and both times I had time to prepare with a browsing trip to the dollar store! What a lot of fun to wander those aisles and come up with things to do with my grandchildren, especially the three and four year olds!

Here are a few of the items I've found that we've had a great time with:

  1. Glow stick bracelets--When they visit me, they usually sleep in our room, one on an air mattress at the foot of our bed and the other on an air mattress in the walk in closet. It's dark and it's a different place, so this time when they came I had glow stick bracelets for them to hold and play with at night as they went to sleep. They were with us three nights and by the third night they asked for their glow sticks. Since a pack of eight is only a dollar, that's a fun night light.
  2.  Doggy toys--Their aunt and uncle who live in our town have a dog they bring over to visit. I was surprised by the nice dog toys I found for just a dollar. That gave them something to do besides chasing the dog inside my house!
  3.  Chalkboards and Whiteboards--I found sticker chalkboards that I stuck onto pieces of sturdy cardboard for them to write on. A little damp rag served to erase so they could write and draw again!
  4.  Dishes--There are all kinds of dishes at the dollar store and they fun to use for different events. Plus, if something did happen to one of them, there's no worry, it's not an expensive heirloom.
  5.  Cooking Utensils--From measuring cups to pastry brushes to spatulas there are all kinds of fun brightly colored cooking utensils for real or pretend cooking at Grandma's house!
  6.  Aprons--When my grandkids help me in the kitchen they know where their apron is on the hook. One for him and one for her, they like to put them on and pour, measure, and stir.
  7.  Baking Mixes--I found baking mixes for muffins and other goodies that still required some measuring of water and oil and breaking of eggs as well as spooning into muffin tins. It made baking with Grandma easy and fun for all of us.
  8.  "Magic" Rags--When it came time to clean up, we put our mystifying cubes in water and watched them grow and turn into full size wash cloths! That made clean up fun too.
  9.  Simple Crafts--There are often seasonal crafts available that even very young children can do as well as beads and slightly more complicated ones that we'll try in the future.
  10.  Stickers--There are stickers for teachers and seasonal stickers as well. They are always fun to peel off and put on paper to make a picture. Older children can be challenged to create a scene and color in a background.
  11.  Seasonal Decorations--Last fall I found some scarecrows on sticks to put in potted plants, two for a dollar. We had a great time playing "Hide and Seek Scarecrows." First they counted while I hid the scarecrows in the ground more or less in plain sight. Then they ran and found them. Then they took turns hiding them. We progressed to places that required more searching and more running (sneaking in some exercise there!) When we came in, they continued the game. After they left, the dog came for a visit and "found" them hiding under the couch.
  12.  Dress up--I found all kinds of items for dress up: sunglasses, hair pieces, beads, aprons, and--if you are brave--make up! 
  13.  Balls--I found a soft, small ball that was a globe for the almost-one-year-old. He surprised me by being able to throw it and "catch" it when he sat with his legs wide open. I also pointed out to the bigger kids where we live and where Grandpa was (on the other side of the world!)
  14. Streamers--We taped the streamers to long Tinker Toys and waved them around and around while walking in place. Grandma got some steps in and the kids did too along with following directions and having fun!
  15. Balloons--everyone knows balloons are great for all kinds of activities. We taped paper plates to paint stirrers and then batted balloons back and forth inside the house.
Can't wait for our next visit to see what else I can come up with!

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  1. Great dollar store ideas! I am always looking for craft ideas and things to do with my grandchildren. Thanks for putting a bug in my ear!

    1. I keep the things in my bag and bring them out from time to time during the visit. Sometimes we just play hide'n'seek, too! :-)

  2. I love these ideas! They'd be great to have for my grandkids too!

  3. Great ideas. Our grands are all adults now but 2 great grands who I might get to play with soon. I can pass these ideas on also. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I hope I have the energy to do things with my great grands when they come along! Seems like a long time from now.

  4. What a great collection of ideas. My little Goddesses love stickers and dress-ups best. I love the idea of the hide n' seek scarecrows.

  5. My kids go crazy for the silly string, we've also made fun play dough using a bottle of dollar store conditioner and some baking soda.

  6. Super cool ideas for any Grandma except for those of us whose grands are a bit older now, but these were so much fun to read and recall when I tried some of these ideas!! Great to be visiting on the linkup at Classical Homemaking today!

    1. I have wondered what I will do with my grandchildren when they are older and don't want these simple things, but I'm hoping that as they grow we will continue to know each other and find things we like in common.

  7. Such fun ideas; you wound like a wonderful and fun grandma!



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