This isn’t really so much about a single item, as a store. The Dollar Tree, to be exact. It’s a little more true to its name than Dollar General – I honestly don’t know of many items in there that are actually more than $1. This works sorta great with kids. I mean, you don’t really feel bad about getting them three items when it’s only going to be $3 total.
At Pickle’s preschool/daycare, all of the kids usually bring a treat and a little something for all of the other kids on their birthday. When there are 12 to 16 kids in the class, that can add up pretty quickly. Usually the kids get a kazoo or some sidewalk chalk or something, and then the treats have to be pre-packaged, nut-free (no children in her class have dairy or gluten allergies, so we’re pretty safe there). The week of her birthday, the class had been studying insects and their habitats – so, Pickle and I went to the Dollar Tree, where they had butterfly nets in an assortment of colors for $1 each.
We got one for each child, and then found some pudding with cookies in it (we figured something ridiculously unhealthy was okay for one day) – there were four of them in each $1 pack. So, we ended up doing her entire birthday for 14 kids and two teachers for around $20. The best part was that the gifts were a huge hit – we walked in to pick up Pickle that night, and the director of the school stopped us to inform us that our gift idea had been so popular on that rainy day that the kids were running all over the classroom “catching butterflies” with them as part of their learning curriculum. Thanks for making us look like rock stars, Dollar Tree!
We also just sometimes go in when the Pickle needs some new craft items, or when she has a few dollars and wants to get a special treat. For example, we went this past weekend, and I told her that she could get any three items she wanted. It was the best game in the world to her – she looked at the giant fake Halloween spiders and giggled when she thought about scaring Daddy with them. She looked at the Christmas items, and the crafts. She thought about all of the fun things she could paint and decorate. We obviously ended up in the toy aisle. She came home with a bouquet of fake flowers (for when she pretends to be Little Red Riding Hood), some new markers, and a 24-piece puzzle of Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf (they had many other ones, too – Disney characters, Jack and the Beanstalk, etc.). So, when I look at it from a developmental standpoint – she got something to aid her in pretend play, something to aid in creativity and hand/eye coordination, and something to help improve her logic and problem-solving skills. That’s not a bad haul for $3 plus tax, and it kept us busy for the majority of the day on Sunday.
I’m not going to say I’d necessarily get, like, an heirloom piece or anything there, as these items are probably going to break faster than toys you get elsewhere – but it’s a great, inexpensive way to fill a bag of new “presents” to take on a long car ride, or pad your craft stock, or so on. It’s worth the time to go!