Dollar Tree Store is now my ultimate destination when its comes to “unearthing” educational treasures. It’s the Mecca for mothers who’d love to stretch that hard-earned cash and still find cool, creative, and catchy materials for your children’s school adventure.
Because I love it very much I spent my birthday last month in there for close to two hours carefully looking at each shelf. Sure, most of the products are Made in China but not all products made in the Middle Kingdom are horrible. Plus if you look hard, you’ll have great finds that are made in other countries from all over the world. The effects of world trade right there…
The best part about shopping at a Dollar Tree Store is that: every item only costs $1!
Here are my nine awesome finds:
1. Educational Posters
My twin toddlers are getting on the habit of brushing their teeth and washing their hands and I found posters of these two hygiene habits on the day I bought paper towels. Two posters for one dollar, baby! They feature step-by step instructions with a monkey and a frog as the “instructors”. These posters are now conspicuously posted on our bathroom door and serve as reminders for the twins to go wash their hands and brush their teeth. They’ve never been so eager to enter the bathroom!
2. Coloring Books
Tons of them in there! Winnie the Pooh, Sesame Street, Strawberry Shortcake, Mickey and Friends… the list is endless. I stock on these coloring books because the twins just love to color. Last July, box of 64 crayons was sold for (guess what?!) only a dollar so I got two boxes of those! There could never be enough coloring books and crayons at home so I always make it a point to drop by at the store twice a month to replenish our supplies.
Before we had kids, Jeff and I vowed that we will never expose our future children to television. By television we meant regular programming, movies, and just about anything shown off the boob tube. Yeah, we were ignorant then. Two kids later, we realized our children need not to be deprived of television time. The key is in controlling the number of hours they’re exposed to the idiot box. One of the very first cartoon characters that Jeff introduced to them was Winnie the Pooh. For nine months now, Pooh and his friends have been part of their world. So when I discovered three sets of Winnie the Pooh flash cards at the store, I was excited to bring them home and show them to the twins. One set of cards was about colors and shapes, the other set was about first words (nouns and verbs), and the third one was on numbers. There were extra cards featuring illustrations of Pooh and friends so the twins were very delighted. They can count 1 to 10 now and can sing along with me when I belt out the alphabet song.
4. The “50 US of A” Puzzle
Yeah, we’re missing two puzzle pieces in the picture above. And if you’re wondering, yep, I tried putting together all 60 pieces. I initially bought this one for myself. Being a newbie to America’s geography, I wanted to do a crash course on the 50 states and their capital cities. But my scientist and engineer of a son figured out how to open the tightly-sealed box and started playing with the pieces. So I told my husband, well, let them play with it and you and I can talk to them about America. Nothing wrong with knowing your own country.
I have previously mentioned in my post on “Raising a man and a woman” that the twins are dual citizens. We want them to be proud of the countries that they belong to. It starts with introducing them to the basics: a map of how the US looks like is one way of introducing them to their culture and heritage.
Where do you think the two missing pieces go? I’m hoping Nicholas didn’t eat them.
5. Bible Stories – Board Books
So I found these board books of Bible Stories with perky illustrations and I immediately bought them because they came with free downloadable songs. The book gives the buyer the code to the website where the songs can be downloaded. The words used in the book are simple and the sentences are short. The illustrations are very helpful in understanding the flow of the story. There was another book featuring another Bible story that came with an audio CD! I bought four of the board books and one book with the CD. Five dollars very well spent!
6. Die-cut letters and numbers
I set up my own “classroom” at home so I’m fond of buying school materials including these die-cut letters and numbers. I initially made my own and they’re now hanging at the living room. I bought a set of die-cut letters and numbers because I’m thinking of setting up another alphabet-and-numbers corner because they like to sing the alphabet and count numbers these days. It’s a productive exercise for letter and number recognition.
7. Sudoku and Crosswords
I love to listen to Moms and children talking to each other in the school supplies area because the kid usually negotiates with the Mom on which stuff she/he can get for five dollars. One kid, who was about nine years old, told his Mom he wants to buy two Sudoko books and two Crossword books.
“What about your last dollar?” the Mom asked.
“A box of crayons, Mom. Thank you,” was the boy’s reply.
8. Reward items
Stickers, pencils, paper bracelets, certificates, erasers, bookmarks… these and more are rewards items which I find so cute. I know there are different schools of thoughts about rewarding an achievement but frankly I like these varieties because they give simple joys to children. I wish my kindergarten teacher gave me a reward bracelet too!
9. Bath books
Your children can hold them while you’re washing them. This can be the first step to teach your child how to hold a book. That’s an important part of literacy development because they need to be taught that we read from left to right, top to bottom.
How are you doing in your back-to-school shopping with your children? Any more ideas and treasures you can share with us?
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”