The Dollar Store: Your Homeschool Haven!
Guest Author: Deidra L. Tolliver
TOP 10 DOLLAR STORE MUST-HAVES!
The Dollar Tree Stores are like havens of heaven! Not only is every item priced $1 or LESS (some greeting cards 2 for a $1!), but many of the exact same items are sold elsewhere for twice the price! We have many signature homeschool items that we’ve learned to keep on-hand during the operation of our homeschool that are just as sufficient from Dollar Tree as they are from higher priced educational stores. So before you stock up on back-to-school items at other retailers, check out our list of top 10 must-haves that you’re bound to find at your local dollar store.
We’ve compiled a list of our top 10 Dollar Tree Store items (or item categories) that we’ve tested in comparison to other store or name brand items, and we know are just as good or better for half the price if purchased at Target, Walmart or similar stores.
1) Table Cloths
We can NOT conduct certain science or art projects without plastic tablecloths that were once only available at party supply stores. Well, we rack up on these babies and keep at least 5 on hand and all times. The Dollar Tree carries both rectangular and oval-shaped cloths, and I’ve found it easier to get rectangular cloths and fold them in half to cover round or smaller tables.
It seems that children’s toys ALL required batteries. Why buy top name batteries for items that will be used for a short period of time (or repeatedly left “on”) when you can get the same amount of batteries for a DOLLAR at Dollar Tree? We keep AA batteries on hand for things like flashlights, wall clocks, and small handheld toys.
3) Greeting Cards
When you’re teaching your children how to address envelopes and write thank you notes to friends and family, inexpensive cards from Dollar Tree will serve their purpose and beyond. We enjoy writing hello notes and thank you cards to people that least expect it. Smiles are guaranteed!
4) Homeschool Decor & Supplies
Bulletin board borders, activity books, coloring books, certificates, flash cards, stickers, wall posters, calendars, clipboards, construction paper, paper clips, scissors, poster boards, pushpins… just about EVERYTHING you need to stock your homeschool with can be found at Dollar Tree! They have many art supplies, too, such as pompoms, artificial flowers and vases, even artificial fruit which we collected for our support group’s Drawing & Sketching Workshop.
5) Holidays Central
Dollar Tree regularly stocks supplies for not only hosting a holiday or celebratory gathering, but they also carry neat trinkets for creating gift bags for classmates and teachers throughout the year. They make it so easy and affordable to create whole party themes, including matching plates, bowls, cake plates, napkins, table cloths, flatware, and lots of party favors and centerpieces to top it off!
If ever you’d like to make homemade playdough, or a science project calls for shampoo, conditioner, lotion, or shaving cream, these products work just as well from Dollar Tree. They also carry small tissue packages for backpacks and lunch boxes, barrettes for girls and their dolls’ ponytails, hair brushes and combs, headbands and pocket mirrors, and much, much more. WE LOVE THE DOLLAR STORE!!! 🙂
7) Costume Embellishings
You can stroll the aisles of your local Dollar Tree and come up with creative costume ideas, especially during the times leading up to holidays. If your support group is hosting a Fall Ball and you’re wanting something unique, try decorating your costume with beads and trinkets from Dollar Tree. Or, you can find the coolest Mardi Gras masks EVER, at Dollar Tree of all places (for creating your own, personalized, at-home, masquerade party). I mean, the ideas are ENDLESS!
8) Snacks & Treats
I mentioned this before in the holiday section for filling gift bags. We give our librarians and favorite store cashiers gift bags throughout the year to express our sincere gratitude for all they continue to do for us. Dollar Tree carries nice thank-you cards, snacks, candies, gum, and lots more to fill the gift bags with. AND, they carry a variety of plain and themed plastic zip bags to stuff the treats in! (Click here for a fun, small baggie-size, delicious, homemade ice cream activity.)
9) Household Tools & Utensils
Whether you’re in search of garden gloves because your science project suggests it for the study on preservation, or you’re in need of measuring cups for the homemade cookie recipe, stop in at Dollar Tree BEFORE looking at a different store. You might be surprised. Sometimes educational exploration requires the accidental ruining of a spatula or measuring cup. Dollar Tree has faithfully been our rescue many times. Or like when we designed our own Painted Backyard Step Stones (see here), we purchased paintbrushes from Dollar Tree for priming the blocks – easy throwaway brushes just right for one time use, especially for kids!
10) Picture Frames
Sometimes our children make art that’s so sweet and lovely that we just HAVE to frame it. My student made quite the collect of art, so much so that we created an “Art Wall” that displayed several of his most famous pieces. We did not choose to buy expensive frames because we know our home is forever evolving with our interests. We purchased almost all the frames at Dollar Tree, with the exception of a few specially-sized artworks. Plus, if you’re child receives honorary awards or paper certificates, Dollar Tree’s picture frames to the rescue!
I know I mentioned our top 10 favorite “items,” but naming just 10 single items from Dollar Tree happened to be an impossible feat! I hope you enjoyed our list. Please share with us in the comment section below some of your favorite dollar store finds and how you use them.
-Deidra L. Tolliver
This article was originally published on ArtEase123.com being used on Homeschooling in Memphis with permission.
Deidra L. Tolliver is a regular contributor for Homeschooling in Memphis blog. Before graduating summa cum laude from the University of Memphis with a Bachelor in Fine Arts degree concentrating in Graphic Design, Deidra studied, tutored, and taught art lessons at her church, high school, and college. Since college, she has served as graphic artist at local firms, retired in 2005 to become a homeschool educator, met many homeschool supporters who encouraged her to share her passion for art & education with others, and now works on her family’s blog, “ArtEase123.com” in which she and her family share many ideas on how to incorporate both art and education into just about any item, project, subject, or activity.