100 Things You Can Buy From the Dollar Tree and Use in Play

Happy Sunday everyone! This list comes from the blog '' and I just had to share it!

This blogger-Mom realized she was using many, many items from the Dollar Tree to help her daughter explore fun activities. She made a list of all the items she has bought from the dollar store, and several examples of what she did with each item. This list is very long, but there are some AMAZING ideas in here! ENJOY!

100 Things You Can Buy From the Dollar Tree and Use in Play - Perfect Nanny Match - 100_things_you_can_buy_from_The_Dollar_Tree

I have broken the list down by aisle, and given several examples of ways to use many of the items for play.
The Food Aisle

1.  Food coloring- we use it almost everyday.  We use it for sensory baths, arts and crafts, in play dough, and during sensory play, just to name a few.  You will find it in a four pack including the primary colors.
2.  Pasta- use it in sensory play, to make pasta necklacespasta sculptures, or for some fun sensory painting
    Color it and use it for sorting and math activities.

100 Things You Can Buy From the Dollar Tree and Use in Play - Perfect Nanny Match - spaghetti_painting_with_your_hands3.  Jello- we use Jello for sensory play often.  It has such a fun texture.  We used it to make glowing jello and a jello ocean small world.  Use the powder form of jello along with a brush and water for some a simple sensory paint.

100 Things You Can Buy From the Dollar Tree and Use in Play - Perfect Nanny Match - jello_messy_play_in_the_bath_76

4.  Kool-aid- make Kool-aid Play-Doh or try sensory painting with Kool-aid.  Both are super fast recipes that would be great for the busy classroom. 
5.  Rice- makes a fantastic sensory experience.  Great in a sensory bin like this one from Happy Hooligans
6.  Beans- another great sensory material.  We used beans as the base for our Valentine's Day sensory bin
7.  Flour- make cloud dough or homemade play dough. We have made pumpkin cloud dough, glowing cloud dough, and apple cloud dough Pumpkin Cloud Dough Bakery!

100 Things You Can Buy From the Dollar Tree and Use in Play - Perfect Nanny Match - pumpkin_scented_cloud_dough_0008.  Pudding-  makes a fantastic edible finger paint
9.  Corn starch-  make goop or edible finger paint.  You can even make corn starch dance.  Talk about fun Science! Making goop in the classroom would be lots of fun Here are 25 different ways to play with goop!
10.  Baking soda- one fabulously fun way to use this is volcano eruptions.  We have done erupting pumpkins, giant volcanoes, and erupting monsters.  You can even make the eruptions glow!

100 Things You Can Buy From the Dollar Tree and Use in Play - Perfect Nanny Match - glowing_volcano

11.  Tea- use it for sensory painting, or for some fantastic pretend play
12.  Spices- great for spice painting, making pumpkin bubbles or pretend play cooking using real ingredients. You can also add spices to paint to make scented art and bath paint
13.  Coffee filters- make coffee filter butterflies or coffee filter flowers.  Here is a list of coffee filter crafts for kids.

The Health and Beauty Aisle

14.  Shaving cream- Here is a list of 20 ways to play with shaving cream.  Shaving cream sliding fun is our personal favorite.  In the classroom- put some on the children's desks and let them practice tracing their letters in the shaving cream.  It acts as a cleaning agent, wipes right off, and is tons of fun. We also had  lots of fun with our bubble wrap sensory slide
15.  Bubble bath- I buy our bubble bath at The Dollar Tree.  It is tear free, and creates lots of bubbles.  It is what we use to get mountains of bubbles when we paint our bubbles at bath.

100 Things You Can Buy From the Dollar Tree and Use in Play - Perfect Nanny Match - bath_time_fun_with_bubbles

16.  Bath poofs- these make a great painting tool.  Get four mini bath poofs for just $1
17.  Lotion- My daughter loves lotion.  We use it for sensory play often.  We have even made a sensory bin with lotion as the base.
18.  Paper plates- use them to make all sorts of paper plate crafts!  Lots of simple craft ideas for the
19.  Shower curtains-  paint a beautiful shower curtain mural.  I love this idea from Come Together Kids!

100 Things You Can Buy From the Dollar Tree and Use in Play - Perfect Nanny Match - shower_curtain_mural20.  Band-aids- peeling the backs off of band-aids is great for hand-eye coordination ,and fine motor skills. They are just like stickers- toddlers love band-aids.  Give them a box when you need to occupy them  for a bit.  They are also great for pretend play ,and even crafts.  This band-aid man is one example.
21.  Rubbing alcohol- use it to make beautiful colored pasta for crafts, color sorting, math activities, and pasta necklaces.
22.  Cotton swabs-  there are a ton of fun ways to use cotton swabs.  Here is a list of Q-tip crafts for kids. You can also use Q-tips as a teaching tool in the classroom
23.   Hair gel- use it to make fun squishy sensory bags.  We have made lots of different types of sensory bags from Halloween themed to glowing!  In the classroom, make them together.  Super inexpensive and the children will have fun with them at home.

100 Things You Can Buy From the Dollar Tree and Use in Play - Perfect Nanny Match - sensory_bags_play_3324.  Bath fragrances-  I use these to create our sensory baths.  These could also be used to fragrance sensory bins or to make perfume concoctions

The Kitchen Gadget Aisle

25.  Aluminum foil- use it as a canvas to paint or to make a robot.  Here is a whole list of foil crafts for kids
26.  Highlighters- use these to make glow water.  Just be sure to check that the highlighters you are using are non-toxic.  Glow water can make all sorts of things glow.  This glowing bath is one example.  Check out our glowing playtimes  for lots more ideas!

100 Things You Can Buy From the Dollar Tree and Use in Play - Perfect Nanny Match - Outer_Space_themed_glowing_bath

27.  Pie pans- for making mud pies, fun bubble concoctions or in pretend cooking
28.  Muffin tins- there are so many ways to utilize a muffin tin other than it's intended use.  Use it to hold paint during bath time, spices while spice painting, or for making pretend play cupcakes
29.   Ice cube trays- freeze colored ice cubes for bath or to put into your child's Summer beverage.  Freeze paint and enjoy some fun outdoor painting in the Summer.
30.  Storage containers-  all the storage containers used to create our child guided play space were purchased at The Dollar Tree.  Teachers and parents can never have enough storage containers!

100 Things You Can Buy From the Dollar Tree and Use in Play - Perfect Nanny Match - IMG_1120

We also use these storage containers to make small scale sensory bins. The containers used four our Make Your own Elmo party favors were also purchased here.

31.  Tongs- great for manipulating all sorts of materials
32.  Measuring cups- great for mixing, pouring, using for pretend cooking and at bath
33.  Pasta strainer- use it to make rain in the bath tub, or for pipe cleaner threading
34.  Sponges-  make sponge bombssponge towers, or use them to paint.
35.  Table cloths- make a great drop cloth for messy play.  They can also be used to make fun slip-N-slides like this one

100 Things You Can Buy From the Dollar Tree and Use in Play - Perfect Nanny Match - IMG_4845

**This whole aisle can pretty much be utilized in some way.  Children prefer real gadgets to pretend ones,   and if you purchase then at The Dollar Tree, they are actually cheaper than the imitations.  Win/win**

The Art/Craft/ Office Aisle

36.  Poster board- these are two for $1and come in an array of colors.  We used postal board to create a removable wall mural so that each child could take a piece of the art work home with them after one of our messy play dates.
37.  Construction paper
38.  Postal paper- great for large art, homemade gift wrap, and to lay down before a messy project
39.  Bubble wrap- what kid doesn't love bubble wrap?  Paint it, pop it, giggle!  Or make a fun bubble wrap sensory slide
40.  Scissors- they have a variety, even ones for beginners just learning to cut
41.  Bingo markers-  These make a great addition to any art supply collection. These faux Spring flowers from Mom to Posh Lil Divas are a great example of why.

100 Things You Can Buy From the Dollar Tree and Use in Play - Perfect Nanny Match - Collages188They are great for little hands, and create minimal mess.

42.  Masking tape- every toddler loves tape.  Give them a roll to play with, and they will have a blast.  It can also be used for endless projects, of course.
43.  Glue sticks
44.  School glue- besides all the normal uses, you can use glue to make glow in the dark glue, slime, and for slime basket fun!

100 Things You Can Buy From the Dollar Tree and Use in Play - Perfect Nanny Match - messy_bath_play-_slime_baskets_00

45.  Envelopes-  make envelope puppets or set up a pretend play mail center or playtime
46.  Tissue paper-  make a kaleidoscopetissue heart collages or simple Spring flowers.  Or create beautiful stained glass art like The Chocolate Muffin Tree

100 Things You Can Buy From the Dollar Tree and Use in Play - Perfect Nanny Match - IMG_4413

47.  White wrapping paper- use for large art, or to make your own gift wrap.  It also works as a great drop  cloth during messy activities.  Simply throw it away after the play time.
48.  Party favors- these make a great paint brush.  The Iowa Farmer's Wife illustrates just how well here

100 Things You Can Buy From the Dollar Tree and Use in Play - Perfect Nanny Match - DSC_2848

49.  Popsicle sticks- make creative magnets or popsicle sight word games.  There are endless crafts using Popsicle sticks AKA craft sticks.   This horsetruck, and  alligator are just a few examples
50.  Stickers- my toddler loves stickers.  When I need to get dinner started, I often give her stickers and  paper.  Keeps her occupied for a bit.  Stickers are also a great prize for teachers to have on hand. You could also try sticker resist art

51.  Foam sheets- these can be used in all sorts of ways.  Besides all the general crafting, they magically stick to the bath walls when wet.   Bath pumpkin art  and a Boo bath are two fun ways we have used them.

100 Things You Can Buy From the Dollar Tree and Use in Play - Perfect Nanny Match - Bath_time_pumpkin_face_decorating_0You could do something similar in the classroom using the windows

52.  Felt sheets- great for arts and crafts.  We create things for our felt board out of these sheets. Here is a whole list of fun felt crafts for kids
53.  Pipe cleaners-make 3D art, create pipe cleaner and googly eye creatures or make pipe cleaner crafts just to name a few
54.  Googly eyes- besides all the obvious arts and crafts, you can also use these to make a fun sensory bag or with play dough.  We used googly eyes as part of our Make Your Own Elmo party favors.
55.  Glass jars- the glass jars at The Dollar Tree are not exactly like mason jars but they are similar and there are hundreds of crafts you can make using these jars.  These glowing pumpkin jars are one example.

100 Things You Can Buy From the Dollar Tree and Use in Play - Perfect Nanny Match - Glow_in_the_dark_pumpkin_lanterns

56.  coloring books- not just for coloring.  Cover the coloring page in pulses, make a place mat, or create a small world scene like Quirky Mama
57.  Window markers- Rosie loves decorating the windows, and once she is done, the window markers  wash right off.  These would be fun for the classroom!
58.  Markers- besides all the obvious things, you can also use these in the classroom for fun sight word activities or at home to set up a creative art bath station

100 Things You Can Buy From the Dollar Tree and Use in Play - Perfect Nanny Match - messy_play_in_the_sink_and_bath_3All the mess washes right down the drain!
59.  Sun catcher kits- comes with a sun catcher, paint, and a brush
60.  Wooden toys that you can  paint yourself.  They have a bunch of different ones.  Rosie is always so proud of her painted toys too.
61.  Glitter- glitter makes just about everything more fun.  Rosie loves glitter.  We use it almost everyday!
62.  Glitter glue- a child favorite!
63.  Floral wire- Here is a whole list of fun crafts for kids using wire
64.  Yarn- paint with it, create beautiful products like this yarn wrapped vase, or make yarn eggs. Make yarn hearts or beautiful patio decorations like these from The Chocolate Muffin Tree

100 Things You Can Buy From the Dollar Tree and Use in Play - Perfect Nanny Match - IMG_2914

65.  Rocks, pebbles, stones- great in sensory bins and for sorting.  Start a pet rock collection.  Make a magical fairy world or go diving for treasure.  Rocks are also fun to paint or for creating rock art

The Home Improvement Aisle

66.  Duct tape- use it to make a giant squishy sensory bag. Make a duct tape purse or a cardboard train. You can even make a boat out of duct tape.  Also great in an array of arts and crafts.  There really are
so many things you can do with duct tape!
67.  Tap lights- great for teaching the concept of on/off.  We used them in one of our water bead stations and to make this simple hand held light box.

100 Things You Can Buy From the Dollar Tree and Use in Play - Perfect Nanny Match - box

68.  Painters drop cloths- great to lay down before messy play.  They can also be used to make giant squishy sensory bags
69.  LED candles- they come in a three pack, and can be used to make luminaries
70.  String
71.  Clothes Pins- make a clothes pin dinosaur or a clothes pin wreath.  Make an airplane or a clothes pin butterfly

72.  Flash lights- play flash light tag, or make shadow puppets
73.  Mini paint rollers- these make great painting tools.
74.  Utility rope- We used it to create a space to hang our children's art. click here for an example.

The Toy Aisle

75.  Glow sticks- make glow balloons or make a glow stick lanternSun Hats and Wellie Boots had a lot of fun playing with them in the bath.

100 Things You Can Buy From the Dollar Tree and Use in Play - Perfect Nanny Match - glow476.  Play dough- if you don't feel like making your own, they have it!
77.  Creatures- I have gotten packets of dinosaurs, bugs, and sea life.  I use these creatures for sensory play all the time.  Here is a collection of over 100 sensory play ideas!  There are several other ways to use them too.  Rosie loves them in her bath
78.  Bath capsules- these capsules turn into fun shaped sponges when placed in warm water
79.  Water beads- The package has them labeled as gel balls, but are the same thing as water beads.  To be more precise, the package says, Grow Your Own Gel Balls.  We LOVE them!  We painted with them here.

100 Things You Can Buy From the Dollar Tree and Use in Play - Perfect Nanny Match - bead7There are endless ways to explore these gems. The Chocolate Muffin Tree compiled a list of 32 ways to play with water beads

80.  Fake snow-  this stuff is so cool.  It is right next to the gel balls in the toy aisle. Not familiar with fake snow?  Click here to learn more.  It was also used in this sensory bin from  Carrots are Orange

100 Things You Can Buy From the Dollar Tree and Use in Play - Perfect Nanny Match - IMG_2722-300x225

81.  Grow your own Crystals- It is a kit also right near the water beads.  Fun Science whether at home or in the classroom.
82.  Magnifying glass- great for exploring objects, and in sensory play.  We use our magnifying glasses ALL  the time!
83.  Princess crowns- Great for imaginative play.  We also use ours for Princess sensory baths

100 Things You Can Buy From the Dollar Tree and Use in Play - Perfect Nanny Match - The_princess_bath!1

84.  Toy cars and trucks- we got the cars and trucks for our construction site sensory bin  from The Dollar Tree.  We have also used these cars to paint with.
85.  Pool noodles- there are a ton of things you can do with pool noodles. Make rainbow arches.  Create  a fun obstacle course.   Make a marble run or or a croquet course.  Try pool noodle printing or make pool noodle critters like Time for Play

100 Things You Can Buy From the Dollar Tree and Use in Play - Perfect Nanny Match - 011

86.  Bubbles- so many fun ways to use bubbles besides traditional bubble blowing.  Try bubble painting or have fun making bubble concoctions
87.  Balloons- There are endless ways to use balloons. Make stress ball balloons.  Fill your child's room as a special surprise, or create a fun bath time party celebration

100 Things You Can Buy From the Dollar Tree and Use in Play - Perfect Nanny Match - bath15

88.  Water balloons- Besides the loved water balloon battles,  they are really fun to play with at bath.  You could also try water balloon painting
89.  Books-  I am quite impressed by the selection of books you can find at The Dollar Tree.  Since they are generally smaller sized books, they are great for carrying in your diaper bag
90.  Kites
91.  Hula hoops- not just for hulaing.  There are so many ways to use a hula hoop.  Click here for a list of eight fun ways.  You can also make a children's play tent using a hula hoop.
92. Textured balls- Great in a sensory bin like this one or for textured ball painting.

100 Things You Can Buy From the Dollar Tree and Use in Play - Perfect Nanny Match - painting_in_a_groupThis list really could go on and on.  Have you explored the toy section of The Dollar Tree lately?  It is pretty amazing what you can get for a dollar!

The Seasonal Section

93.  Seeds- not just for planting.  Make seed mosaics, seeded play dough, or use them for sorting, patterns and simple math activities
94.  Flower pots- we make an activity out of ours, and paint them.  You can also use them for pour painting
95.  Imitation flowers- These are great for imaginary play.  We used then in a gardening sensory bin, and often use them during  sensory baths. Rain Forest Sensory bath

100 Things You Can Buy From the Dollar Tree and Use in Play - Perfect Nanny Match - Rain_Forest_sensory_bath_1

96.  Soil- great for planting flowers, making mud for mud pies, in sensory bins like our digging for bugs sensory station. We also used this soil to have a mud party play date!

100 Things You Can Buy From the Dollar Tree and Use in Play - Perfect Nanny Match - play_in_the_mud_566

For even more ideas, check out our International Mud Day Round Up!
97.  Shovels, spades, gardening gloves-  they have all of these things in children and adult sizes
98.  Giant fly swatters- these make perfect painting tools.  Rosie loves painting with our giant fly swatters.

100 Things You Can Buy From the Dollar Tree and Use in Play - Perfect Nanny Match - painting_with_giant_fly_swattersYou can also use them as bubble wands.

99.    Large pieces of bamboo- makes a great hiking stick (your child can decorate it them self) Also makes great outdoor wind chimes like the ones created by Child Central Station
100.    Lots of pool toys- rafts, beach balls, arm floaties. Sand toys, buckets, shovels, and so much more!!!

Also don't forget to check out The Holiday Section!!!

Whenever you go to The Dollar Tree, be sure and walk through the holiday section.  You can find so many great materials.  I get the bulk of the items I use to create our holiday sensory bins from there.  Check out my Valentines Day sensory bin  and my St. Patrick's Day sensory bin bin for examples.
This list really could go on too.  I am already thinking of things I forgot like cotton balls and manila folders for folder games.  Then there's cookie sheets.  You can do so many things with those and.......on and on.   I bet if you take a walk around The Dollar Tree, you will find things to add to this list as well.  I am amazed by how many fun activities we are able to do with the items bought here.

So there you have it!

100 items you can and should purchase from The Dollar Tree to use in play and in the classroom!

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