Friday, February 5, 2010

i love the dollar store, but . . .

Yes, I'll admit it. I am addicted to the dollar store. I find the most amazing things for my classroom there. Bubbles and huge bubble wands are a staple. But I also love the dollar store for all sorts of baskets and things to organize our room, sponges, baby wipes, holiday items, tape, glue sticks, ribbon, odd kitchen items that are fun to use in the art center, office items for the writing center, and the list goes on and on and on. A few weeks ago I found a simple supermarket math game aimed at young elementary students. With a few tweeks, I turned it into a memory/color matching game for my littles. There is just something about the dollar store (and flea markets and garage sales) that gets my creative juices flowing.

Okay, here is the but. I do not like the dollar store for art supplies. I'm a little bit of an art freak, I admit. I wait for sales and coupons but I try to buy real watercolor paper for the littles. They use quality paint. They use real brushes and not the plastic ones with yucky brushes that don't hold paint. Well . . . yesterday I saw some pretty neat looking markers at the dollar store. They said they were non-toxic. They claimed they were water-based and washable. And . . . they were a disaster. Every one of my littles went home covered in marker. I ruined my favorite pants. My hands (which I wash oh-let's-see 100 times a day) are still black. And to top it off, the colors were muddy and unappealing. Oh dollar store markers, you lured me in with your stylish chunky shape and attractive packaging but I won't be fooled again.

7 comments:

Ayn Colsh said...

You are so right! You can find some great bargains, but you have to be careful and try things out. We have several stores from the Dollar Tree chain nearby and the bigger stores have a teacher section. I have made some great games and classroom materials from stuff I've found there. I managed to make take home kits with books and activities using dollar store stuff. When items are missing upon return, I don't feel nearly as bad as when things are missing from the $85 take home kits from Kaplan!

Steve and Stella said...

Any idea on what our litte guy could start with his art talent? All our docs tell us he can start the crayon but they all ends up in his mouth.. so I am not too sold on this non-toxic thing...

Kat said...

Let him fingerpaint with pudding! You can also make homemade playdough. I posted the recipe for it in November. I wouldn't let him eat the playdough but if he puts a little in his mouth it won't hurt him. I'll send you the recipe for peanut butter playdough. That is edible so it's okay if it goes in the mouth. As far as crayons go . . . when Leslie was under 3, I used beeswax crayons for her. They make some really big ones that aren't a choking hazard. You can find them on-line at Waldorf toy stores. Just type Waldorf toys into google. Hope this helps! Have fun!

Kat said...

Ayn, I would love to make some inexpensive take home book/activity kits for my class. I've looked at the Kaplan kits but couldn't justify spending that much! I do send home our class mascot (a bear) and his backpack full of goodies, along with a journal for the children/parents to write and draw in. What kinds of things do you put in your dollar store take home kits?

Teacher Tom said...

I actually find myself avoiding the dollar store these days because I tend to over buy. Everything seems to cheap until I hit the register and find out I'm spending $100!

I totally agree about art supplies. I like the good stuff.

Steve and Stella said...

Thanks Kathy! Yes I will take the recipe if you have it. :-)

Launa Hall said...

Ha! Thanks for the laugh. I've been there with the cheap art supplies. They seem like a good idea....