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How to turn $10 into 10 Hours of Play

How a Quick Trip to the Dollar Tree can buy you Endless Opportunities for Playing with Play Dough - Playing with Play Dough

How a Quick Trip to the Dollar Tree can buy you Endless Opportunities for Playing with Play Dough

Raise your hand if you recognize this scenario:

It’s hour 1,305,047 of coming up with activities to keep your favorite little ones busy, engaged, educated, focused, creative, and happy and you’re coming up empty.

You have finished off all of your paper and glue supply, worn out every crayon and marker, completed a shelf-full of store-bought craft kits, and spent a small fortune on materials. Your money and energy are spent…and your kids are still clamoring for more!

Where do you go from here?

Your nearest Dollar Tree!

With just $10, you can stock up on all of the supplies you need to create over 10 hours worth of open-ended educational, creative, and developmentally-appropriate activities for any child.

Here’s your shopping list:

Ten $1 Items to Buy for Endless Play Dough Activities - Playing with Play Dough

Ten $1 Items to Buy for Endless Play Dough Activities

1. A Tray or Container

Set up your set up for success from the start! Your Dollar Tree has tons of trays and containers available to create an eye-catching invitation to play. I chose this flower-shaped plastic veggie and dip tray for this learning set up. Browse the kitchen and cleaning supplies section to find one that will work best for your kiddo and the space you have free for play dough supplies.

2. Glass Gems

I love including glass gems in any play dough kit I create for my daughters. They are a fun manipulative that can be used with play dough in a multitude of ways like creating paths, decorating houses, and counting.

3. Pom Poms

Pom poms are another great supply that can be purchased in bulk for cheap and used to create tons of activities. While the ones for this haul aren’t the highest quality, they get the job done for the right price!

4. Glitter Vase Filler

Glitter vase filler, a.k.a. those glittery balls you see in designer play dough kits, are always an eye-catching feature to add to any activity set up. You can find them at all the big-name craft stores these days. I was super pumped to find them at the Dollar Tree for a fraction of the price! As with most dollar store supplies, are they the highest quality? No. Will they withstand hours and hours of endless play? Also, probably no. Will they get the job done? You betcha!

5. Acrylic Gemstones

These decorative acrylic gemstones are both sturdy and stimulating. They can be used as treasure, decoration, manipulatives, and more. And, they’re the perfect size for smaller hands. I found these in the aisle with the vase fillers.

6. Feathers

My kiddos love to play with feathers! They use them to make monsters, animals, nests for their creations, and other made-up play dough playthings.

7. Chenille Stems

I grew up calling these babies pipe cleaners, and still do. But, at some point in recent years, the official name was changed to disengage from any negative connotations like smoking or other unsavory innuendos (<–a fun tidbit for you! :)). Whatever you call them, buy a pack to add to your play dough busy tray. They’re easy to bend, mold, and cut to fit any purpose your little one dreams up!

Play Dough Activity Tray - Playing with Play Dough

8. Straws

Plastic and paper straws are both great additions to your arts and crafts supplies. Easy to cut and easier to replace, your child will love poking, skewering, and building with these for hours.

9. Googly Eyes

I found a bag of multi-sized googly eyes in the craft section and immediately threw it in my cart. We can never have too many stashes of googly eyes in my house for all of our holiday and school projects!

10. Small Silicone Kitchen Tongs

These silicone kitchen tongs are the perfect size for preschool-aged hands. They’re amazing for adding an additional level of hand-eye coordination and pre-writing development. Plus, they’re a tool that feels like a toy!

You can easily switch up an activity by adding a set of “grabbers” to the set up. Plus, you can buy the other matching kitchen tools to really amp up your collection.

And the One Item Not to Buy for $1

There is one item that I do not stock up on at the dollar store, unless I’m in major need: play dough.

Most times, I see single cans of the higher quality name-brand containers selling for a buck when they’re much cheaper to buy from Walmart or Amazon.

$24.99 for a 36-pack of 3-ounce cans!

$11.99 for 12 4-ounce cans of Spring or Winter colors

Quick + Easy Play Dough Prompts to Get Playing

You did it! You shopped, you prepped, you’re ready! Now what?

Here are some super-simple stand-alone ideas and prompts to keep stored away for when your little one’s creative juices just aren’t flowing. Plus, you can always find more ideas in the Activities section of this site!

15 No-Prep Play Dough Prompts:

  • Build-a-: monster, bird, animal
  • Make a: cake, candy, cookie, cupcake, pie
  • Grow a: flower, fruit, dinosaur, snowman
  • Design a: toy, snowflake, house

Turn $10 into 10 Hours of Play with Play Dough Supplies

And there you have it! With just $10, you can stock up on all of the supplies you need to create over 10 hours worth of open-ended educational, creative, and developmentally-appropriate activities for any child.

Have you created a special stash of supplies for playing with play dough? What are you go-to must haves that don’t break the bank?? I’m always on the lookout for more!

How to turn $10 into 10 Hours of Play - Playing with Play Dough

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