In $2 Toddler, I want to share the expanse of activity possibilities available at the dollar store! Because, let's face it, toddler crafts and activities never go as planned, and the ones that never work are the ones you spend the big bucks on! Enter, (my personal fave) the Dollar Tree. All activities in this series can be done with supplies costing $2 or less. Because, sometimes, less is more. I'm calling this an "on-going" series because I don't want to limit it to the holiday season. I found my inspiration for this series from Growing a Jeweled Rose. There is so much fun to be had with dollar store finds and I can't wait to share!
In today's installment: water beads and a bingo marker
The result: a Christmas tree
In case you don't know what water beads are, let me enlighten you! These little squishy balls of goodness are this prior preschool teachers dream...sigh :) At the Dollar Tree they are located in the "floral" area. They are clear little balls that are in a medium sized bottle with water in it. (You can also get them at Joann fabrics store in a variety of colors. At Joann, they are bought in their dehydrated form in little packages. They are more expensive, but worth it for emotion/sensory bottles!) We have used these in the bathtub too, but that's another post for the series, so stay tuned ;) Anticipation is killer, right! Anyways, you can see them in the pictures below.
To make the tree, I gave my toddler a piece of white paper and plopped some green finger paint around in small blobs. Then, I put some water beads on the paper and let him roll them through the paint.
The preschool teacher in me was so excited for him to engage this squishy mess of fun, the mom in me, wished I had contained the paper in a plastic tub. O well. Live and learn, and keep wipes close by at all times!
When he decided he was done painting, I hung the paper high up on our garage door (exterior doors are magnetic...this is where he puts all his art work) to dry. When it was dry, I cut it into a Christmas tree shape. Then, I used a red bingo marker to dab on some "ornaments". (I did the ornament part. I wasn't patient enough to blog about this tomorrow, and Sully was already in bed. O well, group effort right?) Then I hung it up!
Easy peasy, cheap and -in this case- SQUEEZY!
**Just a side note about the water beads. These little suckers are FANTASTIC, but you need to be present and pay attention when your toddler plays with them. They are super great for fine motor and sensory activities. They are versatile and interesting. And, they are squishy. Temptingly squishy. So temptingly squishy that your toddler WILL squish a few to pieces. They are also small. Think, smaller than a marble. So, just a word to the wise, be there. And to be honest, you will probably get more enjoyment out of the little things than your toddler anyways!