6 Amazing Kids' Gifts You Can Pull Together From Dollar Stores

6 Amazing Kids' Gifts You Can Pull Together From Dollar Stores

Behind on shopping? Tight on cash? Try these cheap, clever gift ideas that kids will love!

By Lorraine Allen

One of the best things about the holidays is giving gifts to little kids. I love how their little faces light up and they jump for joy. When they’re really young, they don’t even care what the gift is! A box of tissues to strew around? A large cardboard box to play in? Hours of awesome fun for a little one! As they get older, of course, their tastes develop, and opinions, too. Gifts start to take on personal meaning, and even more anticipation. For parents who are pressed for time to shop, or tight on cash (and let’s face it, who isn’t?) finding something exciting to give kids can become a little stressful. But take heart – there are countless creative ways to pull together cheap, quick gifts that still wow and even inspire kids – all from a dollar store. Here are just a few to inspire you:

An art bin: Get a box and fill it with some new coloring tools like crayons, pencils, and paper of different sizes and colors. Add a ruler, eraser, pencil sharpener, paint brushes, and paint. You might get lucky and find some nice canvases too, but if not, paper is fine – the more, the better! Kids love to make art; all they need are some basic tools to unleash their imaginations.

A candy store: This is my kid’s favorite idea. A large cardboard box can easily be transformed into a storefront window. And then all you need are some clear jars or containers and tons of candy! Seriously, how is this not the best (and cheapest) gift ever? If you get lucky and find a cheap play cash register, that would be a great special addition to this gift too. If not, buy a cheap kitchen drawer organizer and a package of fake money (or make some with paper) to complete the set.

A scrapbook kit: This is a great gift to help kids record their favorite childhood memories. You just need a thick album or blank notebook, a few glue sticks, some stickers, and rolls of tape. (Kids love colored tape, too). If you have some fun photos you can include to get them started, that’s a nice addition. A box of colored pens or markers may be useful for this project too.

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A dress-up bin: You don’t have to buy full costumes to make this a hit. Dollar stores are great places to find things like fake mustaches, crowns, tiaras, wigs, magic wands, bandanas, cheap sunglasses, and fabric that kids can use to make capes.


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A play spa: This is super simple, and if you give it to your kid, you can even enjoy getting pampered yourself by this one! Get a shallow plastic bin with a lid, deep and wide enough to hold a couple inches of water. You can decorate the outside with permanent markers or stickers to personalize it. Fill it with bottles of nail polish in your kid’s favorite colors, and some nail care tools like a nail file, clippers, and so on. Add in a small bottle of scented lotion, a loofa scrubber, some cotton balls, a cheap pair of flip flops (or two, in different sizes), and any other items reminiscent of real salons that you can think of.

An art gallery: This is fun for kids who already have a million pencils and markers to draw with. Give them the idea to set up an art gallery on a wall in their home, and the tools to make it happen. All they need are some simple frames they can decorate and use to display their favorite works, and a long rope and a box of binder clips to hang up other pieces they can rotate more easily (art galleries should have rotating “exhibits,” after all!).

Have you ever created gifts out of dollar-store finds?

Lorraine Allen is a writer and mom to one spunky first grader and one squirrel-obsessed dog. You can follow their delicious, allergy-friendly cooking adventures at @FeedingLina.

Image ©iStock.com/fotostorm

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