How the Dollar Tree Helped Me Entertain My Toddler for Hours -- Without Screen Time

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  • The Dollar Tree sells tons of great craft items, so it was easy to purchase a bunch of different materials.
  • The craft cart I made has kept my son well entertained and exercising his creativity frequently over the past few months.

Busy parents could find themselves getting some free time back thanks to the Dollar Tree.

Entertaining my toddler can be a challenge. Although he is in preschool three mornings a week, he's home with me the rest of the time -- and he's a very active child who likes constant stimulation and attention.

I don't want to resort to screen time, and I also don't want to give my credit cards a workout. Buying new toys all the time to keep him entertained gets expensive. The good news is, I found a simple solution that cost me very little and that has kept my son happy for hours without a tablet in sight -- and it's all thanks to shopping at the Dollar Tree.

The Dollar Tree helped me set up an amazing craft station

The Dollar Tree enabled me to entertain my son and encourage his creativity by allowing me to set up an amazing craft cart for him.

The craft cart sits in a closet in our main room where my son can easily roll it out and pull it over to his workstation whenever he gets a creative urge. The Dollar Tree has tons of items that I was able to fill every drawer with, including a wide range of different types of materials including paint, sticker books, stencils, stones, markers, colored pencils, coloring books, tissue paper, streamers, googly eyes, and much more.

Not only does the Dollar Tree have lots of free-form materials that can inspire his creativity, but they also have some prepackaged crafts as well. I've been able to pick up seasonal wooden decor items for him to paint that come with the paint and brushes included, and also tote bags that can be colored with the included markers.

While I like to have the materials available so he can be creative and come up with his own projects, it's nice to have these prepared items for when I don't have time to supervise a creative endeavor as closely. The best part is, since they come with single-use paints and markers, there's almost no mess involved. He can complete his craft and I can toss the used materials out without having to wash paint brushes and paint trays.

My son absolutely adores doing these projects, and each day when he comes in the house, the craft cart is the first place that he runs to. He pulls out different things on different days and entertains himself for a long time before coming to show me his masterpiece.

How I made it happen

Creating my Dollar Tree craft cart was simple and easy. I purchased a rolling multi-drawer organizer from Amazon with dozens of drawers to fill, and my son and I went to the store and I let him wander the aisles with me looking for inspiration.

While some items were on my list to buy, I also let him have input, too -- which is how we ended up with clear stones meant to fill decorative candle bowls that he loves to color and write letters on.

Once we got home, we loaded up the drawers, printed out labels with pictures on them so he could see what was in each drawer (like the glue and marker drawer), and he was ready to go town.

All told, I probably spent around $100 on the project including the $79.00 rolling cart -- and he's had hours of fun with endless more to come. It was well worth the investment.

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