Keep your kids entertained all summer with these 20 Dollar Store ideas

Dollar Tree Store
Flickr | JeepersMedia

Having kids can be expensive. And summer break can be especially pricey. Even if you’re not paying for summer camp or daycare, there are bound to be increases in your food and utility bills due to the kiddos being home all the time.

Paying for a movie, public pool or other costly outing every time your kids complain they’re bored can also bust your budget in a hurry. Fortunately, you can find loads of ways to help them entertain themselves at home, and they all start with a visit to your friendly neighborhood dollar store.

Check out these fun dollar store DIYs that will amuse your brood from June until September.

1. Reusable Water Bombs

Slice up some new, dry sponges. Stack them, tie them together with baker’s twine or other sturdy string and pull them apart to make a quasi-ball shape. Soak them in water for a backyard fight without the mess of broken balloons, suggests the blog The Chic Site.

Flickr | l4anyrat

2. Bubble Snakes

Cut the end off an empty water bottle and attach an old sock with a rubber band. In a bowl, mix dish soap with a little water and a few drops of food coloring for colorful suds. Dunk the sock into the soapy water and blow. See who can make the longest “snake.”

Flickr | mamamockingbird77

3. Pool Noodle Water Wall

Follow Casual Claire’s example and, using cable ties, attach dollar store pool noodles to pegboard or a fence. Give your toddler some small buckets, funnels, bottles and, of course, water for hours of engaging outdoor play.

Casual Claire

4. Cloud Dough

Can’t make it to the beach? Parent Savvy has instructions on how to make a batch of soft sand in your kitchen. Just combine eight parts flour with one part baby oil. You can get the ingredients and some fun toy molds at the dollar store.

Parent Savvy

5. Flashlight Tag

At a buck apiece, you can afford to buy every member of the family their own flashlight. Then, head outdoors after the sun goes down and try to “tag” one another with the beams of your lights.

Flickr | protoflux

RELATED: 9 Genius Ways Parents Can Use Dollar Store Items To Make Life Easier

6. Water Sensory Bins

Just add water to turn a simple bin and some small toys into cool, refreshing sensory play. Glue Sticks & Gumdrops recommends you turn it all into a science lesson by adding different colored ice cubes to the water.

Glue Sticks & Gumdrops

7. Kickball Croquet

Put pieces of dowel, skewers or even sticks from your own yard into the ground as stakes. Then, as per Inner Child Fun, bend pool noodles and place them onto the stakes to create large croquet wickets. Kids can kick a beach ball, soccer ball or other small ball through the hoops.

Inner Child Fun

8. Drip, Drip, Drench

A small pail of water and a clean sponge turn Duck, Duck, Goose into a fun water game. As the child who is “It” walks around the circle, they will drip a little water onto each friend’s head, saying, “Drip.” When they choose the “Goose,” They squeeze all of the water onto that player’s head, say, “Drench!” and run for it.

Flickr | LouisvilleUSACE

9. Sponge Bucket Relay Race

Small containers and sponges from the dollar store are all you need for this boredom-busting activity. Split a group of kids into teams. One player on each team holds the bucket while others run a relay race with a wet sponge that they squeeze into the pail. The first team to fill their container wins.

Flickr | GaryPaulson

10. Ice Block Treasure Hunt

Freeze several small toys in a plastic container filled with water. Give kids small hammers or spray bottles filled with warm water. When they free a toy from the ice, it is theirs to keep.

Flickr | CJ Sorg

RELATED: 7 Genius Ways To Save At The Dollar Store This Spring

11. Pool Noodle Boats

The creators of the blog Our Family of Seven sliced rings from a pool noodle to make the base for small, floating boats. You can use straw and triangles cut from craft foam (all from the dollar store, of course) to form the sails.

Our Family of Seven

12. Tin Foil River

Turn your yard into a river for your pool noodle boats, per Our Beautifully Messy House. Fold up the edges on double layered strips of foil. Start on a slant, if possible, such as a hill or a slide. Run water from the garden hose at one end and have a boat race.

Our Beautifully Messy House

13. Mini Golf

Play putt-putt in the backyard, like Family Dollar suggests. Dig holes to insert disposable cups or simply place the cups on their sides to make each hole. Use garden stakes as flags for your mini course.

Family Dollar

14. Bean Bag Toss

Set up several small bins or bowls and label each one with a point amount. Use bean bags you already have or pick up some child’s socks at the dollar store, fill them with dry beans or rice and tie them closed for a DIY carnival game, suggests Dollar Store Mom.

Dollar Store Mom

15. Water Painting

You want to encourage creativity, but paint can be so messy. Instead, Tinker Lab suggests, buy paint rollers, brushes and spray bottles from the dollar store and let your kids “paint” the sidewalk and walls.

Tinker Lab

16. Hula Hoop Bubbles

Fill a small kiddie pool with bubble solution, suggests blogger Beth Kruse. Dunk a hula hoop in like a giant bubble wand and carefully lift it out for mega bubbles.

Beth Kruse Custom Creations

17. Fairy Garden

Hit the dollar store craft aisle for items such as moss, fabric butterflies and glass gems, as well as small birdhouses or other miniatures that will enable kids to creatively design their own fairy gardens.

Flickr | moonlightbulb

18. Backyard Tic-Tac-Toe

Use painters tape to make a tic-tac-toe board on a shower curtain or draw one on the sidewalk using chalk, suggests A Turtle’s Life for Me. Purchase six Frisbees (three of one color, three of another). Kids can take turns trying to toss three in a row.

A Turtle's Life for Me

19. Water Balloon Piñatas

Fill a bunch of balloons with water and hang them from a clothesline or length of rope, suggests blogger Mandy Douglass. Blindfold your kids and let them swing to try to break the pinatas and help everyone cool off.

It Will Change Your Life | Mandy Douglass

20. Water Blob

For each “blob,” you will need one tarp or thick plastic sheeting. As the blog Homemade Toast suggests, iron the edges together, leaving a small hole for the garden hose. Seal the hole with duct tape after filling with water. You can also make “mini” water blobs!

RELATED: 8 Items You Should Always Buy At Dollar Tree

[h/t BuzzFeed]

About the Author

Tricia Goss

Tricia is a professional writer and editor who lives in North Texas with her family and one smelly dog. She is a wannabe problem solver, junk food maven professional coffee practitioner, web guru and general communicator. More.

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