Keeping your toddler busy during the summertime doesn’t have to require a small fortune. While some activities like mini golfing, arcade trips, amusement parks and going to the movies can cost some serious bucks, save those activities for special rewards throughout the summer. For the day to day sunshine and adventures, there are plenty of things that you can purchase at your local dollar store that can lead to hours of laughter and fun.

Coffee Filters and Paper Plates

These simple items come in packs of ten and up, which can lead to dozens of interesting craft ideas. Masks, aquariums, wreaths, snack bowls and frames are just a few of the possibilities! Click here for coffee filter crafts, and here for paper plate crafts.


Sensory Bags

Using zip-loc bags, hair gel or body wash and food coloring and adding confetti, glitter, alphabet letters, sea creatures or animals or glow sticks, you can create sensory squishy bags for playtime! Not only can these be used to calm and ease anxiety in your munchkin, but they can help with sensory development. For DIY instructions, click here.

Tablecloth Slip ’n Slide

The party section will have tablecloths available year-round. Lay the tablecloth on the ground, and cover with water and a little bit of soap, or shaving cream, for some awesome slip ‘n slide action!

Hula Hoop Hideouts

Create forts, reading nooks and personal hideaways with bed sheets, safety pins, ribbons and rope. These awesome tents allow for individual play time, relaxing time and getting out of the sun for a little while. For DIY instructions, click here.

The most important thing to remember when summer comes around, is that it is about the time you spend together with your toddler, and not how much money you spend trying to make it happen. Have any fun activities you’ve done with your toddler on a budget? Share them with us in the comments below!