June 12, 2015

20 Dollar Tree Finds For All Teachers

Teachers LOVE a good deal and the Dollar Tree is one of my favorite places. Since we have to spend so much of our own money on our classroom, getting a good deal is important. My husband hates going in the store with me because he knows I'll just wander around wondering "what can I use this for?" :) When everything is so cheap, it's hard to determine what is junk and what is worth buying. Besides going down the teacher aisle and getting the obvious teacher supplies, I wanted to show you a few finds that I've used in my classroom that are worth purchasing. 

1. Clothespins - I use clothespins for many things in my classroom and these hold up just as good as if you bought them anywhere else. Clothespins are great for a clip chart, lunch count board, clip the sound, etc. 
2. Craft Supplies - Pipe cleaners, foam stickers, beads, glue sticks, foam, etc. are things that don't really matter the quality, so these are just fine for many of the crafts that I do. I don't buy their construction paper, crayons, or glue because those I don't think are that great.
3. Stickers - I use stickers in my writing center for "sticker stories" and I use them when grading student's papers. They are so much cheaper here than the teacher store, and honestly my students only get excited to get their sticker for about 5 seconds, so why waste money on them! 
4. Labels - Whether you are labeling folders or needing name tags, the Dollar Tree has a lot of labels. They typically have these cute labels during the back to school season. I stock up on them and use them for field trips.
5. Contact Paper - I use contact paper for a variety of things. To cover paper back books to make them sturdier, to cover my numbered circles on the floor for my line-up order, and patterned contact paper to re-cover filing cabinets.
6. Containers - I have SOOOO many containers from the Dollar Tree. Last year they had all the colors in my classroom so I really stocked up. I use them for book baskets, my small group table, art center, clipboards, etc. 
7. Sorting Trays - These are great to work on sorting in Math. You can also use these to organize craft supplies for each table or math manipulatives they'd need for an activity. 
8. Facial Scrubbers - I use these as mini erasers for our dry-erase boards. They come in 4 bright colors and they go perfect with my polka dot themed classroom!
9. Headphones - I went through a lot of headphones for my computer center and they would break or stop working. Now, I just grab these cheap ones because they work just as good.
10. Silly Glasses - The Dollar Tree has so many funny glasses that my students love wearing when they do "Read the Room". I don't have to worry if the break because they were only $1! 
11. Pointers - There are a variety of things you could use for pointers, but I think these wands are pretty sturdy. The colors also go with my bright colored classroom! My students use these and the silly glasses for their "Read the Room" activities.
12. Flyswatters - I use these to play "Splat". We play this in small group and whole group to work on sight words or any other skill. For sight words, I put words on flashcards and lay about 8 of them on the floor. Students have to smack the sight word that I say. 
13. Slinkies - Besides just being fun to play with, these mini slinkies are great to use in my reading group. I teach kids to s-t-r-e-t-c-h out words. They pull the slinky apart each time they say a sound in the word. SUPER FUN!
14. Push Lights - Dollar Tree has these lights in a few different shapes. I use these in my small group if we are playing a game and I have them "buzz" in. We also work on phoneme segmentation and put 3 down and click one light for each sound we hear in the CVC word.
15. Pocket charts - These small pocket charts are great for individual students to work on building words, matching games, sorting, etc. I also use them on my reading and math wall for vocabulary cards when I don't need a huge pocket chart.
16. Wipe Off Boards - I have used these individual wipe off boards to throw in center tubs. You can also find a standard size wipe off board too, which I use during reading groups. 
17.  Flashcards - If you need some cheap flashcards to throw in centers, send home with students, or give to a volunteer that works 1-1 with students, the Dollar Tree has a variety of flashcards. 
18. Playing Cards - I use playing cards in my math centers a lot. The cards are a bit more flimsy than some you'd get at Target or Walmart, but they are fine for classroom use. It's a lot cheaper to get them at the Dollar Tree when you are buying 10+ packs. 
19. Dice - you can get small dice there, but these jumbo dice are so much more fun to use! I throw these in math centers and the students love them!
20. Puzzles - I use puzzles at the beginning of the year to work on team building. Students can also use them during their "free play" time at the end of the day or during inside recess. The Dollar Tree always changes their puzzles, so you can get new ones all year long. If you lose a piece, you're only out $1 if you have to throw it away. Some of the boxes are sturdier than others. If they don't hold up, I just put the puzzle in a plastic art box and cut out the cover of the box so they can still see how to make the puzzle. 
I don't work for or get paid anything from the Dollar Tree for posting this (I wish!). I'm just trying to help another teacher out by saving you money and knowing what's worth buying for $1 and what's worth buying elsewhere. I also LOVE the Target dollar spot, but they change their selection ALL the time and it's not always the same everywhere around the country. The nice thing about the Dollar Tree, is that these items are available all year round and at every Dollar Tree I've been too.

Do you have any other suggestions of great finds you've seen at the Dollar Tree?


  1. Thank you Brittany for sharing your ideas and classroom activities with other teachers! Enjoy your summer vacation.

    1. Thanks Edith, have a great Summer as well!

  2. I love the face scrub pad idea! Thanks :)

    1. You're welcome, they work great!

    2. If you want to go super cheap, buy remnant fleece from the fabric store and cut it into squares. (I got most of mine after doing a project where we cut squares from the corners to make tied fleece blankets.) The fleece is washable and requires no sewing to prevent it from fraying. (JoAnn Fabric also has a teacher discount program, so that helps too.)

    3. If you want to go super cheap, buy remnant fleece from the fabric store and cut it into squares. (I got most of mine after doing a project where we cut squares from the corners to make tied fleece blankets.) The fleece is washable and requires no sewing to prevent it from fraying. (JoAnn Fabric also has a teacher discount program, so that helps too.)

    4. I use my child's old socks that no longer fit. These also can be washed and they are getting a new life!

  3. Thank you for the ideas I am a pre-K teacher always in the Dollar Tree! Ice trays are a great way to use for fine motor skills I buy the little balls in a package and put colors in the ice trays (2 for dollar) and get the big kitchen tongs (at dollar tree) and they match the balls with the color in the ice tray 2 skills in one colors and fine motor to get those little hands moving!!! The dividing trays that you have shown I use those all the time love them these are the greatest sorting and great for the 100th day of schools to divide all the stickers for 100 daysticker hats on sentence strips!!!!

    1. I've used the ice cube tray to store stamps, but color sorting w/tongs is a great idea!! Thanks for sharing your tips!

  4. Great ideas! I love all the things you can find at the Dollar Store to use in a classroom. :)
    Conversations in Literacy

  5. I really love the idea of using push lights to "buzz in" during small groups! Thanks for all the great ideas!
    Shine on in First Grade

  6. Headphones! I had no idea! Thanks for the tips.

  7. Headphones! I had no idea! Thanks for the tips.

  8. Thank you for sharing those really great suggestions. I'm from the Bahamas where there are no Dollar Trees but I'll be traveling in a bit and I will definitely look for those items you suggested for my learnings centers

    1. You can also go online and buy online!