10 Summer Essentials for Kids Available at Dollar General

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School is almost out for summer, which means it's time to prepare summer activities for the kids. No one wants their kids sitting around playing video games all day, or simply sitting around complaining of boredom. Many of us want to spend as little time as possible wandering stores with our kids to purchase supplies they need.

I usually go to a variety of stores to get the summer supplies I need, but this this year, I decided to stop by Dollar General before going anywhere else. Every time I shop in this store, I seem to find something I didn't expect them to have, so I decided to see how many summer essentials I could find there. I think I did pretty well, finding 10 essential items.

By the way, I am not getting paid by Dollar General to write this, nor did the company ask me to write this. It just happens to be the closest store to my house. Many similar stores, I would assume, have similar items available.

Balls

Balls are essential to many outdoor sports activities kids play. There's catch, kickball, catch a high fly, and balls can even be used for capture the flag. And, somehow, several balls disappear by the end of each summer, so stocking up is essential.

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I was disappointed I couldn't find wiffle balls at my local store, but I am still pretty happy I got a playground ball for $5 and a small play ball for $1.

By the way, I love the bright colors available for the balls, making it a little easier to find ones that roll into nearby wooded areas or gardens.

Arts and Crafts

Arts and crafts are always a great break from outdoor activities, and homework projects throughout the school year deplete my supply in some way. Dollar General has a variety of craft items, including pom poms, sparkly items, crayons, markers and poster board, but I didn't need that much stuff.

I got construction paper for $1.65, glue for $1, and craft sticks for $1.

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Need some craft ideas? Check out these links:

Glow Sticks

Chances are kids will be outside later than usual, especially on Independence Day. Plan ahead for playtime at and after dusk with glow stick items. Getting a 10-pack of bracelets like I got allows you to provide safety and fun to the entire block, or allows your kids to have more than one.

The glow bracelets were $1.

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Rainy Days

There's nothing worse than when a rainy day spoils the outdoor activities the kids wanted to play. Sometimes, the usual stuff around the house just won't satisfy their broken hearts.

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I love these Play Packs, mini coloring and activity books that come with crayons and stickers, for those days. I keep the packs hidden, so they are a surprise on rainy days.

Another great thing is the packs are small enough to pack in suitcase in case a vacation day at the beach or theme park is ruined by rain.

The Play Packs are $1 each, and are available featuring a variety of favorite characters. I purchased two packs in this trip.

Sidewalk Chalk

Using chalk to draw on driveways, sidewalks and cul-de-sacs, is such a big deal that some companies have created advanced ways to perform this simple activity. But, there's really nothing better than keeping it simple with that thick, colored chalk grasped in small hands.

Kids can use the chalk to make larger pieces of art, or to welcome home a parent who's been at work all day or a grandparent coming to visit. After a summer of use, many of our sticks of chalk are usually stubs.

A pack of four sticks of chalk was only $1.

S'mores

If it's summer, it's time for s'mores. S'mores are the perfect treat after cookouts, since the marshmallows can be toasted using the same flame. There are many other flame sources that can be used to toast marshmallows, and Pinterest provides many ways to make the treat, even for those who don't have access to a flame.

As a extra plus, there are always more graham crackers than needed, which can be great afternoon snacks for hungry children. Try topping with cream cheese or hazelnut spread, and add fresh fruit, like sliced strawberry.

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The basic supplies, marshmallow, chocolate and graham crackers are all available at Dollar General. While store brand was available, I still purchased the popular brands, especially since those brands were available at sale prices.

I got Kraft marshmallows for $1 (regular price was $1.45), Hershey's milk chocolate bars for $3.50 (regular price is $4.25), and Honey Maid graham crackers for $2.75 (regular price is $3), making the total cost for the treat $7.25.

FlaVorIce

Another classic summer treat great for hot days is FlaVorIce, the tubes of colorful, flavored ice pops. Probably the neatest thing about the treats this year is the company has collaborated with Star Wars. What Star Wars fan didn't think those tubes of ice already looked like lightsabers?

Even with the Star Wars marketing, the FlaVorIce was only $1.

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Water Bottles

It's important to keep kids hydrated, and reusable water bottles are a great way to give kids their personal supply. Dollar General has a variety of styles, and ones with licensed characters cost a little more than basic bottles, like the one I got.

The water bottle was only $1.

Suncreen

If your kids are going to be outside, they'll need sunscreen to protect their skin. The store had a few popular brands and types available. I decided to try the Dollar General brand since it was available at a much lower price than the popular brand I normally get, and because it was available in a spray version, which my children and I are used to.

The sunscreen was on sale for $4. Its regular price was listed at $5.

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Aloe Gel

No matter how diligent we think we are being with the sunscreen, someone always gets a sunburn at least once. It's good to have a tube of aloe gel in the house just in case, if you don't own an aloe plant.

Aloe immediately helps the burn heal, even providing a cooling sensation. It is also good for helping other types of burns heal, and can help with other skin conditions.

The tube of store brand aloe gel was $2.

My grand total for this summer prep was $28.90, not including tax. Some prices were lower than the usual cost at other stores, while others were the exact same price I'd pay somewhere else. Plus, Dollar General often has a $5 off coupon available on Saturdays, so be sure to check the advertising flyer or app for those potential savings.

© 2016 Samantha Sinclair

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