Great gifts for kids at the dollar store

Most kids have a holiday wish list that includes toys they've seen on TV or in the movies, and chances are a lot of your holiday shopping budget will go to gratifying those dreams.

You may want to supplement one or two larger purchases with a few extra things that your child will also enjoy and, if your kids also like exchanging gifts with friends at Christmas time, costs can add up quickly. You can score some great gifts for kids at the dollar store.

Dollar General has toys for five dollars that include a 14-inch plush caterpillar, a plush lion with sound, Hot Wheels Rumble Road, Batman assorted character figures, hand-held video games and Disney Princess art sets, to name a few.

Family Dollar has full-function radio-controlled cars, Hot Wheels Color Shifters, five-car Hot Wheels gift sets and a three-piece barnyard play set, for only $5 each. A little girl in your life may enjoy a 29-piece tea set or a Disney Princess11-piece tea set costing only $5 each. For the same price, you can get a Baby Maggie doll. Ten dollar items include Disney Princess dolls and hideaway tents.

You can also put together great kid's gifts from stores like Dollar Tree by choosing from board games, puzzles, stuffed toys, Christmas candy, books and much more. You decide the amount you want to spend.

For the budding artist, choose craft supplies like a pad of white newsprint, construction paper, kid-friendly scissors, crayons and pencil crayons, glitter, glue, pom-pom craft kits or whatever you think will take your child's fancy. Put it all together in a zippered portfolio or fabric gift bag for a gift that will help spark creativity.

For a teen girl, pull together a few items like some fun socks, gum, Twizzlers, a hair brush, barrettes, bangle bracelets, a fashionable scarf and a chocolate treat.

Combine a picture book with a stuffed toy, a sticker book and stickers and some Christmas chocolate. If you like, you could try to match the stickers to the picture book. For instance, if you find a story featuring Disney's Cars, you may also find a sticker book and stickers featuring the characters to go with it.

A little girl might enjoy a dollar store purse packed with some play make-up, a kid-sized brush and comb set, a piece of kiddie jewelery like a bracelet and a small notebook and pencil featuring the Disney princesses or other favorite character.

An adventuresome boy would probably like a mini backpack stocked with toy working binoculars, a battery-operated lantern, a clip-on watch and a pad and pencil for recording his discoveries.

Marlene Alexander is a freelance writer and dollar store diva. Her new e-book will show you how to decorate, entertain and give beautiful gifts using only items from the dollar store.

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