While gearing up to fly with my two year old recently, I heard from parent after parent, "bring lots of new and interesting toys!".
That's great in theory but vacations are expensive enough without buying a dozen or so new toys. Enter the dollar aisle.
Lots of big retailers have a special aisle or section of funky little trinkets going for the low, low price of only a dollar. The quality of these items is admittedly questionable (you get what you pay for) but when you only need the stuff to last for a few hours that doesn't much matter.
What I love most about the dollar aisle is how random it can be. One stop to Target landed me army men, mini neon pens, a few animal books, stickers, some colorful foam peanuts that stick together when wet, a bag to carry it all in, and more. My favorite find of the day was a stack of flash cards with pictures and descriptions of different careers on each side. The jobs ranged from barista to surgeon and my little guy was fascinated with them all.
If you've got a family trip in your future, be sure to put the dollar aisle on your to-do list. Looking for ways to make the entertainment last even longer? Dole out your finds one at a time instead of all at once. Wrapping each item in paper or even plastic wrap is another way to keep the kids occupied for a few more precious minutes.