It is the week after Labor Day, which for Minnesota means that it is back to school time. AND that Halloween is right around the corner. Seriously, there was a frost advisory last night. Stores don't lose much time and in between the back to school supplies you will start to see the spooky, scary, Halloween decor pop up! You can almost hear the creepy organ music in the background.
I believe that as a Play Therapist you have to learn to be a savvy seasonal shopper to take advantage of all the seasonal deals and offerings as you continue to select items for your play room to create a rich play experience for the children you see. For some of these items I know I will only be able to find them in store (and at a reasonable price) seasonally. Most of the time for me this means browsing the seasonal sections, the dollar spot, and the Dollar Store/Dollar Tree, and man, did this season deliver!
So, some pro tips I want to share with you are that not all Dollar Stores are created equal. Sometimes one will have a huge selection of items, and the next will have just a few. There is also some items that will be offered at one store, but not the next. AND the frustrating part is if you order online you need to purchase a minimum number and a lot of items are not offered online. The other tip is that sometimes, placement just doesn’t make sense. Two of these items I found back on an end cap by the freezer section, not at all by the seasonal display. Don’t give up, keep looking!
Okay, so let’s dive in to some of my favorites from this season. All of these items came from the Dollar Tree and one was created. The bones came in a 10 pack (5 large, 5 small), the skulls were an 8 pack, and the skeletons were actually a part of skeleton garland. Once you cut those little guys free you had a set of 4 miniatures. Also, if you don't already have this is the PERFECT time to pick up some spiders and creepie crawlies!
So….that’s 22 minis for a whopping $3.00 – pretty cool huh? These were really great and affordable for me as I am putting together my Play Therapy kits. If you don’t need all these minis for your play room or sand tray then I suggest you get a mini buddy or have a mini exchange. A mini buddy is a Play Therapist that LOVES to select and gather items for their play room where you can split the cost of multi-packs of items between two or more therapists. A mini exchange is where each therapist brings a similar priced piece/pieces of a set and you swap, walking away with new items for your Play Room!
The last item is those mini grave stones. I’m going to be really honest… I love these ones HERE, but couldn’t quite get myself to commit for the kits I am creating and wanted to keep it as low budget as possible. Enter the 500 Popsicle sticks I have currently in my stash. They cut SUPER easily with regular scissors and I decided to make them in various heights. This is like the simplest version of writing on them directly with a fine tipped sharpie marker. If you have time the sky could be the limit with painting or creating designs!
Don’t worry, I’ll be adding those beeeautiful stones from Amazon to my collection eventually, but it’s all about pace!
So why is it important to grab these little minis while you can? I mean, besides the fact that they are So. Much. Fun. Death and dying miniatures (especially if you do sand tray) play an essential and crucial role in helping children express their inner most thoughts and feelings in the tray and in the Playroom. If I reflect on how my current collection of death and dying objects are used there is a lot of pain, meaning making, closure, empowerment, and processing that is done. Wheeww heavy stuff right?
What are your favorite deals for this fall and Halloween season? Where are you shopping? Drop a comment below!
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I'm Ann Meehan, an LPCC, RPT-S, and EMDR Consultant. I help other therapists grow in their passions as play therapists, trauma therapists,and child and adolescent therapists.