I decided two weeks ago to start putting together an arts & crafts
kit for rainy days, and to make Christmas gifts from the kids to
relatives. Some stuff I had, some I didn't, but most of it I found
either at the dollar store or Wal-Mart. My entire kit fits very
neatly (if a bit tightly) in a plastic crate I found at Good Will
for $.99.

First, I put together an extra school box like the kids have- a pack
of markers ($.50 at Wal-Mart), a pack of crayons ($.10 at walmart),
2 glue sticks ($.20 at Wal-Mart), a tube of glue ($.50 at walmart),
and 2 pairs of kid siscors ($.50 at walmart), and a clear plastic
ruler ($.20 at walmart) These are all tucked neatly in a plastic
pencil box ($.50 at walmart). So, I spent $2.50 on that part.

Next, I added secondary items- a standard paper punch with a handle
& a set of 24 water color paints. These were both buy 1 get 1 free
(mix & match) at Walgreens, and I paid $1.99 total for both.

Items found in the house: Straws (which can be cut and used for beads
on yarn necklaces, garland, etc), paper lunch bags (which can be
decorated or used to take crafts home in), tin pot pie plates (which
can be used to hold items such as sequins, paint, etc, or as a
project item), and styrofoam meat plates (these are those plates
that all meat come prepacked in- WASH WELL first!! These can be used
to hold paints or items, or as craft projects), Puzzle Peices from
old puzzles (these can be painted and glued together for crafts, and
painted- I have big and small peices).

Items I had on hand from before, or have bought since:

Foam Sheets- these can be found at the dollar store (2/$1 or 4/$1,
can't recall), as well as at Walmart ($.20-.40 each). These can be
cut into anything! They make great ornaments! You can write on them,
glue them together, punch holes in them for hanging them up, etc.

Pony Beads- My daughter had a long forgotton kit with tons of pony
beads in all sorts of colors. These can be added to ornaments, glued
onto popsicle sticks, etc. This kit probably cost around $10 new, but
you can buy solid packs and mixed packs of pony beads much cheaper at

Cennille Steams (Or, Pipe Cleaners)- I had several packs of solid
colors on hand from last Christmas that I added in. I bought them at
the dollar store, 2/$1 for small packs of 24 each. I have some solid
red packs, and some solid color packs (red, green, white, blue,

Assorted foam shapes in different colors and types (holiday, sports,
every day, flowers, etc) that I found mostly at the Dollar Store. I
have a baby wipe container filled with these, as well as 2 unopened
christmas shape packs.

Assorted Foam craft kids- these were ALL bought at the dollar store.
I have a kit that makes 2 hand print halloween bats, 1 that makes 1
halloween witch, 1 that makes 4 catepillar magnets, 1 that makes 4
summer book marks, 1 that makes 2 picture frames, and 1 that makes 4
door hangers. Total cost $6 at the dollar store

I also have a package of nice paint brushes, a rubbermaid bowlfilled
with sequins & spangles, and assorted wooden beads & tri-beads.

I have gotten this stuff all together by first grabbing everything I
had, and scavenging the extra stuff I thought would be useful (hence,
the straws, the paper bags, tin pie plates, & foam plates). Then,
I've picked up a few small things at the dollar store. Shop there
first, and see what you can get. From there, put it all in some sort
of container, or several smaller containers. Mine is all seperated
into different containers in the crate. I have a baby wipe
container, a pencil box, a sterilite take mate (those small tubs
with a hinged top and handle), a rubbermaid bowl, and a long thin
box bottom. That all helps me fit it into the crate with some degree
of orginization.

If you've got kids or grand kids, having some things around the house
for rainy day projects are a must have! You don't need all the stuff
I have, and even just having some of the premade foam kits on hands
are a great help!

Aside from the Dollar Store, and Wal-Mart, craft stores have foam
items, wooden shapes, and more. You can find a lot of stuff at those
shops, but they might be a bit more expensive. Though, I have found
some premade foam kits there a while ago for $.90 each on clearance.
I'd bought enough at the time for 3 for each of the older two kids
(Gilly was too little yet).

Another great place to find them is Oriental Trading Company, which
offers TONS of projects, ranging from $2-10 each. Pricey? Maybe. Most
the kids make 12 individual crafts each, so they might only cost
about $.16 to $1.40 for each project.

If you've got a kit, and have idea's on what to add, feel free to
share them with us!!