Link to Hope

Only a couple of months until your Link to Hope shoe boxes need to be filled, packed and with your area receiver. The shoebox calendar for September suggests toys for this month – Send fun in your shoebox with a yoyo, skipping rope, toy cars, draughts, dominoes & playing cards etc. 

A small game is an essential for both the family and elderly shoebox.  For the essential item I usually put a pack of playing cards in the elderly boxes or sometimes a box of wooden dominoes.  Poundland have a set of wooden dominoes which also includes 5 dice. (Which I’ll suggest a use for later.)  2 packs of playing cards are available for £1.00 from several different stores – larger Tesco stores, Poundland and One Below.  I also often put playing cards in the family boxes as it’s something the parents or older children can play with, and at 50p a pack they are a great shoebox item.

The alternative item I add as a small game is a snakes and ladders game – I print out the game from this site for free and then add counters or small buttons and a dice (this is where the dice with the dominoes set come in).  There are other versions available online some even include counters and a dice to print out (I’m not sure how successful a paper dice would be, but may work ).

If you don’t have access to a printer or would have to buy dice or counters then it’s possible to purchase 12 small paper snakes and ladders sets including dice and counters for £4.50 which works out at 38p per set .  You could also make a re-useable noughts and crosses set.  I’ve created one form soya milk caps, but you could just cut out cardboard squares or circles.  Base the size of your grid on the size of the item you are using as counters and remember you need 5 of 2 designs for the counters. 

For the family boxes I always try and add several toy cars – I tend to work on the assumption that a lot of families will have more than one child, so I like there to be several toys in the box.  Poundland have several different car options available for £1.00 – including 3 emergency vehicles for £1.00 or you could buy one larger car for £1.50.  My best buy this month is a box of 36 toy cars for £5.00 from One Below which works out at 14p per car.  They are plastic so not as good as the ones I’ve previously bought from What! which were metal bodies with plastic trims.  Amazon have a set of 36 metal body cars for £7.39. 

I also try and add a small soft toy, or doll.  Poundland usually have some small soft toys for £1.00 and I’ve previously bought brand new soft toys reduced in charity shops.  Soft toys do need to have the CE label. 

I’ve bought Barbie type dolls on Ebay before that needed some tlc and clothes, but they can be expensive.  You can sometimes get fashion dolls in Poundland, or One Below and larger Morrisons– but the ones I’ve previously bought haven’t been particularly good quality – the legs and arms have been thin hollow plastic. 

Party favours can be a good option to add variety to your shoebox whilst still keeping the costs down.  Home Bargains have 4 yoyos for 99p – so 25p each, or they had 8 mini pin ball games for 99p – 13p each.  Home Bargains, B&M and Poundland often have packs of 5 or 6 plastic flutes (recorders) for £1.00, and Wilko have a pack of 28 noise makers for £3.25 (not sure what the parents will make of them 😊) 

Skipping ropes are nice to add but the cheapest I’ve seen recently are £1.00 in One Below and Poundland, and Morrisons.  I’ve previously bought a pack of 4 from Asda in their party favour range but they don’t seem to have any currently.

Tennis balls are also a great option but vary considerably in price, and there don’t seem to be any particular bargains around at the moment.  An item that will be really appreciated is a football.  You can buy deflated footballs on Amazon and Ebay – a single one for £1.29 or 12 for £12.99 but remember to factor in that you’ll need to include a football pump.  Poundland have bike pumps for £1.00 but I don’t think they come with a football adaptor so the additional cost of an adaptor would need to be factored in.

Small jigsaws, Lego type building blocks, craft sets and of course colouring books and crayons or felt pens are all great to add, as well as handmade toys such as hand puppets.  Knitted teddies etc are welcome but they can’t be placed in the shoebox, only stuffed toys with the CE label can go in the shoebox.  Any handmade stuffed toys are used to fill gaps in the outer boxes (officially packing) and are then handed out with the shoeboxes. 

The Farm Animal Sanctuary

Tickets are available for their Spooky Halloween Weekend to help raise funds for the sanctuary.

The Sanctuary is still open at weekends for visits – but needs to be pre-booked.

They are also still fundraising to raise sufficient funds to purchase the land the sanctuary is on to secure it’s future.

Shoe Box Bargain buys

Not on special offer but a good buy are Adlad scented candles in a glass jar from Ikea for 50p.  They have a 12 hour burn time.   (They have larger ones for £1.00)

Tiger stores have these red and blue candle holders reduced to 50p each in their reduced section. 

Morrisons had a few craft items reduced – a pack of paint brushes reduced to 25p which you could pair with a paint pallet from Poundland, or Hobbycraft have some sun catcher kits reduced to 75p. (Both come with one paintbrush).

And thank you to Mags Thomson for the tip about wind up torches for 89p available on line from the Range – you will need to factor in postage costs if they don’t have any in stock at your local store.

Tesco had some skipping ropes reduced to 75p and A5 notebooks for 50p.  Asda had an enamel mug reduced to 80p.

Price increase.

Just to note that the 2 pack of toothbrushes in Tesco has gone up to 30p from 25p Just to note that the 2 pack of toothbrushes in Tesco has gone up to 30p from 25p (still good value though) and the toothpaste has gone up to 60p so Sainsbury’s is the cheapest for toothpaste at 44p for 100ml.  (Poundstretcher/Bargain Buys still have a boxed tube of toothpaste and free toothbrush for 65p) Aldi have 125ml toothpaste for 59p.(still good value though) and the toothpaste has gone up to 60p so Sainsbury’s is the cheapest for toothpaste at 44p for 100ml.  (Poundstretcher/Bargain Buys still have a boxed tube of toothpaste and free toothbrush for 65p) Aldi have 125ml toothpaste for 59p.

Stores are starting to reduce some of their sweets ahead of Halloween – but that’s next month’s theme 😊.

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