You know which section I'm talking about, right? The section of $1-$2 items when you first walk in the door. About 90% of it is cheap junk, but the other 10% is cheap, useful junk. I've found so many things there to either entertain Sophie while I'm shopping or to put away and pull out on a rainy day. Or a day when she's driving me batty, I need to get some things done, and I feel too guilty to turn on a movie for her. Ya, it's usually one of those days. They're great for stocking stuffers, too.
Some of these little treasures include stickers, little notepads, books, puzzles, play dough, window decals/gummis, pencils, and Sophie's favorite -- those dissolvable capsules that have foam critters hiding inside. She loves those. I even got a cheap chip bowl to set by my cutting board to use for vegetable scraps while I'm making dinner. (Think Rachael Ray's garbage bowl.) I love it because it keeps all my scraps off the counter, and I don't have to keep reaching over to the garbage can under the sink.
Lately I've been spending some one-on-one time with her during Ivy's morning naps. Sometimes we do little Sesame Street 20-piece puzzles (found in said dollar section) -- her current favorite thing to do. I'll give her something to look for on a piece (i.e. Elmo's fingers), she'll find it, then I'll show her where to put it. Sometimes she figures them out on her own if they're really obvious matches. I love to watch her little brain at work.