A few weeks ago I found a Shrinky Dink Klutz book at the thrift store for $0.99. Yeah, perhaps a couple of times in my childhood I traced and colored pictures and watched someone bake them in the oven (it wouldn't have been my mother though, she recoiled from anything crafty to do with kids). The special plastic was all torn out, but I headed up to AC Moore, our local big-box craft store with my handy-dandy 50% off coupon in hand. Not only did I get a package of clear plastic discounted, I added on my teacher discount (by showing my HSLDA card) and received another 15% off. Every week on my errands I made a point to stop by and pick up another packet for less than $3. At first I was stressing out about baking them and having them ruined by curling up on themselves, but after purchasing an embossing tool (it's a cross between a glue gun and a mini hairdryer) I can bake and shape their little pictures without even turning on the oven.
The little boys have gone wild, and while Julia Ellen may have ruined a few of their projects, the results are impressive. The most money I've had to expend in this creative explosion are for a handful of keyrings to attach them to backpacks, lunchboxes, and whatever else they can imagine.