Metro-East Living

Shop these deals for summer gear for the whole family

Let patriotism go to your head with red, white and blue decorated headbands from At Home in O’Fallon.
Let patriotism go to your head with red, white and blue decorated headbands from At Home in O’Fallon.

What to do while waiting for tires to be put on your car? Well, shop of course.

With the Fourth of July quickly approaching and outdoor living very much on everyone’s mind, I found lots of bargains at metro-east retailers.

And, if you’ve got young ones to keep busy, you’ll find some ideas/products to do just that!

I popped in to Michaels Crafts in Shiloh and what did I immediately see but a great bargain: Oval-shaped flexible plastic tubs in four bright colors. Perfect for icing down lots of drinks for an outdoor party or holding extra toss pillows for deck furniture. (I’ve used mine for both.) Regularly $7.99, the tubs are 30 percent off through Saturday, along with lots of other party and outdoor supplies.

Note: They’re not exceptionally sturdy, so don’t put too much weight in them and carry them around. But, for about $5.60 each on sale, you could buy a couple.

Ben’s in downtown Belleville has fun, in-store activities that cost just $5. All take place at 1 p.m. Sundays. For example, this Sunday, children 4 and older can take a Sun-sational Stained Glass class. On July 9, it’s a Think Putty Workshop for 5 and up. Stop by the store to register or call 618-277-9278. Classes fill quickly. You can also register online at

While you’re at Ben’s, check out the travel games for road trips. Playfoam Go ($15.99) is a cool suitcase-style kit filled with eight colors of nontoxic “foamy clay” kids ages 3 to 6 can smoosh, shape and store. It won’t harm fabric, won’t stick where it’s not wanted and never dries out.

At Home in O’Fallon has funny patriotic decorated headbands/fascinators for the Fourth of July. On top of the bands are miniature red, white and blue top hats with stars ($6.99), or for $4.99 you get one with faux striped firecrackers and ribbons.

And if you really don’t want to be surprised, I’m telling you now that there are aisles at this store where gold-foiled Christmas reindeer ($12.99; yes, I looked) have made their home. I expect ornaments will follow soon.

Home Goods in Fairview Heights has faux crystal tumblers in several sizes and designs for a mere $1.99 to $2.99 each. Problem: Don’t expect to find a set of four; do some mixing and matching at that price!

Last time I checked, Five Below in Fairview Height had Futz spinners for $5, two per household. Styles may vary with supplies. Plus, over the years we’ve bought several of the retailer’s paddle boards ($5) and they’ve lasted through at least one summer. Plus, you’ll find $5 mesh swim shoes for the whole family.