Do you have a young child in your life?  If they have a play kitchen, they would love some play food....and they may not have had this kind before:  real food containers, emptied, cleaned, and (maybe) glued shut. 

With Thanksgiving coming, there will be lots of food containers emptied.  Plastic tubs with lids are particularly good, as toddlers always like to fill up containers and put lids on.  Coffee, sour cream, cottage cheese, cake icing, etc. are great.  Most of these will wash fine in the top rack of your dishwasher.  Also take pop-tart boxes, brownie mix, and any other box, and glue the tops closed.  Hershey's syrup, honey, ketchup, mustard, and other plastic bottles are great. 
You can take smaller milk cartons (like half-n-half, buttermilk, eggnog, etc.) and rinse well.  Leave on a counter for a day or two, upside down on a paper towel to dry well.  Then glue shut and clip with a paper binder clip for the glue to dry.

You know kids....anything new is great fun, and if no adult in their life has ever saved them some nice containers and cartons, they'll be thrilled to get them.  Gather a big grocery bag full, and watch their smiles.   (And when they tear these up, what does it matter?)

If you need a more elaborate gift for a grandchild, we love the metal grocery cart from Melissa & Doug.  I love that company!  They make the most awesome giant floor puzzles. When my boys were young, I'd work these giant puzzles with them.  Our foyer was large with a hardwood floor, perfect for working such a puzzle.  I remember my firstborn would sit out there and carefully re-work the puzzle at 2 years old, and I was amazed that he could learn that so fast.  I bought him every one of those giant floor puzzles I could find, and put them in the bottom drawer of a chest in the foyer.  For several years, he'd go in there and work those puzzles.  I loved it!  I saved those, and use them now with my niece and nephew. 

Those giant floor puzzles (24-50 pc) are only $12.99 with free shipping right now on the Melissa & Doug site.  The grocery cart is $49.99 (also free shipping right now!), but it's a great piece--metal and very sturdy (it has a perfect customer review rating on their site).  Several of my friends have it.  It's a great gift for a 1-4 year old.  It works great as one of those learning-to-walk push toys for a 1+.

And you can fill it with real (empty) food containers for a gift!
4/28/2011 05:36:43 pm

Thanks to America, and only thanks to America, the world has enjoyed these past decades an age of hitherto unimagined freedom and opportunity.


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