Monday, May 23, 2011

Trash...Our New Toy.

I've been saving trash lately.
My family won't even blink at this revelation. After all, this is the girl who dressed up as a Giant Trash Bag one halloween at age 12. Yeah, in what I thought was creative genius, I began attaching boxes, cans, eggshells, and plastic wrappers onto a big black trash bag with holes cut for my arms and eyes. Well, I retired my Garbage Get-Up after collecting candy at just 2 houses. Junior high boys were home at the second house...a few snickers (not the edible fun-size variety) brought an embarrassing halt to my trick-or-treat days.

But the trash this time was not for dress up. It was to create a Grocery Store for my kids' play-shopping enjoyment. We do own plastic play food, but amazingly, real items are novel and fun! I gathered clean pasta boxes, cereal boxes, egg cartons, milk jug (well-rinsed!), etc. and attached paper price tags to each. Of course, you could use full containers (we included a few unopened cans), but with a 21-month-old in the mix, I didn't care to risk a carpet-ful of rice or mashed in raisins.

A couple of waffle block shelves and a cardboard box cooler made our store aisles. Any tables, boxes, benches, or small bookshelves you have would work great! We added some signage—store name, sales, an OPEN/CLOSED sign with ribbon hanger for the doorknob. Baby doll strollers became shopping carts.

We had some toy money, and a nightstand became the check-out with toy cash register and shopping bags. My kids are busy right now making coupons...{already junior deal-hunters!}, and tomorrow I plan to show them how to do pencil rubbings on real coins and cut them out. I wish we had an Adding Machine...having a receipt print out would be super fun. I have been scouring thrift stores for one, but no success.

The Grand Opening was today. I actually set everything up last night so my kids could be surprised with it this morning...although I'm sure they would have enjoyed the fun of making signs and putting things in place too. Our store had a couple of Doorbusters and great sales going on. If your kids are old enough to add money, this could be good summer review of math skills.

We'll leave it up for the rest of the week. Then, easiest toy clean-up ever...just throw it all away! So there you have it...a way to get some family fun out of your garbage.

Just don't try wearing it...take it from me.


  1. I love it! My brother and I used to do this all the time! And you're right - an adding machine would be SO fun! I'll keep my eyes peeled for you.

  2. Cute! Next time your at your bank, accountant's office, lawyer etc. ask if they have an adding machine they'd like to get rid of. I've seen several unused sitting around different offices where I worked - you may be able to pick one up for free!!!

  3. Great tip! I never thought of checking those places!

  4. You are sooooo creative!!! Definitely laggin' in that area myself....oooohhh well, that's why i've got you :)

  5. Awesome! So creative! Who needs the children's museum?! Thanks for the ideas!

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