Little kids love toy kitchens. And having toy food accessories around only makes the kitchen more realistic, and more fun for pretend play.
But buying toy food in the store can quickly add up (and toy coupons aren’t going to work to cut the costs). Today’s hint, however, is a way to save on fake food by transforming leftover food boxes (Stove Top stuffing boxes, for example) into real-looking food toys.
I saw this clever trick at the Children’s Museum of Cleveland, and according to the museum docents, here’s how the recycling works.
1.) Take the empty food boxes and fill them with paper to help prevent them from caving in during play. The museum staff fills the boxes that visitors donate with paper they would be recycling anyway.
2.) Cover the boxes with clear packing tape (this makes them easier to clean when a quick wipe down is needed, according to the museum workers), and then the boxes are ready for play.
The museum staff says the box toys generally last a few weeks before getting too dirty, and then they rotate new ones in.
Of course, if you’re crafty, you can get much more elaborate with do-it-yourself play food (just as you can with do-it-yourself play kitchens, as Heather Flett of the site Rookie Moms recently pointed out). You can make everything from ravioli to Cheez-Its out of materials like felt, as Ashley Hackshaw, who blogs at Lil Blue Boo, and Mrs. Hopscotch at the blog hellobee did.
You also can find loads more DIY play food inspiration on Pinterest boards like this one and this one. Finally, if your kids aren’t into play kitchens, you can transform the old boxes into non-food toys like little pianos and fire trucks with the help of stickers like those from Box Play for Kids.
What are your tricks for cutting play food prices?