My children have new, free toys: pretend menus, aka junk mail.
Za got a kitchen for Christmas, which means that both of my children now have a play kitchen. I knew Santa Claus was planning to bring her this, so I told relatives she would need pretend food, napkins, tablecloths, etc. It's really cute and I love that my kids are creative with it. They make dinner, they feed baby dolls and their parents, and they organize their items on the shelves. We have had picnics before as well as tea parties.
Where do the 'free toys' come into play? Earlier this week, Ty was sorting through the day's mail and asking what belongs in the recycling. He came across a tiny coupon booklet (about 6 inches) and started flipping through it. He said, "Look! A book! About coffee and hamburgers and French fries." I said, "Yep. It sure is a book." Little did I know it would become a permanent book, along with other advertisements, in our house.
Playing pretend now has a new setting: a restaurant. The "books" are now menus. My husband and I pick entrees from the menus and our children prepare them.
I like the ingenuity, and the reusing/recycling spirit. Since junk mail is free, it also makes me wonder what entertainment I have thrown away for so long.