Breathe new life into your collection of happy meal toys. If you are like many American families with small children, you find yourself eating at McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and other fast food restaurants more often than you care to admit. Unfortunately, one reminder of how often you frequent the drive thru meal are the toys that seem to multiply in my house. We have a rather large box full of them. I decided to come up with some ideas on how to repurpose them. The following are my suggestions.
This is my favorite idea and I have to give credit to a friend who many years ago shared this idea with me. She saved the plastic toys in a drawer for the entire year and then at Christmas, she drilled holes in them for hanging a ribbon or a hook. She placed a small Christmas tree in each child’s room using these toys as the decorations for the tree. The children loved to re-decorate their own tree on a daily basis and left the large family tree with the more expensive ornaments alone.
Before we had children, we still had a collection of happy meal toys. We always kept a drawer of them in our front hall desk. Friends and neighbor children loved to open the drawer and see the volume of plastic goodies. One day I was cleaning out the fish tank and decided to put some of the action figure type toys in the bottom of the tank. The fish could have cared less but it made looking into the tank more playful, which was the start of many conversations.
My daughters love taking the girl versions into the bathtub and bathe them and dunk them. It’s fun and really, who cares if they get ruined. Throw them out, you know you have more of them scattered around the house.
Take your board game and card game playing to the next level. Use the plastic meal toys as winnings! You can share them with friends, which will clear out your stash of toys and make them feel like they are getting a treat. You can also create a scavenger hut and leave the toys as markers and prizes. Be creative with this idea, I am sure your brainstorming will take off with variations on the theme.
Collect duplicates and donate them to charity. Send them to VBS programs through your church. Send them to missionary children in other countries who might not get the fast food goodies. Donate them to a women’s shelter in your area. I am sure you will find options for this idea other than the drive thru donation centers, which have high volumes of these plastic trinkets already.
Attach them to presents or use them as nametags. How about place markers at the dinner table? For Christmas, instead of putting nametags on the presents, use toys in a theme and then on Christmas morning, let each child know which theme is theirs. They will have just as much fun figuring out whose package is who’s as they will finding out what is inside the package.
If all else fails, create art! Glue them together on a board. Cover the surface and then spray paint it one color. Great modern art! Your children will love pointing out what each toy is in your new masterpiece. This can also make for a great tactile sensory toy let the children’s fingers figure out what each shape is rather than their eyes telling them.
One caveat, if you care, some of these toy premiums are just that premium! Some older versions do warrant a high dollar amount. You might want to check a few websites to see if your collection is valuable. You can check into their value at the following sites:
Kathy’s Fast Food Toys
Fast Food Toys
Che and Sandy’s Fast Food Toys