09 February 2007

Single-serve Danino yogurt cups as toddler bowls

From what I can tell, Danino yogurt is only available in Canada. If so, Canadian readers: this one's for you! (But I've got a universal "Talk amongst yourselves: at the end of this post.)
From Jeff:

My hack is a small one, but I've found it quite useful, so maybe others would benefit from it.  It involves the use of the containers that Danino yogurt comes in (for those unfamiliar with Danino, it is a yogurt made by Danone that contains Omega 3 and is also smooth - i.e. no chunks of fruit in it, making it safe to feed even to very young kids).  Unlike every other yogurt I've ever seen, Danino comes in containers that are nearly twice as wide as they are high; they are also very sturdy - made of the same type of plastic that margarine tubs, for example, are made of.  Both of these properties combine to make the containers perfect for holding all sorts of dips, like ranch dressing for carrots, sweet & sour sauce for chicken nuggets, caramel for apple slices, etc.

Even if you don't want to re-use the containers, they are also recyclable, something which can't be said for all yogurt containers. Here in London, Ontario, for example, these are actually the ONLY yogurt containers I've found that are recyclable here; and with a preschooler that loves yogurt, we have been through quite a few different types of yogurt before finally discovering Danino, which has been his favourite for over a year now.

And a follow-up!

Danino yogurt cups are even more useful than I initially thought. They work great as little "bowls" for single servings of just about anything.  I used them to serve ice cream for my kids (aged 3 and 11) yesterday; the younger one cracked up laughing when he saw ice cream in a yogurt cup, and the older one said that I should do this all the time.  It seems that the idea was so fun that no one noticed they only got about half the amount of ice cream that I would normally serve in a bowl.  ;)

We talked a while back about using pimento jars and toddler drinking glasses. Any other good container re-use suggestions?

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When we bought the baby food that came in the small plastic containers with the lids, we kept them and they're perfect for snack containers. Fill 'em with goldfish (or bunnies, or o-shaped cereal, or whatever), pop on the lid and it's a take-and-toss container. I also like the little single-serve fruit/applesauce cups, perfect for around the house toddler snacks. Just the right size for little hands.

Horizon Organic baby and kid's yogurt looks like it has about the same kind of containers. We've only bought them once, though, since it's a little more than my daughter can eat at once. But maybe we'll get some again just for the bowls!

http://www.horizonorganic.com/products/yogurt/index.html

The big yogurt containers are great for Crayola markers. Glass baby food jars make sweet little tiny vases for clumping together small boquets. Zip pouches from comforters and sheets make good off-season bedding storage.

Small-sized oatmeal containers (the ones we used to make into drums as kids) are good for markers and crayons. We also use those for storing those plastic reusable ice cubes in the freezer (they fit in the door of our freezer).

We reuse the plastic containers for baby food, too. Dole fruit cups are good too, and yogurt lids will fit on them to boot.

We saved some plastic bowls from "add hot water" instant soup packages (I no longer remember the brand) that serve our toddler very well as serving bowls.

We re-use all those little sturdy plastic baggies with the snaps on them (the ones that your cloth diapers, onesies, crib sheets, ect...) to hold all of our little diaper bag items to keep them from leaking-rash creme, lotions, hand sanitizer, ect...and to keep an extra outfit for baby, clean t-shirts for us, and other little things.
We also use our empty diaper boxes (the bigger ones) as trunk/back seat organizers. When in the trunk, they keep things from rolling around.
In the back seat, it organizes blankets, extra juice/cups/toys/ clothes...

My six-year-old daughter and I have been reading books about the Borrowers and the Littles, who re-use items that are discarded or forgotten by the "big" people. Inspired by these books, we found some great suggestions on the Family Fun website http://familyfun.go.com/arts-and-crafts/buildmodel/feature/famf0200dollhouse/famf0200dollhouse.html
on how to make a dollhouse out of a box and furniture out of empty tea boxes and other stuff you may have around the house. Now I sometimes kick my self for throwing away some little bit of plastic, "oh, that bottle cap could have been a bowl, or a lampshade!"

Our local pasta take-out joint gives parmesan cheese in little plastic cups with airtight lids. They're perfect for reuse in school lunches. If we include a little ranch dressing, hummus or peanut butter, our daughter is much more likely to finish her matchsticks of raw vegetables (carrots, zucchini, cucumber, you name it).

You can use film cannisters for side condiments like dipping sauces.

I got all excited when I saw this post, because I've recently gone through a total revolution in my thinking when it comes to toys for my toddler, Addie, and to used containers.

One of her favorite games in the past has been "tea party;" I had been going to Target and buying her little wooden toys and wooden food to play this. Expensive.

At the same time, I was marveling at all the packaging we throw out--in particular, baby food jars and the tupperwares that sliced ham comes in now, perfume bottles, and on and on.

Then I had the idea to just throw this stuff in the dishwasher and then put it into Addie's "shopping basket." Now, she plays "store" and "tea party" all the time with this stuff. We don't have to spend money on new toys, and she's constantly getting new containers to play with. And, all that packaging is getting a second life. Win, win, win.

Jen

We save the cups they give our little one when we go out to eat. We buy straws for him so he can keep the lid on and use a straw.

Who amongst us in Portland Oregon doesn't have a giant collection of Mio Gelato cups? They are perfect for single servings for both my kids (2 and 7). Carrots. Ice cream. Dipping sauces. Apple slices. They are a staple on our table.

Please take care when reusing plastic containers that are suppose to be disposable (ie. recycled after use). Especially when it comes to microwaving or cleaning them in dishwashers with heating elements. I know there is a lot of controversy over plastic and safety. But from what I read they are less stringent with plastics that are suppose to be recycled after use.

We have been using some frozen dinner (healthy choice brand) trays for the last couple of years for my daughter. They are divided into 3 sections letting us put her main course, vegi and fruit in a separate place on her plate. They are dishwasher and microwave safe and we have been using the same 4 for at least 2 years now. They also fit into each other making them easy to store in the cupboard.

'Plum Baby' is an organic brand of baby purees here in the UK. They are about the same shape as your Danino containers (perhaps a bit smaller?) and with sturdy plastic lids. They're perfect for mid morning/afternoon snack pots - raisins, apple slices, rice cakes - for my son. Then they're recycleable too. Fantastic!

I also use the pots for putting small and manageable amounts of paint in - as they're flat and low, they are very stable and the pot doesn't fall over (I use stubby brushes which are easier for tiny hands to manipulate).

Interesting and different.
Thanks.

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