I did this when my kids were small, the youngest is now 32. I did it for my older grandkids, and I am now doing it for the younger grandkids and greatgrandkids. I have saved the colored plastic lids off of various bottles, such as mayonnaise, peanut butter, etc. Lids have to be too big to fit in a young ones mouth. I have a couple metal ones but most are plastic.
I keep them in a drawstring bag in basket, I use as a toy box for when the kids visit. They are good to teach colors, to count, to stack like blocks, to pretend, kids favorite is to pretend we are at a restaurant and the lids are food. Put little one between two larger ones and you have a sandwich, etc. Their imagination can run wild. So much fun with no additional expense. The amount of enjoyment for all is endless.
Source: Just me and my kids.
By Knitter926 from Bloomington, IL
Editor's Note: As Knitter926 mentioned, make sure that the lids are too large to be swallowed by children under 3 years old.
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I normally save every plastic bowl that comes my way - empty margarine tubs, takeout soup containers, sour cream bowls, you name it. Lids, too. But invariably, the lids last longer around here, so I end up with, say, six butter lids and only two butter bowls.
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Margarine or butter container lids make great dry erase boards. You can use washable markers on them or dry erase markers on them. I cut the rim off of the top of the margarine container lid and make a hole with an icepick.
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"Upcycled" Pringles plastic lids make perfect coasters for the right sized glass or cup. You can use plastic coffee can lids for larger cups.
If you recycle your Pringles cans, keep the lids. Most yogurts don't come with them anymore, and most of them can be used for food or crafts. However, without lids, they are great for plants starts but not much else.
I like to reuse plastic lids as paint palettes, and even as crafting surfaces. By "crafting surfaces", I mean things like: resting/drying spot for newly painted small objects, or a "palette" for small amount of craft glue or Mod Podge, and so on. The lids are easy to clean.
Save opaque plastic lids of the same kind and make games for young kids. Hide small treats like marshmallows or small crackers under a few of the lids and lay 10-20 of them upside-down on the table altogether.
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Every once in a while, you lose a lid to something important. I once plugged my waterbed with a small lid from a Vicks Vaporub jar. It worked for 6 years.
I also use small lids to fit over top of drinks in glasses, cups or cans to keep bugs out (especially flies). It helps keep your drink hot or cold longer.
I save all plastic can lids to use to protect my cupboards from rust, as in on the bottom of my cleanser cans, also I used them to keep under my honey jar.
I have started using the plastic tops from coffee cans for pet dishes. The animals love them because their food is very accessible, and I like them because they are very easy to wash.
I love seafood salad. I got some the other day and after a few forkfuls, promptly lost the lid. I could have used a cottage cheese container but ran the risk of forgetting what was inside. There was not a painters tape roll to be found for labeling, so I came up with the next best thing. By using the lid on their store containers, I see what is inside but still keep it fresh.
I took this little lid that came off of one of the knock off slimfast drink canisters, scrunched it in my hand and used it as a scrubber over the screws that hold the handle to the skillet.
Why spend money of clear plastic coasters when you have access to dozens of free coasters monthly? I use the lids of perishable food items. Plus I paint them to match the decor in the room and each decoupaged planter...