It's common knowledge to most parents that, given a number of options, their child will, more often than not, choose to play with a cardboard box over an expensive toy. So, taking a cue from my two-year-old's favorite temporary exhibit at the local children's museum, we've been keeping all our bottle caps and covers in collections that make for excellent "new" toys on rainy days.
The covers are perfect for stacking and sorting, especially if you can round up a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Or if you are feeling creative, you could paint them different colors (and get your child to help) or glue pictures to them, but even the plain old covers have inspired plenty of imaginative play in our house. We keep a small bin by the sink and toss all of our covers in after we've cleaned them and recycled the bottles, cans and jars that they came from. We also try to find interesting boxes and containers for the caps — which always get put away at the end of playtime — so that they don't start to spread around the house and become garbage again.
Images: Sarah Rainwater