When we bought our house two years ago, my husband decided to update and get rid of all the old spices in our pantry before moving. I walked into the old kitchen to see him dumping the spices and recycling the spice containers. I was so happy to see him getting rid of the spices because I could finally have some empty spice containers around the house for our son to explore. We recycled all the glass jars, but we saved all the plastic and tin (metal, aluminum?) ones that would not break when being handled by babies, toddlers and preschoolers.
We have played with these over the last few years, but my kids rediscovered them this morning and I pulled a whole bunch I had been saving out from a cabinet in the garage so they could have way more fun.
Both A and M are having fun opening and closing the lids (fine motor skills), smelling the remnants of the old spices (exploring their sense of smell) and A, our three-year-old, was pointing out letters and logos on the spice labels (envrionmental print recognition). Our son took a spice container to preschool yesterday because he said, "I can't forget my ingredients!"
When my kids are tired of playing with these, I am going to put them aside for the play bakery station I am putting together for our library's annual Early Literacy Fair. After the Early Literacy Fair, I will take them home again for our play kitchen.