Like most parents, my child’s bedroom is filled all kinds of unknowns. Unknowns meaning toys, clothes, shoes, and items that we just have no clue how it got there or where it came from. As a green parent, I don’t care much for junk and moving into a new house has been a major purging process for our family. We’ve stored away my maternity clothes and baby equipment in the attic. But we also cleaned out a lot of excess junk from when our child was younger and she is only four years old! How does a four-year-old accumulate so much junk? Well, there are several levels of answers for this: grandparents, Walmart, friends, happy meal toys, grandparents, trips to the dollar store, neighbors, Walmart, grandparents…..and the list goes on and on.

For this post, I’m going to focus on the “prizes” that come with a kid’s meal at a fast food place. These items can not be considered prizes because they are not worth anything, at least not anymore. I remember collecting these toys when I was younger, we’d get most of the ones related to the latest TV show or movie and thinking these were going to be worth something someday – they could be collectibles. I’ve still got Garfield, Tiny Toons, Super Mario Bros., Fraggle Rock, Rescue Rangers and more. This was back in the 80s and 90s, so fast-forward to the year 2010 and what do we get as a prize now? Oh, we get cardboard pieces, papers, booklets and stickers. Cardboard? Seriously? What happened to the hard plastic, well-made toys? Probably the economy and down-sizing. Toys in a kid’s meal are just cheap, low-quality pieces of junk.

As a parent, I don’t want these cheap paper or cardboard “prizes” because it just brings more trash into my house.  You can’t really recycle this stuff because its so tiny and usually multiple pieces. So it ends up in my kids bedroom floor among the rest of the unknowns.

Yogi Bear game from Wendy

So what do you do? At Chick-fil-A, you can buy the kid’s meal, but your child can exchange the “junk” toy for an ice cream treat! Brilliant! I’ve never fallen more in love with a better idea than this one. My child loves ice cream and she happily does the exchange. We both go home happy and with less junk in our house! As for the rest of the places, we usually buy from the dollar or 99-cent menu and get her an ice cream. To me, it’s just not worth the prize to get a kids meal.

Exchange your kids meal prize for an ice cream at Chick-fil-A.

the author

Originally from Virginia, Jennifer C. Sellers is passionate about sustainability and conservation in South Carolina and throughout the world. She earned her BA in English from Coastal Carolina University and her MAS in Environmental Policy and Management from the University of Denver. She is a university sustainability coordinator that implements programs and teaches people about going green and being sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @MyGreenGlasses

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