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The Munchkin Snack Catchers are such a simple yet clever idea that I can't understand why it has never been thought of before, I bought a set of two for my (then) fifteen month old son and a few minutes ago placed an order for another two as they're used so much even though he's now two and half! They're basically small pots that you use for your baby or toddlers snacks, the thing that sets them apart is the top as this is broken into segments so the child can push their hand in to grab the snacks instead of having to completely remove the lid and risk your oh-so (ahem) 'careful' child from dropping their snacks all over the floor.
Each pot will hold up to a total of 250g of snacks (obviously dependent on bulk), which is a perfect amount for a short outing and if I want to take more I just fill both pots with different items to keep David entertained (and full up) when we're out of the home at snack time. The pots are really easy to get into as all the child needs to do is push the segments to one side to access his or her food, my son was able to grab his mini rice cakes through the top easily and without help from roughly thirteen months - he struggled to begin with but this was more because it was a brand new concept for him, rather than anything to do with the design of the pot or it's top.
The segmented top is semi-flexible and the triangular section is edged with a flexible rubber so it won't dig into your little ones fingers, this same rubber is also used on the rim of pot and very thickly around the bottom to prevent slipping when using it on a high chair tray or table. There are two slim handles on the pot which are reasonably useful for baby to carry the pot around - the problem is that the Munchkin pots aren't spill-proof so I don't let David lug it around the house as he invariably leaves a trail of crumbs behind him! I've got round this by using the clear plastic lid from a pot of cream as the 8oz size fits perfectly over the top of the pot - not only stopping the crumbs problem but also helping to keep the snacks fresher for longer.
Freshness is a bit of an issue when using these pots as the segmented top means the air gets in almost as much as if there wasn't a top on it at all! Munchkin say they're spill proof but really they're not, the segments slide back into place easily but there are still gaps for crumbs to fall through and for air to get to the food. I put some cucumber slices in one of the pots a couple of days ago for my older daughter to munch on in the car, we were only driving a few miles but by the time we reached where we needed to be the cucumber had dried up - proving to me that some kind of outer lid is a necessity really from a food hygiene point of view! Using my makeshift lid also means I can transport the pots in David's changing bag without crumbs or 'bits' of food dropping out and making a huge mess.
The pots are dishwasher safe and are available in a pretty decent range of colours, I ordered mine online so David didn't get a choice of colours - Munchkin make a bit of a song and dance about being 'gender neutral' but this isn't correct in my opinion as I was sent a dark pink pot and a blue one. This doesn't matter to me in the slightest but I can't really see that pink is gender neutral by any stretch of the imagination, and I was expecting yellow or green pots!
~~~ Background ~~~
Regular readers of my reviews will be aware that our daughter is now three years old, toilet trained and finally sleeping through the night on a regular basis, and that I am now in a better position reflect on which baby-related products I recommend as near necessities, those that would be "nice to have", and those that one could really do without.
I first discovered these snack catchers when I was seven months pregnant and at lunch with a friend who has two children. I was fascinated by this strange looking container that was keeping her one year old son entertained. It also suddenly dawned on me that there really was a whole different world out there that was filled with useful items for new parents about which I knew about nothing.
~~~ The product and my thoughts ~~~
This two-part product from Munchkin is designed for children over 12 months old, although we used it from eight or nine months. It is a broad based and large brimmed firm plastic cup with a small handle on each side. A detachable lid is made from a malleable plastic material. This top has multiple curved flap-like sections that appear to form a swirling shape when seen from above. The lid is designed to keep dry food items in the cup while the child manipulates the food. And herein lies this products unique selling point: it's a container than contains! No matter how badly the container is attacked at or thrown around by the child, the lid stays in place and the food stays sealed inside.
We have several of these snack cups; the pictured purple and green model continues to be our daughter Millie's favourite and is the one most often used. These items have proven to be variable durable as we have used, dropped, thrown and washed them innumerous times in 2.5 years. The cups can be filled and then placed in a hand (or other) bag with complete confidence in knowing that the food will stay in the container.
I cannot remember the very first food items we used this for, probably something like goldfish crackers or snack puffs. We quickly moved on to sultanas and in time, green grapes. At some stage Millie decided that she preferred a variety of snack items mixed together: a medley of M&Ms, sultanas and crackers.
Finally, I'd like to explain this method of giving our daughter snacks at a young age was done in the context of child development. I was aware of the phrase "food before one is just for fun". Furthermore, such snack items and snack cups encourage and promote the acquisition of fine motor skills.
Yes!! Highly recommended.
I spotted this product while in Toys'R'Us. My little one was about a year old at the time, and fond of her snacks. I was slightly dubious, but figured we'd give it a go.
The product is a hard plastic cup with two slightly soft handles. It comes in a number of colours - we have the one pictured and blue with yellow trim, but a wide variety is available. The base has a rim of soft plastic, which means that it's quite stable if left on an uneven surface. The lid is soft plastic, and cut into flaps so you can reach in to get food, but the contents shouldn't spill easily.
My little one was not strong enough to work the lids when we first got them. They still were useful snack pots, though, as whichever hand she chose, she could hold a handle and eat with the other. Putting a laden pot in a bag or under the puschair with the lid on resulted in no spills: putting it down upside down with the lid on resulted in no spills. So far,so good.
I had been worried that it would be difficult to clean something with so much soft plastic, but a soft brush has been sufficient, it's easy to clean.
As my daughter grew, her strength and coordination grew too, and it wasn't long before she could work the lids. It turns out, that if you turn a heavily laden pot upside down and shake vigorously, some food might escape, but by no means all of it, which I was very pleased by.
It's still a useful snack pot now, at 21 months. She can have whatever she likes in it, and it's easy to clean up afterwards. I foresee a lot of use in future months and maybe even years.
~*~ Munchkin Products ~*~
The Company have all their products independently tested and either meet or exceed the safety standards for their business as established by American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International. And the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The firm's goods are available on-line and in many outlets globally.
~*~ The Snack Catcher ~ Experience via toddler! ~*~
I'm a grand-parent with arthritic knees in which I never thought I'd do an acrobatic turn for the tots...wrong! Dear little sweethearts often by accident and sometimes by fun love to see how they can decorate my floors with their interpretation of Modern Art using various foods! Therefore, when I came across this innovative little gem the Snack Catcher, I was thrilled, to say the least. But would it really work I asked myself! Would it keep snacks from toppling out but allow little fingers in? Putting it to the test with two of the grand-tots, three & four would put the cup through the hoop.
Filling up the colourful purple/green tub with dry snacks at the recommended maximum of 9oz, I sealed it with the funky lid. The lid is made from soft plastic with five soft curvy flaps in it. These push apart very easily when the child's tiny fingers reach inside for their food. This design is very child friendly, no worries of tears through sharp edges!
What if it tips over? Well, my grand-tots took the testing seriously, so that's the second thing they tried. Nothing, not a drop...it really works! Although the children didn't seem as excited as I was at this success. The food with stays protected and undamaged, even when hurled from a distance!
It even has a protective base to avoid scratches on surfaces. Children can even take the cup to nursery as there is a section to write names on the base. My daughter tended to keep the cups in the car, prepared with little snacks after play group. Foods stay fresh and clean throughout.
One of my pet hates is when flies and other creatures like to investigate morsels of food! The remarkable design of this beaker makes it virtually impossible for insects etc., to get to the snacks.
The cups are so easy to clean. I simply put it in the sink with other dishes, hot soapy water, rinsed well, then towel dried. The colours stay vibrant. Thus far, the cups have been put through their paces, and only suffered superficial scratches. The lid is as efficient as when initially purchased.
Prices range from £3.49. I purchase on-line to get the best deals on these products. Recommended for its quality, practicality and fun features.
This product is such a winner that it received The National Parenting Center (TNPC) Seal of Approval. It receives a full five stars from me but only two from the grand-children; colour & fun lid!