It seems like childcare facilities never have enough monies to purchase all the equipment needed on their wish lists. With that being said, I have discovered that with a smile and a little schmoozing there are pieces of equipment that you can get for free or nearly free! One of these is a milk crate. The first time I went to a grocery store and asked for a donation, I was thinking they would be perfect for organizing balls, sand toys, and books that could be used outdoors. What I learned is the children had way better ideas then me. The items I had put inside were quickly emptied and the milk crates were stacked to make walls of a house. The children stacked 3 high and told me it was the television set. They flipped the crates upside down and used them as counters and ovens for baking sand cookies. They discovered that they could make cars, boats, and bridges. I discovered that milk crates were a great piece of playground equipment and began asking for more donations from the local grocery stores. I found that they happily gave 3-8 apiece knowing that they were going to be used in an early childhood setting. So do not be afraid to ask, the worst that can happen is you will be told no. The best that can happen is that your children will use their imaginations in wonderful outdoor play.