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This List of Creative and Cheap Kids’ Activities Will Make Your Life Easier

This List of Creative and Cheap Kids’ Activities Will Make Your Life Easier

Keeping your kids entertained can end up taking more time and money than you have available. This list of 40 kids’ activities is easy on your budget and schedule, but encourages creative play for your children — and you!

1. Create a simple indoor “house” with a length of fabric and a few tension rods.

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    2. Put together a story bag from items you already have, then take turns pulling one out and telling a story based on what you get from the bag. (Or tell one long, connected story together!)

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      3. Teach your child how to finger knit (great for travel or rainy, cold days).

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        4. Or get them started on embroidery with felt, an embroidery hoop and thread, and a large, blunt needle.

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          5. Do a giant dot-to-dot puzzle. It doesn’t have to make a picture. Just use butcher’s paper, wrapping paper, or a disposable tablecloth, draw out dots, and number each one.

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            6. Build a simple, homemade catapult together and then do some target practice, indoor or out.

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              7. Get a garden hose and some PVC pipe and put together a ride-through bike (or scooter or tricycle) wash in the driveway.

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                8. Can’t get outside? Set up a mini, indoor car wash for toy cars inside. All you need are a pan or bowl, water, bubbles, and a few towels nearby.

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                  9. Make cool, custom designed t-shirts together out of old shirts and school glue.

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                    10. Go on a nature scavenger hunt. Make a list that works with the season. You don’t have to hide anything! Just go and find.

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                      11. Kids will love this balloon dart board.

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                        12. Let your kids get messy with squirt gun painting.

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                          13. Have a sandbox? Hide a few items in it (coins, shells, small toys) and then sit back while your kids dig for buried treasure.

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                            14. For indoor fun, gather up pipe cleaners and make cute critters, like this guy:

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                              15. Make an outdoor “river” with a roll of foil and some water. Kids can send their boats and small toys floating down. Make two shorter rivers for river races.

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                                16. Help kids make their own boats for the river! Use egg cartons for the ships and paper for the sails.

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                                  17. Use painter’s tape to create a maze on the floor for cars, trains, or just kids.

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                                    18. Go for a nature walk. Take along a magnifying glass and a sketchbook. Gather up interesting leaves, twigs, and rocks to bring home.

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                                      19. Use some of those leaves you gathered to make a leaf collage.

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                                        20. Then let them paint the rocks you collected on your walk.

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                                          21. Go on a picnic for dinner, or make it a picnic brunch on the weekend.

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                                            22. Let your kids use marshmallows and toothpicks to build cool structures.

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                                              23. A glow-in-the-dark bath time! Are you kidding me? How simple is this: non-toxic highlighters and water for hours of awesome.

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                                                24. Have a big cardboard box in the garage? Dust it off and transform it into an awesome fort or playhouse.

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                                                  25. Pick up a few packs of cheap sponges at the store, cut into strips, and have a tower building contest.

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                                                    26. Help your kids set up a post office. Then they can create and can send letters, flyers, and all sorts of mail to each other.

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                                                      27. Send them on a nature color hunt in the backyard. Paint the inside of an ice tray or old egg carton with different colors for a color list and carrying tray.

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                                                        28. Make finger paint with simple ingredients you probably already have, then get out of the way and let the art happen.

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                                                          29. Get out glue, fabric scraps, and any paper and craft supplies you have. Add in a few cut-out photos of your child. Collages are good for any skill level.

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                                                            30. More than one child to entertain? It’s group collage time.

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                                                              31. Kids old enough to safely use scissors can turn a pile of empty cardboard boxes and containers into a city.

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                                                                32. Puppet shows are fun, but not everybody has the space for a puppet theatre. Help them set up a tiny version with a couple of handkerchiefs, let the kids make puppets out of paper or craft sticks, and then they can create show after show.

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                                                                  33. Make a set of these “Get Up and Move” dice to encourage physical activity. Once they’re made, kids can play with them anytime.

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                                                                    34. On a warm day, set up a tub of water, some empty containers, brushes, sponges, and spoons for fun and easy water play. 

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                                                                      35. Younger kids love activities that allow them to work on those fine motor skills. Sorting pom poms and using tweezer, tongs, or spoons to move them around is great for learning and play.

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                                                                        36. Kids can decorate their own drum set, then put on a concert.

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                                                                          37. Pull out the Legos for a marble maze. Multiple kids? Each one can create a maze, then race to get the marble through.

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                                                                            38. This cool, easy bubble blower requires only an empty cardboard tube and some dish soap.

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                                                                              39. If you have bits of fabric and ribbon around, this simple weaving set-up will let your child have lots of creative time with no extra expense.

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                                                                                40. Gather up some play dough and blocks so kids can “lay bricks” and build roads and towns.

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                                                                                  Featured photo credit: tienvijftien via flickr.com

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                                                                                  Last Updated on April 8, 2020

                                                                                  Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

                                                                                  Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

                                                                                  Assuming positive intent is an important contributor to quality of life.

                                                                                  Most people appreciate the dividends such a mindset produces in the realm of relationships. How can relationships flourish when you don’t assume intentions that may or may not be there? And how their partner can become an easier person to be around as a result of such a shift? Less appreciated in the GTD world, however, is the productivity aspect of this “assume positive intent” perspective.

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                                                                                  Most of us are guilty of letting our minds get distracted, our energy sapped, or our harmony compromised by thinking about what others woulda, coulda, shoulda.  How we got wronged by someone else.  How a friend could have been more respectful.  How a family member could have been less selfish.

                                                                                  However, once we evolve to understanding the folly of this mindset, we feel freer and we become more productive professionally due to the minimization of unhelpful, distracting thoughts.

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                                                                                  The leap happens when we realize two things:

                                                                                  1. The self serving benefit from giving others the benefit of the doubt.
                                                                                  2. The logic inherent in the assumption that others either have many things going on in their lives paving the way for misunderstandings.

                                                                                  Needless to say, this mindset does not mean that we ought to not confront people that are creating havoc in our world.  There are times when we need to call someone out for inflicting harm in our personal lives or the lives of others.

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                                                                                  Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of Pepsi, says it best in an interview with Fortune magazine:

                                                                                  My father was an absolutely wonderful human being. From ecent emailhim I learned to always assume positive intent. Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response. You don’t get defensive. You don’t scream. You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, ‘Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing.’ So ‘assume positive intent’ has been a huge piece of advice for me.

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                                                                                  In business, sometimes in the heat of the moment, people say things. You can either misconstrue what they’re saying and assume they are trying to put you down, or you can say, ‘Wait a minute. Let me really get behind what they are saying to understand whether they’re reacting because they’re hurt, upset, confused, or they don’t understand what it is I’ve asked them to do.’ If you react from a negative perspective – because you didn’t like the way they reacted – then it just becomes two negatives fighting each other. But when you assume positive intent, I think often what happens is the other person says, ‘Hey, wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong in reacting the way I do because this person is really making an effort.

                                                                                  “Assume positive intent” is definitely a top quality of life’s best practice among the people I have met so far. The reasons are obvious. It will make you feel better, your relationships will thrive and it’s an approach more greatly aligned with reality.  But less understood is how such a shift in mindset brings your professional game to a different level.

                                                                                  Not only does such a shift make you more likable to your colleagues, but it also unleashes your talents further through a more focused, less distracted mind.

                                                                                  More Tips About Building Positive Relationships

                                                                                  Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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