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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 September 18, 2020

                                                                                  7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                                                                                  7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                                                                                  Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

                                                                                  Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

                                                                                  1. Exercise Daily

                                                                                  It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

                                                                                  If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

                                                                                  Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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                                                                                  If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

                                                                                  2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

                                                                                  Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

                                                                                  One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

                                                                                  This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

                                                                                  3. Acknowledge Your Limits

                                                                                  Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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                                                                                  Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

                                                                                  Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

                                                                                  4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

                                                                                  Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

                                                                                  The basic nutritional advice includes:

                                                                                  • Eat unprocessed foods
                                                                                  • Eat more veggies
                                                                                  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
                                                                                  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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                                                                                  Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

                                                                                    5. Watch Out for Travel

                                                                                    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

                                                                                    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

                                                                                    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

                                                                                    6. Start Slow

                                                                                    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

                                                                                    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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                                                                                    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

                                                                                    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

                                                                                    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

                                                                                    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

                                                                                    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

                                                                                    Final Thoughts

                                                                                    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

                                                                                    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

                                                                                    More Tips on Getting in Shape

                                                                                    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

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