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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 January 21, 2020

                                                                                  The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                                                                                  The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                                                                                  Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

                                                                                  your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

                                                                                    Why You Need a Vision

                                                                                    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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                                                                                    How to Create Your Life Vision

                                                                                    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

                                                                                    What Do You Want?

                                                                                    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

                                                                                    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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                                                                                    Some tips to guide you:

                                                                                    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
                                                                                    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
                                                                                    • Give yourself permission to dream.
                                                                                    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
                                                                                    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

                                                                                    Some questions to start your exploration:

                                                                                    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
                                                                                    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
                                                                                    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
                                                                                    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
                                                                                    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
                                                                                    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
                                                                                    • What qualities would you like to develop?
                                                                                    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
                                                                                    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
                                                                                    • What would you most like to accomplish?
                                                                                    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

                                                                                    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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                                                                                    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

                                                                                    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

                                                                                    A few prompts to get you started:

                                                                                    • What will you have accomplished already?
                                                                                    • How will you feel about yourself?
                                                                                    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
                                                                                    • What does your ideal day look like?
                                                                                    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
                                                                                    • What would you be doing?
                                                                                    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
                                                                                    • How are you dressed?
                                                                                    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
                                                                                    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
                                                                                    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

                                                                                    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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                                                                                    Plan Backwards

                                                                                    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

                                                                                    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
                                                                                    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
                                                                                    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
                                                                                    • What important actions would you have had to take?
                                                                                    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
                                                                                    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
                                                                                    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
                                                                                    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
                                                                                    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

                                                                                    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

                                                                                    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

                                                                                    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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