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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 March 13, 2019

                                                                                  How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                                                                                  How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                                                                                  Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                                                                                  You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                                                                                  Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                                                                                  1. Work on the small tasks.

                                                                                  When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                                                                                  Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                                                                                  2. Take a break from your work desk.

                                                                                  Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                                                                                  Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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                                                                                  3. Upgrade yourself

                                                                                  Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                                                                                  The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                                                                                  4. Talk to a friend.

                                                                                  Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                                                                                  Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                                                                                  5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                                                                                  If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                                                                                  Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                                                                                  Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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                                                                                  6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                                                                                  If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                                                                                  Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                                                                                  Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                                                                                  7. Read a book (or blog).

                                                                                  The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                                                                                  Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                                                                                  Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                                                                                  8. Have a quick nap.

                                                                                  If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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                                                                                  9. Remember why you are doing this.

                                                                                  Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                                                                                  What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                                                                                  10. Find some competition.

                                                                                  Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                                                                                  Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                                                                                  11. Go exercise.

                                                                                  Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                                                                                  Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                                                                                  As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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                                                                                  Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                                                                                  12. Take a good break.

                                                                                  Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                                                                                  Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                                                                                  Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                                                                                  Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                                                                                  More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                                                                                  Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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