61 Awesome Free and Cheap Winter Activities for Kids

free winter activities for kids

Cheap and Free Winter Activities for Kids

In this article I am going to share 61 fun cheap and free winter activities for kids and families! 

 

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61 Cheap and Free Winter Activities for Kids and Families

Honestly, even though I enjoy a lot of different winter activities for kids, I kind of dread the colder weather and being largely cooped up inside. During the summer (and the warmer parts of spring and fall) my kids spend much of the day outside in the backyard.

The kids still enjoy doing things outside during the winter, but it sometimes feels like the options are more limited when there is three inches of snow on the ground—or worse, when it’s just bitterly cold and there’s no snow to play in but instead just mud and slush and ice.

But there really are a lot of fun free and cheap winter activities for kids. Here I mention 61 of our favorite cheap and free winter activities for kids and families. 

 

Free and Cheap Winter Activities for Kids That You Can Do at Home

Build a snowman.

Make snow angels.

Make ice cream (use snow, milk, sugar, and any added flavorings of your choice).

Paint the snow (add a few drops of food coloring to water in a spray bottle—so fun for the kiddos!).

Make hot cocoa and make and decorate homemade donuts.

Make and decorate cookies.

Make banana splits or hot fudge sundaes.

Make caramel popcorn.

Make and decorate gingerbread men or gingerbread houses.

Play dolls or superheroes.

Play pirates or ships.

Build a race track and have a race.

Sing Christmas carols.

Sing other favorite songs.

Read together.

Read the Christmas story (the story of Christ’s birth), The Night before Christmas, or other favorite Christmas classics.

Watch a favorite Christmas movie.

Make or put up Christmas decorations.

Decorate the Christmas tree.

Help the kids plan and host a simple Christmas party for their friends.

Write and act out a simple play.

Color or marker together.

Play house (or family, as my five-year-old daughter likes to call it) or school or bakery (or ice cream shop—you get the idea J).

Go on a scavenger hunt.

Draw a map and go on a treasure hunt.

Paint together.

Do finger painting.

Have your children invite a handful of friends over to play simple games like “Duck, Duck, Goose,” “Musical Chairs,” “Hot Potato,” “London Bridges,” “Follow the Leader,” and so on.

Have a tea party.

Play dress-up.

Form a band (create or gather together simple musical instruments to play together as a family or with friends).

Dance together.

Do aerobics or other exercises together.

Do simple (sometimes edible) crafts together.

Give the kids a bubble bath.

Play age-appropriate board games and card games together.

Play with wooden blocks.

Play with marble tube games.

Play with plastic building blocks.

Do puzzles together.

Do chalk art.

Blow bubbles.

Build a fort out of chairs or sectional furniture and large sheets or blankets.

Let the kids help to make a simple meal.

Go “camping” in your family room for the night.

Watch a movie together (let your kids pick it).

Ask your children what they want to do, and then do it.

Free and Cheap Winter Activities for Kids on the Go

Go sledding or tubing.

Visit cousins or set up a play date with friends.

Go to a live Nativity or to an exhibit of Nativities.

Go to a free or inexpensive music or Christmas concert.

Drive around to see Christmas lights.

Go to an indoor pool.

Go out for (inexpensive) ice cream.

Go to a kid-friendly restaurant with a play area and buy ice cream or inexpensive food the kids can eat for a snack, and then let them play for an hour (or three).

Go to an inexpensive movie (dollar theater).

Bundle up and go for a walk (or short hike if you can do so safely).

Make simple snowshoes and go for a walk on the snow.

Visit free or inexpensive museums or aquariums (or go on a day when admission is free or reduced).

Go to activities or to read at the library.

Go to an inexpensive, indoor fun center or trampoline park.

 

Conclusion

Even though it’s cold outside, there are still a ton of free and cheap winter activities you can do to have fun with your kids and help keep them entertained (without sitting in front of the TV or other electronic device all evening long).

 

Let me know in the comments below the fun winter activities for kids that you and your family do during the colder months! I’d love to hear your ideas!

Invitation to Share

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103 Best Fun Free and Cheap Fall Activities for Kids

fall activities for kids

100+ Free and Cheap Fall Activities for Kids!

Are you looking for fun fall activities for kids?

The weather is getting a little cooler and the leaves are starting to change colors—are you ready for some fun free and cheap fall activities for kids? Then you have come to the right place! Below you will find 100+ ideas for free and cheap fall activities you can do with your kids. Whether you are at home or on the go, you will have hours of fall fun ahead of you!

 

Check out these related articles:

73 Totally Fun Free and Cheap Activities for Kidsf
97 Fun and Frugal Summer Activities for Kids!
61 Awesome Free and Cheap Winter Activities for Kids
12 Best Tips for How to Teach Your Kids about Money
12 Must-Know Tips for Teaching Your Kids to Work Hard

 

100+ Free and Cheap Fall Activities for Kids That You Can Do at Home

Rake up a pile of leaves, and jump in them.

Carve or paint pumpkins.

Make pumpkin pie.

Draw or paint pictures of pumpkins or Jack o’lanterns.

Build a scarecrow.

Make inexpensive Halloween costume.

Make a fruit cobbler.

Go around in a circle and share the things you are thankful for (you can keep taking turns till you run out of ideas).

Press leaves in a photo album or other book.

Host a potluck Thanksgiving dinner.

Watch an animated Halloween movie such as It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

Make homemade Thanksgiving cards.

Write thank-you notes to loved ones.

Bob for apples.

Make a collage with colored leaves.

Make leaf rubbings.

Make a handprint turkey.

Play flag or Frisbee or regular football.

Make homemade pizza.

Make chocolate milk or hot cocoa and make and decorate homemade donuts.

Make and decorate fall-colored cookies.

Make banana splits or hot fudge sundaes.

Make caramel popcorn.

Make caramel apples.

Host a Halloween party.

Host a neighborhood trunk or treat.

Play dolls or superheroes.

Play pirates or ships.

Build a race track and have a race.

Read a Halloween story together.

Go on a fall-themed scavenger hunt.

Draw a map and go on a treasure hunt.

Write and act out a simple play.

Color or marker together.

Play house (or family, as my five-year-old daughter likes to call it) or school or bakery (or ice cream shop—you get the idea J).

Paint together.

Do finger painting.

Have your children invite a handful of friends over to play simple games like “Duck, Duck, Goose,” “Musical Chairs,” “Hot Potato,” “London Bridges,” “Follow the Leader,” and so on.

Have a tea party.

Play dress-up.

Form a band (create or gather together simple musical instruments to play together as a family or with friends).

Dance together.

Choreograph a simple dance routine.

Do aerobics or other exercises together.

Do simple (sometimes edible) crafts together.

Give the kids a bubble bath.

Decorate hard-boiled eggs.

Play age-appropriate board games and card games together.

Play with wooden blocks.

Play with marble tube games.

Play with plastic building blocks.

Do puzzles together.

Do chalk art.

Blow bubbles.

Use a flashlight in a darkened room to make shadow puppets.

Build a fort out of chairs or sectional furniture and large sheets or blankets.

Let the kids help to make a simple meal.

Play on your swing set.

Jump on the trampoline.

Color with chalk on the sidewalk.

Play tag in the backyard.

Play hide and seek.

Let your kids help you garden.

Play catch.

Play Frisbees.

Play kickball.

Go camping as a family in the backyard.

Have a hot dog or marshmallow roast in the backyard.

Go “camping” in your family room for the night.

Watch a movie together (let your kids pick it).

Ask your children what they want to do, and then do it.

 

Free and Cheap Fall Activities for Kids That You Can Do on the Go

Go for a bike ride, or ride scooters.

Go for a walk (or a drive) to see the fall colors.

Go to a neighborhood trunk or treat.

Go to a pumpkin patch to pick a pumpkin.

Go to a fall festival at a farm or ranch.

Go to a high school football game.

Go to a spooky forest, haunted house, or other haunted attraction (for older kids if it’s not too spooky and if you can get tickets at a discount).

Collect leaves.

Go to a corn maze.

Go for a drive up the canyon.

Visit a state or national park.

Go camping—even if it’s just in your backyard some of the time.

Go to an indoor (or outdoor, if it’s warm enough) pool.

Visit cousins or set up a play date with friends.

Go to a free or inexpensive music concert.

Go out for (inexpensive) ice cream.

Go to a kid-friendly restaurant with a play area and buy ice cream or inexpensive food the kids can eat for a snack, and then let them play for an hour.

Go to an inexpensive movie (dollar theater).

Go for a walk or hike.

Ride skateboards or inline skates.

Go to the park.

Play hide the button at the park (the hider lets the other children know when they are getting warmer or cooler as they look for the button).

Find a grassy hill to roll down.

Find puddles to jump in.

Fly kites.

Go for a short run together as a family (and if you like it, work up to doing a 5k, 10k, half marathon, or even marathon together!).

Go on a picnic.

Go to the community rec center (consider getting an annual pass).

Visit free or inexpensive museums or aquariums (or go on a day when admission is free or reduced).

Go to the zoo (especially when you can get reduced-price or free admission).

Go to activities or to read at the library.

Go to an inexpensive fun center or jumping gym.

 

Conclusion

There are so many free and inexpensive things you can do to help keep your children entertained this fall! The kids definitely don’t need to be sitting in front of the TV or an electronic device all afternoon long when there are so many fun free or cheap fall activities for kids!

 

What fun free and cheap fall activities for kids does your family normally do? I would love to hear what your family does for fall fun, as well, so leave a comment below!

 

Invitation to Share

Was there something in this article that inspired you to change something about your money? Are there ideas or tips that you feel could help others? Would you please take a minute to share this article via email or social media? I would love your help to share these principles of financial well-being. Thank you!

Join Our Facebook Group!

Join our new, closed Families for Financial Freedom Facebook group to get support and share ideas for how we can all improve our financial well-being by earning more, spending less, saving more, and investing more and reach our financial goals. You can do this! And we are here to help.

12 Must-Know Tips to Teach Kids How to Work Hard

how to teach kids to work hard

How to Teach Kids to Work Hard

probably should :)).
In this article I am going to share my best tips for how to teach kids to work hard. This is such an important principle, perhaps more important now than it ever has been in the past, when the world is so competitive and yet there are so many distractions that vie for our children’s attention and might make it more difficult for many children to put in as much effort as they could (and

 

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12 Important Tips on How to Teach Your Kids to Work Hard

One of the main ways that you can set your children up for success in life is to teach your kids how to work hard. When we teach kids how to work hard, we prepare them to be more successful at school, in sports and music and other extracurricular activities, and in future jobs and long-term careers.

Something that I’ve been interested in for the last several years and that I have studied some is what the factors or ingredients are for success. And different experts on the subject have different ideas on this, but one thing that many of them mention is the importance of hard work.

One of my all-time favorite books is Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success. In that book he talks about the correlation between hard work and success in life. If you want your children to be productive and really successful adults, then teach them as they grow up to be hard workers. Below I’ll share 9 things you can do to teach your kids how to work hard.

 

1. Teach your kids how to work hard by being a good example.

Three simple words: Lead by example. If you want to teach your kids to learn to work hard, you need to show them the value of hard work by working hard yourself. That doesn’t mean that you should be a workaholic. Not at all. But it means that when there’s a job to be done in the yard or in the garage or around the house, everyone rolls up their sleeves and works on it till it is done. Of course you can also take breaks if needed, but when possible, work till the work is done. That will also teach your children the importance of following things through to the end.

 

 

2. Talk often about the importance of hard work and its relationship to success.

Teach your children that they can do difficult things by saying things like “It’s true that picking up all of your toys can feel hard to do, but you can do hard things” or “I know that practicing the piano every day might seem difficult, but you can do hard things.” or “I know that doing your homework is hard sometimes, but you can do hard things.” or “I know this hike might seem long, but you can do hard things.” And then also let them know that being willing to stick with difficult tasks and see them through till they’re completed is one thing that leads to success in different areas of life.

Doing well in high school can lead to scholarships that save thousands of dollars in college tuition. Doing well in college can lead to knowledge that helps you gain better-paying job prospects. Doing well at your job can lead to opportunities on higher-profile or more interesting, challenging, and rewarding projects and ultimately can lead to more frequent raises and promotions or bonuses. Working hard at your marriage or at being a better parent can lead to more happiness in the home and stronger, closer family relationships.

Teach your kids to work hard. Teach them that in many, many aspects of life, you are proportionately rewarded for working hard and giving the best effort that you can.

 

3. Teach your children the importance of diligent practice in music and sports.

Another way you can help to instill a strong work ethic in your children is to encourage them so that they are diligent in practicing for their team sports that they are involved in and that they also diligently practice any musical instruments you or they have decided they will learn. As they consistently practice, they will get better, and their being able to play effectively will be its own reward.

One of the things that Malcom Gladwell talks about in his book Outlers is the 10,000-hour rule and how it takes about 10,000 hours—research has shown—to truly master a skill. And he gives as examples The Beatles and Bill Gates and other household names to make his point.

Though your children may never give that many hours to the sports they play or maybe even the instruments they learn, that’s OK—the point is that they will get better as they practice, and practicing their sport or instrument is another way to strengthen their hard-work muscle.

 

4. Require your children to do chores, keep their rooms clean, and clean up after themselves.

Another way to teach your kids to work hard is by giving them chores. Of course you have to make sure they are old enough to reasonably do what you ask of them, but you can start assigning simple chores to your children at a pretty young age, such as helping to pick up their own toys after play as early as two years old.

As they get older, allow them the opportunity to take on more of the responsibility of helping to keep the home clean (and especially their bedrooms) and well maintained (such as helping to do yard work). This is pretty easy to do if you tie it to the opportunities they want to have. For example, you can make a rule that they have to tidy up their room and do their assigned chores every evening before bed if they want to play at their friends’ house the next day or use any electronics.

5. Don’t do everything for your children.

As you strive to teach your kids to work hard, be sure to not do everything for them. It surprises me sometimes how much some parents are willing to do for their kids. I mean, not the good sacrifices that you willingly make as a parent (so then are they even sacrifices?), but the over-the-top or perhaps even unethical things, like doing the bulk of their homework for their children or just going above and beyond the call of duty to make sure that their children never have any challenges or difficulties.

Like baby birds in a nest who have to break out of their shell and are strengthened because of that experience, children need regular opportunities to grow, as well. And they can’t grow if everything is taken care of for them. If they face a dilemma, let them work through it themselves instead of always jumping in to fix it.

When they have a big or difficult project to complete, let them do it themselves. Even if it doesn’t go as they had hoped or they don’t do as well as they (or you) would have liked, don’t bail them out. Let them learn from the experience. That is what helps them prepare for even bigger challenges and tasks and opportunities later in life.

 

Check out these related articles:

 

6. Let your children make mistakes and fail sometimes.

Going along with what I said above, as long as they are not in any physical danger and there won’t be catastrophic consequences, just let your kids do things their own way, and if something goes wrong or even flops completely, just support them and encourage them and tell them to try again. Fortunately, the things they are working on and the problems they are solving aren’t (probably :)) world-changing, so if something goes awry, they can learn from the experience and do better next time.

 

7. Consider paying your children for some of their efforts so that they can see the connection between work and monetary rewards.

Another way that you can encourage your kids to work hard, if you choose to, is by paying them a modest wage for the chores that they do. I know that the topic of paying your children for doing chores or getting good grades is one of considerable debate. We haven’t started paying commissions (the term we like to use instead of allowance—taken from Dave Ramsey) yet, but I think there’s a good chance that we will once our children are a little older.

I definitely like the idea of teaching the correlation between work and monetary compensation, and I don’t want our children to think they’re on the family dole by just getting money for toys and things because they breathe, so it feels like a good approach. But we’ll see how it goes when we get to that bridge. And same with paying children for earning good grades.

My parents did do that some of the time with us, and I think for some of my siblings it probably did encourage them to put in more effort than they otherwise would have. I’m the type that worked to get straight A’s regardless, so for me I don’t know that it made much of a difference—but the extra money was nice. 🙂

If you’re on the fence, maybe give it a try and see how it goes. You can always change your mind or adjust your approach later—nothing is set in stone. But whether you do or don’t pay commissions, do teach your children the very real connection between hard work and dedicated effort and financial compensation.

If you do pay your children for their work, make sure you teach them how to budget (well, either way, you need to teach them how to budget!) so that they will learn how to spend their money wisely and save up for larger purchases and just overall manage their money well.

 

8. Work together with your children on bigger projects that require a lot of effort to complete.

When they are old enough, another great effort you can make to teach your kids to work hard is to find projects that you can work on together that will take several hours or even days or weeks to complete.

Maybe that’s cleaning and reorganizing the garage. Maybe it’s building a clubhouse in the backyard. Maybe it’s finishing or remodeling the basement. Maybe it’s working on a fixer-upper car or boat or motorcycle. Maybe it’s cleaning out Grandma and Grandpa’s house, or remodeling it. It could be planting and harvesting a garden. It doesn’t really matter what it is—what matters is that it takes dedicated, consistent effort for long periods of time.

 

9. Work together on service projects as another way to teach your kids to work hard.

Similarly, teach your children the importance of working hard not only for themselves and for more perhaps self-serving reasons but also teach your kids to work hard as they help other people and give back to the community in small and even big ways.

Especially as your children get older, consider volunteering as a family once a week or once a month at a soup kitchen or in a community garden or at a hospital or care facility for the elderly. If you have the ability, consider volunteering for Habitat for Humanity and helping to build homes, or volunteer at a local pet shelter. The opportunities to serve are endless.

 

10. Find ways to make work fun.

As you are doing all of these wonderful things to help grow your children’s character, don’t forget that kids are still kids, and especially when they are younger (though aren’t most of us still kids at heart?), find ways to make work fun.

It could mean singing as you work, if your family enjoys doing that—or telling each other stories. It might mean finding ways to play little games or do little competitions while you work, with a possible reward at the end. So it might be offering a reward to whoever fills up the most bags with trash or grows the biggest pile of clutter.

So you could reward everyone by going to ice cream after the activity, but then the winner of the competition might get a shake instead of an ice cream cone or sundae, for example. Or maybe after finishing a project that takes several hours you go out for dessert or an inexpensive movie together. Or maybe you go to the park and have a picnic or go to a splash pad after a Saturday morning of hard work.

 

11. Praise and appropriately reward their efforts to encourage more diligence in the future.

If you want to teach your kids to work hard, then praise them when they do! Children (and adults too!) love honest, sincere praise and encouragement. I regularly tell my children how amazing they are for just being them—but I also slather on compliments for the things they are able to accomplish. I don’t think this will cause an ego problem at all or hurt them in the least.

There are enough things in the world that try to drag our children down that we need to consistently work to build them up. As long as you teach them the importance of being humble through example and through coaching them and guiding them during teachable moments, you won’t have to worry that that praise will give them a big head when they’re older. And by giving them praise, they will have the incentive to continue to try and to do their best to succeed and to act in the ways that you would like them to.

 

12. Limit the amount of media time that your children have.

Another important aspect of teaching kids to work hard is to limit their screen time (both TV screens and phone screens). You’ve probably heard the scary statistic that most people watch seven or more hours of TV a day. And maybe you’ve heard the correlation between time spent watching TV and violent behavior in children.  The same goes for playing video games—especially violent ones.

Our general rule is that if our children pick up their toys and help straighten up and get their preschool work done, then they can watch one animated move or group of shows (since we often get the DVDs we watch from the library, they generally have a set of four or five short episodes together on the same disc) a day. And every once in a while we let them watch two. But I can’t really imagine letting your children consistently watch four or six or more hours of TV a day. There are so many better things to do in life—even in their young lives! 🙂

 

Conclusion

Teaching children to work hard is so important. It’s one of our most important tasks as parents if we want our children to really be successful in life and not just kind of drift through life or, worse yet, be a drag on society.

And there are so many ways that we can teach our children the importance of hard work—through being good examples to them of hard work, giving them chores and projects to do at home, teaching them to be diligent in their studies and practice hard at sports or with musical instruments, helping them to serve others, and more.

Don’t let them be lazy and don’t let them give up. Don’t let them just play video games or watch TV all day. Life is so much better than that and there are so many more meaningful things that they could be doing with their precious time. So help them do them!

 

What have you tried to do to teach your children how to work hard? What methods or motivations or rewards have worked best for you? Leave a comment below and let me know! I would love to hear your ideas!

 

Invitation to Share

Was there something in this article that inspired you to change something about your money? Are there ideas or tips that you feel could help others? Would you please take a minute to share this article via email or social media? I would love your help to share these principles of financial well-being. Thank you!

Join Our Facebook Group!

Join our new, closed Families for Financial Freedom Facebook group to get support and share ideas for how we can all improve our financial well-being by earning more, spending less, saving more, and investing more and reach our financial goals. You can do this! And we are here to help.

12 Best Tips for How to Teach Your Kids about Money

how to teach kids about money

How to Teach Kids about Money

In this article I am going to share my best advice for how to teach kids about money. Financial literacy for kids is such an important lesson for them to learn!

 

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12 Important Tips for How to Teach Your Kids about Money

Teaching kids about money is one of the most important things we can do as parents to help them to be successful in life. Money touches nearly every aspect of our lives, and learning to manage money well is an essential life skill.

Being a parent is awesome—for a lot of reasons. But one of the reasons that being a parent is awesome is that you have these wonderful little sponges. (At least until they become teenagers, or so I’ve heard—but even then I think they listen to and take in a lot more than most parents probably think they do.) And you can influence and teach and raise these wonderful children to be the amazing people you know they can be. And that is your responsibility as a parent!

It is your job to be an influencer while you have the ability to influence—before it (potentially) becomes too late! So here are 12 principles of financial literacy for kids that will help your children to be successful with money.

1. Teach your children the financial values that you want to pass on to them.

If you have strong financial values that have helped you to begin to be successful financially, pass them on to your kids! If you don’t yet, first study and identify your own core financial values, and then teach them to your children. Here are several that we plan to teach to our children (by word and example) as they grow up (click the links below for information on each topic):

 

2. Teach your kids sound money principles by example.

A second important way to promote financial literacy for kids is to teach by example. Even more than talking about your financial values with your children, you need to teach them good financial principles by example. As you teach your children about money, practice what you teach. For instance, don’t talk to them about the dangers of credit card debt, and then cave in and buy a new living room set (on credit that you didn’t budget for to go with the new carpet that you had saved up for.

Kids are smart, and not only will they generally notice the inconsistency between what you teach and what you do, but they’ll often call you on it! Like my kids call me out when I do something wrong—and they’re kindergarten and preschool age!

 

3. Be as transparent as you can about money.

Of course you don’t want to worry your children unnecessarily if you are currently in financial dire straits or anything like that, but don’t be afraid to talk about money often. If things are financially tight, explain the situation to your older children—in a way that won’t freak them out—so that they understand the situation and have realistic expectations.

Tell your children how much you can afford or are willing to contribute to their college ESAs or 529 plans or to their college tuition and other expenses. Let them know if you’re willing to help pay for a car for them, and why or why not. All of these things are excellent insights or lessons for them for later in life.

 

4. Teach your children the value of money.

As you teach principles of financial literacy for your kids, help them to understand the value of money and how much things really cost—appropriate to their age, of course. Show your children your monthly budge when they are old enough to understand it. Take them grocery shopping and clothes shopping with you sometimes so that they get a feel for how much things cost. (My sweet five-year-old thinks we can buy a new-to-us van with the money in the coin cubby in the car. :))

Explain the amazing power of compound interest when they are old enough to understand the concept, and also explain the idea of delayed gratification. Help them to understand why it’s often good to pass on something now in order to get something even better later. Instill in them a to-the-core understanding of what it means to be content with what you have and not always want more.

 

5. Teach your children how to do a simple budget.

Another crucial skill to teach your kids about money is how to budget. Teach your children the importance of a spending plan, and explain to them how to use one. Help them to understand that a budget is simply a document where you decide how you are going to spend your money each month.

When creating your spending plan, make it a zero-based budget. That means that you figure out what you income is going to be for the month, and then before that month begins, you plan how every dollar will be spent so that there is no money left over. You don’t want money left over in your budget because it will fly away like feathers in the wind.

As part of teaching your children to budget, also teach them the importance of comparison shopping (doing price as well as product comparisons) to find not only good deals but good value. For example, they might find a toy at the dollar store for $1, but it might break after a few hours of use. Or they could spend $10 for a new toy at Target that could last a year or more. Or, they could spend $2 at a thrift store or on eBay for the same toy, gently used, that was $10 new at Target, and get the best value of all.

Learn more about creating a budget.

 

6. Teach your children the connection between work and rewards.

I know it is a sometimes hotly debated topic, but consider giving your children the opportunity to do chores to earn money. We haven’t started paying commissions (the term we like to use instead of allowance—taken from Dave Ramsey) yet, but I there’s a good chance that we will once our children are a little older. I definitely like the idea of teaching the correlation between work and monetary compensation, and I don’t want our children to think they’re on the family dole by just getting money for toys and things because they breathe, so it feels like a good approach. But we’ll see how it goes when we get to that bridge.

And same with paying children for earning good grades. My parents did do that some of the time with us, and I think for some of my siblings it probably did encourage them to put in more effort than they otherwise would have. I’m the type that strived for straight A’s regardless, so for me I don’t know that it made much of a difference—but the extra money was nice. 🙂

If you’re on the fence, maybe give it a try and see how it goes. You can always change your mind or adjust your approach later—nothing has to be set in stone. But whether you do or don’t pay commissions, do teach your children the very really connection between hard work and dedicated effort and financial compensation.

If you do pay your children for their work, make sure you teach them how to budget (well, either way, you need to teach them how to budget) so that they will learn how to spend their money wisely and save up for larger purchases and just overall manage their money well (and ideally not be still living in your basement when they’re 30 :)).

 

7. Teach them to be generous givers.

Another important thing to teach your kids about money is the importance of giving—not just money, but time and energy and kindness as well. And teach this to them by example. If you attend a church, let them see you paying tithing and giving offerings. When you donate to your favorite causes, tell them that you are doing it and why you are doing it.

If you choose to give directly to those in need in your community (perhaps by giving items they need rather than money), ask your children to go with you when possible. When they start to earn a little money for themselves through chores, lemonade stands, or their first pet-walking or grass-cutting business, show them how to pay tithing themselves and ask them to give a portion of what they earn to a cause that they care about.

Also find opportunities to serve together in the community as a family—by volunteering at care centers, hospitals, soup kitchens, shelters, and so on.

 

8. Make learning fun as you teach your kids about money.

As you teach principles of financial literacy for your kids, make it fun! There are a lot of things about money that are just fun and interesting all on their own—such as the amazing power of compound interest. But even the subjects that you think might be a little dry, such as learning how to do a budget (unless you’re kind of a nerd like me), can be fun if you get a little creative with it.

For example, let’s say you’re working go get out of debt. In addition to teaching your children why they should avoid debt and the challenges that being in debt brings (having to pay interest, potential loss of your possessions, and so on), you could put a big thermometer on the wall that they can color in as you get closer to reaching your goal.

Or you could use construction-paper loops that they could tear off each time you pay money toward your debts. This will help drive home to them and help teach them how important it is to you to get out of debt. And then when you reach your goal of getting out of debt, you could celebrate by going to dinner or going on a vacation or something like that.

Or let’s say you want to teach your children the importance of saving money. You could work with them to choose an appropriate goal to save toward, such as purchasing a new scooter or bike. And you could agree to match them for whatever they earn from doing chores, for example. So if they earn $30 from doing chores (and maybe even do some extra chores around the house that you agree to pay them for), then you could go to the store and buy a $60 bike.

 

9. Use praise and rewards and give lots of encouragement toward desired behaviors.

As you teach your kids about money, give a lot of praise and sincere encouragement. Children (and adults too!) love honest, sincere praise. I regularly tell my children how amazing they are for just being them—but I also slather on compliments for the things they are able to accomplish. I don’t think this will cause an ego problem at all or hurt them in the least.

There are enough things in the world that try to drag our children down that we need to consistently work to build them up. As long as you teach them the importance of being humble through example and through coaching them and guiding them during teachable moments, you won’t have to worry that that praise will give them a big head when they’re older.

And by giving them praise, they will have the incentive to continue to try and to do their best to succeed and to act in the ways that you would like them to.

10. Help your children set financial goals and work toward them as you teach your kids about money.

Setting and working toward goals is an important factor in success. Those who make written goals are far more likely to achieve them. So as another important way to promote financial literacy for your kids, help your children to develop the habit of setting financial goals when they are fairly young (and definitely by high school).

And when it comes to financial goals, you might help them in setting goals to save for a car, college, a mission or service trip, a high school trip, or other worthwhile expenses. And again, you might match them with your own money to support them in these efforts and help them reach their worthy goals. And remember to encourage them along the way to help them stay motivated and on track!

11. Help your children to get their first job and start saving money for college.

Another important aspect of teaching your kids about money is to guide them in getting their first job. Once I started going to high school, I would work after school at my dad’s office that was within a couple of miles of the high school. Until I could drive, I would walk there every day after school.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was an amazing opportunity that I had, because my dad was the owner of the company, to spend additional time with him that most kids don’t get to. And much of the time, I was working on the other side of his very large desk—or later, in an office just down the hall.

I learned a lot of character-defining things from my dad—among them, a strong work ethic, a positive attitude and outlook on life, and a determination to keep trying and not give up. And in addition to that, I was able to earn money to help pay for school, the mission that I later served for my church, my gas and fun money, and more.

Don’t think having a job during high school will hurt your kids and make them miss out on too many opportunities. It won’t. Rather, they will be learning important work and life skills that will benefit them throughout their life. (And as an added benefit, having a job will give your children less time to get into trouble—seriously!)

Teach your children that you expect them to help pay for their college (which I think they should, so that they will appreciate it more)—even if it’s just their housing, food, and vehicle expenses if you’re able and willing to pay for everything else. Go with them to the bank to open a savings account, and decide with them how much of their monthly earnings they should be contributing to that account to help pay for college.

 

12. Teach your kids financial principles often so that they will remember them.

A final important principle of financial literacy for kids is that anything that you really want your children to learn well you are going to have to repeat often. And that is as true for good financial principles as it is for anything else.

Since you will want good money habits to be ingrained in their psyches, be sure to regularly talk with your children about the money values that are important to you and that you want to pass on to them. And if you feel like you have talked about them too much, you might just have talked about them enough.

 

Conclusion

As they say, more is caught than taught. So if you want your children to make good financial decisions and to be successful with their money, then make good financial decisions yourselves so that they will have a model to follow. But then also consciously teach your kids all that you can about money, such as good financial habits—don’t leave it to the schools (if they even teach financial literacy) or to chance that your children will just figure out how to be good with their money. Look around you—chances are, they won’t just figure it out. If you want them to be financially successful in life, you’re going to need to teach your kids how to budget, how to save their money, how to invest, how to work hard, how to spend less than they earn and avoid debt, how to give, and more. It’s a big responsibility—but it’s also an awesome opportunity.

 

What are your best tips for how to teach kids about money? What methods do you use? What have you found works particularly well? I would love to hear your tips and advice! Leave a comment below and share your thoughts so we can all learn together!

 

Invitation to Share

Was there something in this article that inspired you to change something about your money? Are there ideas or tips that you feel could help others? Would you please take a minute to share this article via email or social media? I would love your help to share these principles of financial well-being. Thank you!

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51 Fun and Free Outdoor Activities for Kids

outdoor activities for kids

 

Outdoor Activities for Kids

In this article you will find more than 50 free and fun outdoor activities for kids! Find hours of fun with these awesome, free outdoor activities for kids of any age!

No matter the season, there are always plenty of fun things that you can do outside as a family to spend wonderful time together!

 

 

50+ Free and Fun Outdoor Activities for Kids!

  1. Go for a bike ride.
  2. Ride scooters.
  3. Visit cousins or set up a play date with friends to play outside.
  4. Go to a free or outdoor music concert.
  5. Go for a drive up the canyon.
  6. Visit a state or national park on a free day.
  7. Go camping somewhere free—even if it’s just in your backyard some of the time.
  8. Swim in an outdoor pool.
  9. Go swimming in a pond, lake, or river.
  10. Go tubing in the river.
  11. Go for a walk or hike.
  12. Skip rocks at a pond or lake.
  13. Play water games such as a balloon toss or water balloon volleyball or water balloon relays.
  14. Have a water party with the neighborhood kids where you play water games.
  15. Go canoeing or kayaking.
  16. Catch tadpoles or frogs.
  17. Go on a nature scavenger hunt.
  18. Ride skateboards or inline skates.
  19. Play soccer, kickball, or Frisbee.
  20. Go to the park to play on the playground.
  21. Play a game of family tag at the park.
  22. Play hide the button at the park (the hider lets the other children know when they are getting warmer or cooler as they look for the button).
  23. Find a grassy hill to roll down.
  24. Find puddles to jump in.
  25. Fly kites.
  26. Jump on a trampoline.
  27. Go for a short run together as a family. (And if you like it, work up to doing a 5k, 10k, half marathon, or even marathon together! #familyrun #familyfun)
  28. Go on a picnic.
  29. Go to the zoo on a day when they have free admission.
  30. Go to outdoor activities at the local library.
  31. Hunt for shells on the beach.
  32. Jump the waves at the beach.
  33. Watch fireworks.
  34. Go for a nature walk.
  35. Perform a short skit at a park with an amphitheater.
  36. Choreograph a short dance routine.
  37. Gather wildflowers.
  38. Play games like Red Rover, Red Rover.
  39. Go stargazing.
  40. Play in a sandbox.
  41. Build sandcastles.
  42. Walk along the beach.
  43. Find shapes in the clouds.
  44. Watch a pretty sunrise or sunset.
  45. Make a simple scarecrow.
  46. Jump in a pile of leaves.
  47. Build a snowman.
  48. Make snow angels (or sand angels, during the summer!).
  49. Go sledding.
  50. Go snowshoeing.
  51. Use food coloring in spray bottles to pain the snow.

Conclusion

There are so many free and inexpensive things you can do to help keep your children entertained! With all of the fun and free outdoor activities for kids that are available, your family will have plenty to do outside all year long!

 

What are your family’s favorite free outdoor activities for kids? I would love to hear what your family does as well, so leave a comment below!

 

Invitation to Share

Was there something in this article that inspired you to change something about your money? Are there ideas or tips that you feel could help others? Would you please take a minute to share this article via email or social media? I would love your help to share these principles of financial well-being. Thank you!

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How to Stop Fighting with Your Spouse about Money

how to stop fighting about money

How to Stop Fighting about Money

In this article I am going to discuss 9 simple steps on how to stop fighting about money. Learn important skills that will help you to stop fighting about money with your spouse.

 

9 Simple Steps for How to Stop Fighting about Money

Finances touch nearly every aspect of our lives, so money can cause a lot of contention if we’re not careful. Because what we spend our money on reflects to a large extent our core values, money often exposes differences that we may not have even been aware of before marrying.

Money disagreements are the number one cause of divorce in the U.S., but don’t let your marriage become another casualty! You can turn the situation around if you will work together with your spouse to bring about meaningful change. Here are 9 points that can help you stop fighting and begin to heal your marriage.

1. Listen more than you talk.

Sometimes we get so caught up in being right that we forget to work on doing right. Even if you feel that your spouse is the one to blame for your money problems and for the resulting arguments and fights, you can still be the one to start to make simple changes to make things better.

And one of the things you can start to change is to listen more and ask questions more. Not passive-aggressive questions, but true “I want to understand what you’re really thinking and feeling and where you’re coming from” questions. I love the saying that God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason.

And don’t get me wrong—I know it’s hard. I’m not perfect, and my husband and I argue sometimes too (and even sometimes about money, although—very—fortunately, we are both savers at heart). So I don’t mean to be a hypocrite and have you think that my husband and I never argue. But often people think they understand a problem or an issue, when we really don’t understand the complete picture.

By asking the right questions, and really listening to the answersand by listening to both what’s said and what’s not saidwe can come to better understand each other and better work toward shared solutions.

2. Commit to being a team.

When you are upset about your spouse’s money behavior, remember his or her great qualities. Remember why you got married in the first place. And recommit to fighting together for what’s most important, not fighting against each other. Hold tight to your faith and your family. Work to compromise, to think outside the box, to prioritize, and to sacrifice to find solutions that will work for your family. Selfishness kills marriages, so even if you are the one who feels wronged, find small ways to serve and to give. This doesn’t mean that you’re a martyr or a wimp or a pushover, but from your strength find ways to help and to lift and to love.

And remember that being part of a team is being honest with each other. If there are things that you are avoiding talking about, find appropriate ways and times to bring them up. Let your spouse know you’ve got some things on your mind, put the kids to bed, and then sit down and talk about what’s on your mind—without accusations or blame and if possible without anger. Practice good communication skills by using “I” statements (“I feel frustrated/discouraged/overwhelmed when …”), looking your spouse kindly in the eyes, and reframing your spouse’s statements and answers.

 

3. Discuss your overall philosophies about money.

As you communicate about your finances, revisit your overall views on money. What financial values are important to you? Do you believe it’s important to save up for what you want? Do you believe in lending money to people? What are your feelings on saving for retirement? As you talk about your views on money, it’s helpful to discuss your feelings on these topics:

 

4. Work to be kind and respectful, no matter what.

As you work through your differences when it comes to your views about money or your financial habits, commit to being kind and considerate. I know there may be a lot of resentment built up from past fights and potential misunderstandings. Work very hard to let the past go and focus on the present and the future. As mentioned briefly above, practice new ways to phrase things that don’t point fingers. For example, instead of saying, “I hate it when you …” say instead “I feel anxious (hurt, overwhelmed, frustrated, and so on) when you …” or “It concerns me when we spend more than we have available for …” Work on compromising and coming up with realistic solutions rather than placing blame.

 

5. Focus on your shared goals and dreams.

Start to talk about what you hope to be able to accomplish in your life as you save, spend, and invest wisely. What similar and shared goals and dreams do you have? What do you want your finances to look like in 5, 10, 20, and 40 years? Would you love to be completely out of debt? What can you do to get there? Do you want to own a vacation home on the beach someday? What will it take to get there?

Would you like to help pay for or completely pay for your children’s college educations? How can you make that happen? Are you planning to retire in comfort? How much do you need to save and how long do you plan to work to reach that goal? Do you have a goal to give very generously to the causes you support? What steps can you take now to put you on the path to make that dream a reality?

For an excellent resource to help you reach your money goals and dreams (and solve your money problems), I highly recommend Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey. It’s an awesome course that my husband and I went through and that I have also taught as an FPU coordinator.

It’s effective in helping you change your money habits because it gives simple, actionable steps you can take to reach your financial goals. Dave is a fun and charismatic teacher! But more important, this course has helped hundreds of thousands of families to get their finances in order, and it has strengthened countless couples as they have been able to work together to improve their financial situations. You can find out more and purchase the course here. 

And if you want help to manage your money and keep up with your finances, you should check out the free app Personal Capital. With Personal Capital, you can see not only all of your bank checking and savings accounts and even your credit cards and other finance accounts, but you can also link your retirement and other brokerage accounts. This allows you to have a complete, overall picture of your current financial situation. And you can also view your account history to see how your accounts and overall portfolio have done over time. I love this very helpful tool and use it all the time! Sign up for your free Personal Capital account here.

 

6. Start with working to overcome simpler obstacles before moving on to tackle bigger ones.

If you have big financial hurdles you need to overcome, such as one spouse being a chronic overspender, it might help to start with smaller, bite-sized goals. For example, you might talk about and commit to cutting expenses in just one area—the easiest one. And then you could talk about reducing expenses in another area.

As you talk about your finances and your spending, create a spending plan to help you get organized with your money. Consider if you might be paying too much in car payments or rent, and what you can do to work together to solve that. You might talk about what you can do to earn more income. If one of you has committed to being a stay-at-home parent, you might look into work-from-home options to help make ends meet.

Read how to get on the same page with your spouse about money.

 

7. Don’t give up.

Realize that bringing about real change might not be easy—it’s probably not going to be easy. Especially if you’ve been having the same types of money fights for months (or even years), it’s going to take some time to reverse that. Be patient with yourself and with your spouse. Take baby steps. Keep moving forward, even when you backslide. Give yourself and your spouse grace. Remember that your (intact) family is the most important thing you have on this earth—and your marriage is the core of that family. So treat it that way. Don’t give up!

 

8. Pray for help, and read God’s Word together.

If you haven’t been praying together as a couple, start. If your spouse isn’t willing to pray, ask if he or she will join you while you do. And do the same for reading the scriptures together. Seek God’s guidance in your life—He wants to give it to you! He wants your family to succeed as much as you do. And He doesn’t want you to be hurting—He doesn’t want fighting and contention in your relationship. So ask Him to help you to heal your marriage and find solutions to your money problems. And then read your scriptures to find answers, and listen for promptings from His Holy Spirit to help you know what to do. He will help you know what to do—I promise!

 

9. Seek marriage counseling.

If your marriage is in severe trouble, seek counseling. Don’t be ashamed—if you had a physical heart problem, you wouldn’t hesitate to seek medical help. And you should feel ust as able to get help with an emotional heart problem. If your spouse won’t go with you, go yourself, and ask for advice on how to talk to your spouse and advice on things you can do to work on the problem from your end. In time, hopefully your spouse will come with you, or you will learn the communication or other skills you need to start resolving issues even if your spouse won’t attend counseling.

 

Conclusion

If you’re in a marriage that is struggling because of financial problems, there is hope. You can do small things every day to help your relationship and your money move in a better direction. See where your spouse is willing to compromise. Consider what you yourself can do better to help improve the situation. Don’t try to solve multiple issues at once. Take things one step at a time, and just do your best. Seek help from loved ones, counselors, and your all-knowing and all-loving Heavenly Father.

 

Do you have specific questions about how to stop fighting about money? What methods have you found that have worked for you and your spouse to talk about money without fighting? Let me know in the comments below! I would love to hear your best ideas and tips!

Invitation to Share

Was there something in this article that inspired you to change something about your money? Are there ideas or tips that you feel could help others? Would you please take a minute to share this article via email or social media? I would love your help to share these principles of financial well-being. Thank you!

Join Our Facebook Group!

Join our closed Families for Financial Freedom Facebook group to get support and share ideas for how we can all improve our financial well-being by earning more, spending less, saving more, and investing more and reach our financial goals. You can do this! And we are here to help.