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!

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12 Must-Know Tips to Teach Kids How to Work Hard {Help Set Them Up for Success!}

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

 

Tip: Pin the image above so that you can refer later to this article on how to teach kids about money!

 

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.

 

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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.

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!

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.

15 Must-Know Tips to Save Money on Your Baby!

how to save money on baby

How to Save Money on a Baby

In this article I am going to talk about 15 ways that you can save money on your baby.

 

15 Easy Ways to Save Money on Your Baby

Congratulations! You’re about to begin an amazing new chapter of your life. I’m sure you’re super excited, but you might also be a little nervous. There’s a lot to worry about as a new parent, including how you’re going to pay the new expenses that will come with your dear little bundle of joy.

But even though there is a lot of gear and clothes and accessories that come with having a baby, it really doesn’t have to cost that much. Below I’m going to share 15 tips for things that we did ourselves with our three little ones to help save money just before or after having a baby.

Here are 15 simple tips to help you save money on your baby!

 

1. Buy second-hand maternity clothes.

Believe me, I know that maternity clothes can be super cute—but they will be just as cute from the thrift store or eBay or the woman you buy them from on the local online classifieds. And they will cost a lot less.

Given the fact that you will wear them for probably only four or five months each pregnancy, and you may be pregnant only one or two or three times, it makes more financial sense to save the money to buy cute outfits after you get back to your pre-pregnancy weight! (Or better yet, to save even more money, buy second-hand clothing then, too! :))

 

 

2. Call to find out beforehand what the hospital will charge extra for.

Unlike some stories that I’ve heard by those at other hospitals in other places, we were fortunate enough to not have a ton of unexpected extra charges from our hospital stays when having our babies. But there were still things that were much more expensive (even with insurance) than they would have been otherwise. For example, with our first daughter I took the pain killers and medicine (like my thyroid medicine) that the hospital gave (sold) us because they said that was their standard practice, but with our twins, I brought my own medicine and let them know I planned to use that instead. Paying $9 for one dose of a medication that normally costs $4 for a 90-day supply is just not OK in my book!

Some other things you will want to be aware of is if they charge extra for a private versus a shared room or for using the television (our hospital, fortunately, did not) or other amenities. Our hospital even included as part of the delivery cost (so of course you’re paying for it one way or the other, but it was still nice to feel not completely nickel-and-dimed) for one meal for one guest, and all meals for the mother were included in the price of the stay.

But again, if you want to save money, find out about the cost of meals beforehand, and if they charge extra for them, you might choose to have someone bring in at least some of them from home or a grocery store or an inexpensive restaurant. Or even bring some simple things from home when you go, such as fruit and fixings for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and the like, which we did do to have food on hand.

 

3. Save up for the labor and delivery, and offer to pay your portion in cash for a discounted price.

I never thought to do this because we have good insurance and so our bill wasn’t that high, relatively speaking (we have a 10 percent copay and no deductible), but my brother and his wife called and found out the estimated price of their labor and delivery and arranged to pay it beforehand for a discount, even when they had insurance. I wish I would have thought to do that! So give it a try—you’ve got nothing to lose!

 

4. Breastfeed if possible to save a ton of money on your baby.

Breast is best—for your wallet. If you are able to breastfeed, you could save $80 a month (that’s how much we spent on formula for my son, and that was supplementing what I was able to pump for him) or more by not having to buy formula. With my daughters I was able to breastfeed exclusively, and I breastfed them pretty much exclusively for the first six months (about seven months with my first daughter), including pumping after I returned to work when they were three months old.

With our son he wouldn’t breastfeed, despite meeting with a lactation consultant and trying diligently for over a month to get him to breastfeed, so I pumped for him and supplemented with formula as needed. If I had been able to work exclusively with him and give him more of my sole attention, maybe he would have eventually caught on, but since I had another sweet baby to take care of that divided my time and attention (his twin sister), I gave it my best effort, and eventually let it go.

But my sister-in-law’s sister’s son struggled with breastfeeding for three months, but she just kept being patient and trying and pumping, and eventually he caught on and did great with breastfeeding after that. So if breastfeeding is something you feel is important, don’t give up even when things are rough at the beginning. And don’t be afraid to get the advice and support and counsel of other moms—you’re probably going to need it.

Breastfeeding may be the most natural thing in the world, but it is also very difficult at the beginning for many women. (I was one of them, with my first daughter.) So study up beforehand, but also, like I said, get the help and advice of your mom, sisters, mother-in-law, nurses, lactation consultants, or other supportive and trusted women in your life.  

If you end up using formula, try the generic brands. The law requires that they meet the same nutrition standards as the more expensive name-brand versions, so you’re not losing anything by going with less expensive options, but the savings can be significant.

 

5. Buy a used breast pump, or see if it is covered by your health insurance so you can get it for free.

With my first daughter, I bought a used high-quality breast pump from the friend of a cousin. If that seems odd to you, you can by new phalanges. But as long as you sterilize them after you buy them (though I would imagine the woman you buy them from will do that herself before she sells them), there’s no need to do that.

With our twins, Obamacare was in effect, and so we received a breast pump without having to pay any additional fees, courtesy of our health insurance. So definitely go that route if it’s available to you.

 

6. Make your own baby food to save money when your baby is a little older.

This is a no-brainer, I think. Making baby food is so simple, and it saves a ton of money. We probably used only about maybe 10 or 15 jars of baby food total for our three kids. And that was primarily for a couple of times that we were on the road and it just seemed more convenient. But when you have your blender, use it! (If you don’t have one, buy one for $20 or $30—it will pay for itself in just a couple of months.)

Using the blender you can easily make these baby foods (and many more): carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, squash, zucchini, spinach, and broccoli.

There are also a lot of foods that you can give your little one that don’t require pureeing that you can instead cut into wedges and feed them, such as bananas, avocados, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, cheese, strawberries, cooked (very soft) carrots, soft pears, soft peaches, apricots, soft plums, cooked (very soft) potatoes and sweet potatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, mangoes, oranges, and kiwis.

Other great baby foods include (sugar free) applesauce, salsa, guacamole, hummus, mashed potatoes, refried beans, wheat elbow noodles, oatmeal, and hot wheat cereal (such as Cream of Wheat).

 

7. Use cloth diapers.

I know they require more work, but cloth diapers are so much cheaper than disposable diapers! Even if you only have one child, but especially if you have more than one child and so you reuse them, you will save a ton of money if you use cloth diapers. Don’t believe those articles where they try to say that between water for washing and laundry detergent you spend almost as much for cloth diapers; it’s just not true.

We spent a total of about $150 on cloth diapers between our three children (we used the same ones we had bought for our first daughter when the twins came, but then we bought that many again so that we had twice as many for the two of them), and even if you were able to find very inexpensive disposable diapers in bulk and spent only $20 per month, it still doesn’t take very many months before you break even, and then after that you are saving money every month.

Not only that, but with cloth diapers you have more of an incentive to do early potty learning (which is amazing!). When our first daughter was six months old I was walking through the library, and it was Earth Month (or at least they were celebrating Earth Day all month long), and I saw the book Diaper Free Baby by Christine Gross-Loh as one of the featured books on the display shelf. And I thought, what in the world? But being the avid reader that I am, and since it really piqued my curiosity and since I was motivated to get our sweet daughter out of diapers, I checked the book out and read it, and it was one of those life-changing experiences for me. (I also then checked out probably half a dozen more books on the topic because I love to get different perspectives on things and really study things that I find helpful, to get a balanced outlook.)

We bought a simple little potty and started helping her to sit on it every time we changed her diaper. And then we would try to put her on it every half an hour or so throughout the day, as well. Sometimes she was more receptive than others to the whole thing, and some periods of time went more smoothly than others, but by the time she was one year old she would go on the potty virtually every time we put her on it, and she was also consistently dry at night by that age. And by about 15 months she was pretty much potty trained, and she was completely out of diapers by 18 months. Did it take diligence and patience and effort? For sure! But so does wiping poopy bums for two or three or more years! Yikes!

With our twins it took a little longer for their potty learning than with our daughter, probably because it was a little more difficult to be diligent and give them quite as many opportunities to potty, but they were both potty trained right around the time they turned two. Now, that doesn’t mean our kids never had a miss (what I call an accident) after that, but it was rare.

And for you dads that are reading this article, you can do the early potty learning thing too! My husband has been our stay-at-home parent since our first daughter was born, and so he has changed even more diapers than me, and he was the one who gave the opportunities to potty while I was at work.

 

8. If you use disposable diapers, buy generic brands and buy them in bulk to save money on your baby.

If cloth diapers just won’t work for you, you can still save a significant amount of money by buying generic disposable diapers in bulk. If you have a scratch and dent store in your area, check it out, as well.

 

9. Buy used baby clothes.

Children go through clothing so quickly in the first year, and then pretty quickly in the second year, that to me it just makes more sense to buy most things that you need used. If you have a baby shower, you will likely get a lot of cute things there, and the rest can be gently used.

 

10. Buy used baby gear.

Same goes for baby gear. You’ll save a ton of money by buying used from thrift stores, yard sales, and online classifieds.

Don’t let your pride get in the way of saving your money! When you are able to use the money you save to instead fund your children’s college ESA or 529 plans, as we did, it will be well worth any initial discomfort you might feel. And when your children have no student loans later in life, they can thank you for your mindful spending. (Some call it being thrifty, but I call it being mindful. :)) Remember—clothing is a necessity. New clothes are not.

 

11. Don’t buy what you don’t need.

You can go completely over the top buying stuff for your new little one if you’re not careful and if you don’t weed through what’s really needed and what’s not. Some of the things that are not: bottle warmers, wipe warmers, changing table, and infant baby shoes.

You can change your baby just as easily on any convenient flat surface by laying down an old towel first (which is what we ended up doing, even though my sister gave us her changing table), and baby shoes may be cute, but until your baby can walk, they can actually impede the process of your baby learning to walk because they make balance more difficult.

 

12. Buy used toys, or let your baby play with odd items from around the house (free!).

Why buy all brand-new toys that will often quickly get lost or broken? Buy gently used instead. Even for birthdays and Christmas, it’s OK to buy most or even all of your toys used. Your young kiddos won’t know or care, and any adults who do (care), shouldn’t. And by the time your children are old enough to care, ideally you will have taught them why it’s important to be mindful in your spending and to reduce spending where possible, so hopefully they will thank you for having their best interests at heart! (OK, maybe they won’t go that far, but really, if you’ve taught them well the principles of contentment and intentional spending, hopefully they really won’t care.) For Christmas and birthdays we buy a few new items, but mostly used. And we don’t buy a ton of gifts for either. We choose to spend our money on things and experiences that will, we believe, have more lasting value.

 

13. Look for coupons to save money on your baby if there are items that you use over and over.

For things such as diapers and wipes and baby food (though, again, making it yourself is so easy and cheap!) that you buy over and over again, search for coupons. You can find a lot of coupons by searching online at the manufacturer’s website or by typing the name of the item and “coupon.” You can also get coupons from your local stores.

 

14. Don’t go out and buy a minivan or big SUV with your first (or even second or possibly third) baby.

Even though having a large vehicle is nice, you actually can fit three (of the narrower) car seats in the backseat of a regular car. When we learned that we were having twins, one of the first things my husband did was to measure the back of the car to see if fitting three car seats would be possible, and I Googled car seats to find narrower models, and it has totally worked for us!

We do eventually plan to move up to a full-size van (which we plan to purchase with cash), but in the meantime we continue to drive our car as our sole vehicle, and it has worked out well. Things are a little snug when we pack in our camping gear, but it is a hatchback, and we’ve been able to make it work. And it’s helped me to pack less stuff, which my husband definitely feels is a good thing!

 

15. Don’t upsize your house.

Similarly, don’t think that when you have a second child you need to immediately go search for a bigger home. Even if you are in a two-bedroom home and have a daughter and a son, they can share a room until the oldest is at least six or seven (and in an apartment they can legally share a bedroom till the oldest is eight, according to what I’ve heard). By staying in a smaller home or apartment—even though it may seem cozy or even cramped at times—and not upsizing, you will likely save thousands of dollars in interest or increased rent payments. That’s why we’re still in our three-bedroom, 1,300-square-foot home. Though it would be nice to have a bigger place, we’re planning to buy our next larger, newer, nicer home with cash (100 percent down plan!) in the next five to eight years, and so the wait and the little bit of what some might consider a sacrifice are worth it.

 

Conclusion

Babies are the best! (And when they get a little older, kiddos are the best!) But they can come with a hefty price tag if you let them. But they really don’t have to! Much of the stuff that they say you need, you really don’t. And all of what you do need you can find ways to save significant amounts of money on by following the tips above. Keep in mind, it’s actually parents who make having children expensive—it’s not the kids themselves.

If I can help you by answering questions you might have, please leave a comment below or ask your question on our new Families for Financial Freedom Facebook group page. I would love to help you navigate these new waters by doing my best to answer your money questions or whatever other questions you might have!

 

What have you done to be able to save money on your baby or your children? What information did I forget to include? I would love to hear what your family does as well to save money on baby, so leave a comment below and let me know!

 

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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79 Fun Free and Cheap Spring Activities for Families

free and cheap spring activities for families

Find a list of 79 fun free and cheap spring activities that you can do with your kids!

The days are getting longer and warmer, the trees are getting greener, the plants are starting to grow, and spring is in the air! Now that the cold winter is (mostly) behind us, there are lots of fun things you can do to celebrate the warmer weather!

 

 

 

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

Plant flowers or a fruit tree.

Go on an Easter egg hunt.

Decorate hard-boiled eggs.

Plant a small garden.

Play dolls or superheroes.

Play pirates or ships.

Build a race track and have a race.

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

Make and decorate cookies.

Make banana splits or hot fudge sundaes.

Make caramel popcorn.

Read together.

Read an Easter story.

Reenact the Easter story.

Write and act out a simple play.

Color or marker together.

Draw rainbows.

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 :)).

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.

Choreograph a simple dance routine.

Do aerobics or other exercises together.

Do simple (maybe edible) crafts together. You can find ideas for fun spring kids crafts here.

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.

Write a silly poem or story.

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 or football.

Go camping as a family in the backyard if it is warm enough.

Make indoor s’mores.

Have a hot dog or marshmallow roast in the backyard.

Go “camping” in your family room for the night (my kids love this one!).

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

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

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

Go for a bike ride, or ride scooters.

Visit cousins or set up a play date with friends.

Visit grandma or grandpa.

Go to a free or inexpensive Easter concert or pageant.

Go to a free or inexpensive music concert.

Go for a drive up the canyon.

Visit a state or national park.

Go puddle jumping.

Head to a warmer area of the state (or a nearby state) to go camping.

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

Go for a walk or hike.

Ride skateboards or inline skates.

Go to the park.

Fly kites.

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 spring! They definitely don’t need to be sitting in front of the TV or an electronic device all afternoon or evening long when there are so many fun free or cheap options.

 

What activities do you do with your kids for fun during the spring? What inexpensive spring activities does your family participate in? I would love to hear what your family does as well, so leave a comment below and let me know!

 

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.

69 Fun, Free Family Activities for Spring!

fun activities for spring

Free, Fun Activities for Spring to Do with Your Family

Find 69 free, fun activities for spring that you can do with your kids! These fun, free activities are perfect for your family!

Even though there is still a little snow on the ground outside, the last couple of days have been warmer, and I have hope that spring is on its way! These free, fun spring activities will give you hours of good times with your family!

 

Tip: Save the image above to Pinterest so that you can easily refer to this list of fun spring family activities later!

 

 

Free, Fun Activities for Spring Perfect for Kids and Families!

  1. Go on an Easter egg hunt.
  2. Decorate hard-boiled eggs.
  3. Play dolls or superheroes.
  4. Play pirates or ships.
  5. Build a simple race track and have a race.
  6. Make chocolate milk or hot cocoa and make and decorate homemade donuts.
  7. Make and decorate cookies.
  8. Make banana splits or hot fudge sundaes.
  9. Make caramel popcorn.
  10. Read together.
  11. Read an Easter story.
  12. Reenact the Easter story.
  13. Write and act out a simple play.
  14. Color or marker together.
  15. Draw rainbows.
  16. 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 :)).
  17. Go on a scavenger hunt.
  18. Draw a map and go on a treasure hunt (my kids love this one!).
  19. Paint together.
  20. Do finger painting.
  21. 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.
  22. Have a tea party.
  23. Play dress-up.
  24. Form a band (create or gather simple musical instruments to play together as a family or with friends).
  25. Dance together.
  26. Choreograph a simple dance routine.
  27. Do aerobics or other exercises together.
  28. Do simple (maybe edible!) crafts together. Find ideas for spring kids crafts here.
  29. Give the kids a bubble bath.
  30. Play age-appropriate board games and card games together.
  31. Play with wooden blocks.
  32. Play with marble tube games.
  33. Play with plastic building blocks.
  34. Do puzzles together.
  35. Do chalk art.
  36. Blow bubbles.
  37. Write a silly poem or story.
  38. Use a flashlight in a darkened room to make shadow puppets.
  39. Build a fort out of chairs or sectional furniture and large sheets or blankets.
  40. Let the kids help to make a simple meal.
  41. Play on your swing set.
  42. Jump on the trampoline.
  43. Color with chalk on the sidewalk.
  44. Play tag in the backyard.
  45. Play hide and seek.
  46. Let your kids help you garden.
  47. Play catch.
  48. Play Frisbees.
  49. Play kickball or football.
  50. Go camping as a family in the backyard if it is warm enough.
  51. Make indoor s’mores.
  52. Have a hot dog or marshmallow roast in the backyard.
  53. Go “camping” in your family room for the night (my kids love this one!).
  54. Watch a movie together (let your kids pick it).
  55. Go for a bike ride, or ride scooters.
  56. Visit cousins or set up a play date with friends.
  57. Go to a free Easter concert or pageant.
  58. Listen to fun kids’ music together.
  59. Go to a free music concert.
  60. Go for a drive up the canyon.
  61. Go puddle jumping.
  62. Go for a walk or hike.
  63. Ride skateboards or inline skates.
  64. Go to the park.
  65. Fly kites.
  66. Go on a picnic.
  67. Visit free museums or aquariums (or go on a day when admission is free or reduced).
  68. Go to activities or to read at the library.
  69. Ask your children what they want to do, and then do it! 🙂

 

Conclusion

There are so many free things you can do to keep your kids entertained this spring! Enjoy the warmer weather and the sunshine by doing free, fun activities for spring with your children outside! Or for those rainy spring days, find tons of ideas for things to do inside, as well! Whether inside or out, you will find ideas for hours of fun activities for spring for your kiddos or for the whole family!

What free, fun activities do you love to do with your family during the spring? I would love to hear what you and your kiddos do as well, so leave a comment below and let me know!

 

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.