Archive for August 29, 2019

Fun Ideas For Decorating a Nursery on the Cheap

Planning for a baby can be tough and expensive. Apart from handling huge medical bills, you have to purchase a lot of stuff to make life comfortable and efficient for the whole family. Thus, worrying about a nursery can seem more of a chore than a joyful experience. There are lots of ways for you to cut back on the amount of money you spend on your nursery though. From preparing for the crib to the planning out the décor, your experience doesn’t have to leave you hurting for money before its all said and done. With a little creativity and some love, you’ll be able to create a comfortable nursery without the stress.

1. Be Smart About Furniture
One of the first things you should consider for your nursery is furniture. You’re obviously going to need a crib, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend hundreds of dollars on one. Instead, you might consider asking family members for a hand me down or shop around at thrift store or yard sale. If you can, choose a convertible crib so that you can make it last well into your baby’s childhood. A changing table isn’t exactly a necessity for babies. After a couple of months, you might find that it feels uncomfortable to change your little one in such a position. Thus, you might just want to get a changing pad, so you can change diapers wherever you please. As far as other furniture goes, nothing is truly a must. You might add onto the room after your debt is paid and when your baby starts to show more personality. This will allow you to find options that might be better for your child in the long run.

2. Ditch the Pricey Bedding
All your little one’s bed is going to need, at first, are a mattress protector and a fitted sheet. You can spend a small fortune on baby sheets, but your best option is to just grab solid colors. This will allow you to mix and match as your baby grows, which can actually help you save money in the toddler years when interests change rapidly. Another smart option is to go with a white sheet. This will allow you to bleach the sheet clean when an accident happens. Since babies tend to have leaks, spit-up and a long list of other things, you’ll be grateful to have something that is so easy to clean up without forcing you to stress about the colors fading.

3. Use Items You Already Have
Another way to keep the cost of your nursery down is to use items you already have. If you have already had children and saved some of their items then don’t think twice about using hand me downs. Your baby is never going to remember what the nursery looked like, nor will they care as they will want their own items in just a couple short years. Even if it is old pictures, blankets and so on, the more you use from your other children, the more you will save. This is especially true when it comes to furniture though, as this is going to be the most costly item on your list. So, make sure you go through your storage and take notes on what you already have to make the nursery even more comfortable.

4. Go Easy on Décor
One problem that a lot of parents go wild on is décor. From pictures to decals, this can truly add up in price, which will leave you feeling stressed. When it comes to a nursery, less can really be more. Clutter can cause anxiety and discomfort, which is definitely what you don’t need to feel as you’re rocking your child to sleep for the 5th time of the night. Instead of adding a ton of items, try to keep it simple with one wall decal or a quilt on the wall to stop echoes. This will allow you to be more selective, so each piece will be meaningful. You should also keep paint simple. White walls can be more convenient, especially as children grow and start to pick preferences for their walls.

5. Ditch Themes
A theme is a one-way ticket to spending a fortune. Themes mean finding linens, décor and so much more based on your theme. You might think a simple theme will save you money, but it’s way too easy to fall into the loop of buying more and more. Instead of going with a theme, you might consider adding some family-oriented items. For instance, an heirloom quilt might look nice draped over a chair or even gently hung on the wall. You can also hang up pictures of loved ones, which your baby will enjoy looking at as their vision becomes clearer. If you really want theme-oriented items then try to add just one signature piece, this can help you cut back on spending, so you have more money for clothes and all of those pesky diapers your child is going to need.

6. Embrace decals
Painting a room, especially when you’re pregnant can be a pain. This is especially true if you plan on painting a mural on your wall. However, in most cases, the paint might seem like a great alternative to hanging pictures on the wall, which can ultimately fall and harm your child. There is an alternative to doing both though. Wall decals, in most cases, can be purchased cheaply and come in so many different designs that it might be hard to choose what you want. The best thing about wall decals is they easily stick to the wall, so decorating can take mere seconds. They also come off the wall without leaving a mark, which is perfect for renters. These items can easily be moved around too, so you can be indecisive without stressing over wasting money.

7. Choose Time Pieces
Another smart way to shop for your nursery is to choose items that will grow with your child. For instance, the convertible crib is a must for saving money. You’ll also find that a chest of drawers that pairs with the crib can be multifunctional. Its great storage for clothing, but the top can be used as a changing table as your child grows. You might also consider buying items for storage. Bins are one of the best items to have on hand because your child is going to collect toys faster than you can imagine. You might also consider soft toy boxes for now, as little ones tend to close doors on fingers, which can lead to more pain than the style is worth.

8. Utilize a Rug
You might be surprised by how much a rug can change a room. Rugs are a great place for babies to enjoy tummy time or work on their first movements into crawling. They’re also a must if your child’s nursery will be in a room with hardwood floors. A rug can help keep the room warmer, which is important for babies. It will also give babies more confidence when taking those first steps as falling on hardwood floors can stress the baby out. You shouldn’t just pick out any rug though. For instance, those that are entirely baby-themed might not work out. Instead, try to choose a solid color of a geometric print that is easy to pair with other décor. You might also consider choosing a rug that you could easily move into another room when your child outgrows it. This will help save money and make the nursery nice for the time being.

9. Plan For Security
When designing your nursery, you should take into consideration the security measures of the room. Most parents at least want a baby monitor in the room, so plan to position it in a space that won’t have a glare. You can also consider other cameras to get a better view of the room for when your little one is moving around. You can plan on nanny cams too if you’re going to hire someone to watch your bundle of joy. These can be hidden in bears, clocks and so much more. Apart from cameras, you might consider getting locks for windows. Not only will this prevent your child’s window from opening any further than you want it to, but it can help also help prevent your little one’s fingers from getting smashed due to the window closing. Most importantly, it will allow for airflow without leaving the window at a dangerous level that your child might fall out of. Finally, it is also important to secure your furniture to the wall, so it won’t fall on your little one when they enter the climbing stage.

10. Craft Décor
If you don’t want empty walls, but you also don’t want to spend a bundle then crafting décor is a great option for you. You can make a lot of amazing things for your child’s wall too. For instance, you can make print-outs of your child’s name or paint wooden letters. Another fun option is to make a poster board with your child’s information on it. You can fill out the details like birth date, time, weight, and height when your little one arrives. Of course, as soon as you bring your child home a world of craft options begins. For instance, you can hang up your baby’s feet and handprints using paints, clay or other craft supplies. There are lots of craft ideas online too, so you can always surf around to find what you need.

Decorating your nursery should be a fun experience. These tips will not only help you think out of the box but will help you plan for a convenient nursery that will make living with your new baby easier. Best of all, these tips won’t cost you a bundle, so you’ll be able to find more money for the items you’re truly going to need over the next few years.

How to Save Big on Labor Day Sales in 2019

Labor Day is a nice long break for most people. However, it also provides a good time to shop for items you might need for work, school or everyday life. Every Labor Day, retailers use the holiday to get rid of stock that might not have sold during back to school days. They also work to get rid of summer clothes, last year’s appliances and so much more. This can be a great asset for you as it means you can stock up on everything you need to make life a whole lot more convenient. These ten tips will help you maximize your savings on the things you need, so you’ll know exactly what to spend your Labor Day weekend looking for.

1. Glasses/Contacts
With most students already back in school or planning to attend just after Labor Day, many retailers will take advantage of the new year by offering sales on glasses and contacts. If you’re in need of a new pair of glasses, then you might want to head to your local vendor to pick out a couple of awesome looks for less than you’d think to pay. You will be able to take advantage of the same shopping deals online too, but make sure to shop wisely when ordering glasses online. Contacts will be found at a much cheaper price during the holiday too. However, your best bet is to shop online for these items as this is where you will find the great bulk deals. Of course, most optometrists will be closed on Labor Day, and maybe even the whole weekend. So, it is important to get your prescription updated before the holiday sales begin.

2. Clothes
This year, there are going to be a ton of clothing sales to choose from. Your best option will be to look for summer clearance as everything should be on the clearance rack at this point. However, you might also want to look at autumn fashions, too. If you’re shopping for back to school items, then you might even be able to stock up on winter jackets and more. The best thing about Labor Day sales is you’ll probably find some sort of deal at just about every store you go in. However, some of the major brands that have already started their sales will be up to 50% are Old Navy, Nordstrom, Barneys, Foot Locker and so many more. This will help you get the wardrobe you need for less money than you’d ever expect to pay.

3. Makeup
Believe or not, but makeup does have an expiration date. So, if you bought products for back to school last year and they’re still lingering around in your collection, then it might be time to clear things out. Luckily, Labor Day will definitely bring some major sales when it comes to makeup. You should be able to find some of your favorite brands on sale in department stores, brick and mortar brand stores, as well as online. Although many makeup brands intend to offer sales, Sephora is one of the few makeup stores that has come forward about a huge sale. So, you might want to check out your local Sephora store or JC Penny during the Labor Day weekend.

4. Subscription Boxes
If you love getting surprises in the mail, then you’re bound to love the deals you’ll find on
subscription boxes
. There are a ton of subscription boxes now, so if you surf around you’re bound to find something that will suit. From books and geeky accessories to socks and wardrobe options, the deals are certain to help you in many facets of life. However, food subscription boxes should be where the majority of the savings are. There are lots of these meal options to work with too, so you can try out a couple of options or subscribe to a food box that you know you’ll love. Even the snack boxes will appease your appetite, which can help save on your grocery bill too.

5. Mattresses
If you’re in need of a new mattress or you’re looking for something more comfortable for your college student, then Labor Day is going to provide you with the sales you need. Sales might not be as great as they were during Memorial Day, but they will be the last major sale before next year when it comes to mattresses. Your local stores should be able to provide you with lots of great sales. Usually, when you shop locally you can even have your old mattress removed for free or a small fee. You might also find some incredible deals online as there are numerous online stores that offer well priced mattresses. Of course, you should always look at reviews for these items. You should also look into fees to remove your old mattress.

6. Computers
With college kids heading back to campus, you might be in the market for a new laptop for your student. Luckily, Labor Day is going to offer lots of great options to keep you happy. You should be able to find deals on some of the top brands like Dell, HP, Apple and more. Most retailers that offer electronics should have lots of deals to choose from, which is good if you prefer to go in and check out items before you make a choice. Of course, you will also find some great deals online, which is perfect if you have an idea of what you already want. However, you will find some incredible deals during Black Friday, so if you don’t need a computer right away, you might hold off until the huge savings at the end of the year arrive.

7. Appliances
Labor Day is often a time in which many stores try to ditch some of their old appliances because the new stock will arrive in October. If you don’t mind purchasing a 2019 model or older then you might be able to find an extraordinary deal on an appliance that you want. Many stores, like Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowes and so on will certainly have some awesome prices to work with. Small appliances will also be on sale too, which is perfect for anyone moving into their first apartment or dorm room. You might also stock up on small appliances for the holidays as they make great gifts for friends and family.

8. Fitness Gear
Fitness gear is pretty trendy right now and most stores are counting on the trend in order to sell some major gear during the Labor Day weekend. Thus, if you’re lacking anything, this sale is probably going to be one of the best times to stock up. One of the most important things you should check out is fitness clothes and shoes. You might even be able to catch back to school sales too, so you can save even more while you’re out shopping. Fitness gadgets will also be a great option, especially with new models releasing around the holidays. Best of all, you might find some deals on gym memberships to help celebrate back to school season and more.

9. Grills
Although Labor Day has arrived, summer isn’t quite over yet. However, many stores will try to get rid of their grill as if summer is long gone. So, if you are in need of something to cook delicious meals outdoors then you might want to swoop in grab a grill at a reduced price. Since there is still some warm and moderate weather ahead, you’ll be able to enjoy the grill for a few more weeks before its time to pack it in for the day. Of course, if you are going to buy a grill late in the game, you might consider purchasing a cover too. This will help keep your grill protected from the elements while it’s not in use.

10. Furniture
If you need a few new options for your home, then shopping for furniture is definitely going to be something exciting during the Labor Day sale. Many stores have already proclaimed there is going to be some great deals during the Labor Day weekend. Wayfarer particularly has come out with teasers about the huge discounts they will be offering. These sales can be especially helpful if you’re trying to fill up a new apartment or dorm room too. So, you should be able to get the home of your dreams without spending the money you would have expected to.

Labor Day sales are the last big hoorah before Black Friday, so make sure you have some fun shopping for the items you need. These sales should help you with necessities, so you can worry less about shopping for these items during the holidays when you might prefer to spend your money on fun items. With any luck, you’ll easily be able to find some deals that will suit your retail therapy desires.

Frugal Ways to Make Your Child’s After School Experience Rewarding

School days can be hard to navigate, especially if you’re a working parent or have a child that has a hard time keeping busy after the school bell rings. It is way too easy for kids to fall into the couch potato zone, especially if parents aren’t home to navigate what they do when they get home. There are some ways to help kids stay busy though while helping to ease your mind while you’re working. These ten ideas can help make your family function a little better, so you can maximize your child’s growth during the school year. Best of all, most of these tips shouldn’t cost you a fortune as there are many ways to cut back on the spending.

1. Daycare
Daycare is probably one of the most common ways to help your child stay safe and active after school is over. In most cases, the daycare will pick up your child and bring them back the facility for a snack. After snack time, some daycares will actually help children complete their homework which is one less thing you will have to worry about when your day is over. If they don’t work on homework, children will be able to spend time with other kids playing and unwinding after school. This can help them get everything out of their system so you can sit down and work on homework when the day is over. Best of all, there are many programs that can help you with daycare assistance if you qualify. Daycares generally don’t take children over the age of 13 though, so this is only an option for your younger kids.

2. Clubs
Many schools will offer after school clubs that can help your child flourish in their chosen subjects. For younger children, some schools do offer an after-school club that will allow children to work on crafts, sports or get homework help. However, in most cases, you’ll find that these services aren’t free unless you qualify. Clubs for middle and high schools will offer a variety of other options though. Kids can join science, language, and art clubs to help them learn more about the things they are passionate about. Most of the clubs are free of charge, but in some cases, your child might have to pay dues if the club goes on field trips or requires special materials. Clubs aren’t every day of the week though, so you will have to figure out something to do when your child doesn’t have a club scheduled.

3. Tutoring Center
If your child is struggling with schoolwork, then you might want to look into a tutoring center for after school. These centers generally aren’t free, so you might look into scholarships and deals if you’re having trouble affording the cost. Often, the tutoring center will be able to approach your child’s work in a way that schools can’t. The individual attention can help children to boost their confidence and tackle school in a way that can set them up for success in the future. On top of that, you might find that some tutoring centers do group work, which can help children make new friends and potential study partners.

4. Sports
Most schools will offer a sports program that your child can participate in. If you have a middle school or high school student, then there is a good chance that any athletic program will last until well after school is over. Generally, these programs are free apart from the occasional field trip for out of town games. However, there are usually fundraisers that help out with these fees. The school can also offer assistance if you can’t handle the money for hotels or food during these games. You just have to make the coach aware of the situation. Apart from school programs, the community usually offers sports programs too. Of course, you will probably have to pay a small fee for these activities, but it won’t be an overwhelming bill. Some communities will even offer discounts for siblings.

5. Youth Groups
If you belong to a church, then you might want to look into youth groups to help your kids stay busy after school. Some youth groups can actually pick up your child and keep them busy every day, while others are only available for services once or twice a week. Depending on the youth group, your child should be able to hang out with friends, stay busy and learn lessons. Youth groups can be found in all sorts of churches too, so it doesn’t matter which religion you practice, as you should be able to get your child into a peer group that he or she will love.

6. Library Programs
The library isn’t quite what it used to be. With a decline in patrons, libraries have started going the extra mile to encourage people to spend time in the facility. This means that there are a lot of programs for kids that will certainly help your child stay active after school. Many activities will host crafting classes, movie afternoons, gaming nights and clubs based on interests, like anime. Best of all, most of the programs are free, so your child can try something new every night if they please. The library can also offer homework help so that children can learn how to research properly. Of course, while your child is at the library, they might also find a book or two that will help make the rest of their week even more exciting.

7. Music Lessons
If you have money to spend on after school activities, then one of the best things you can do is sign your child up for music lessons. Music lessons not only give your child something to do, but they can also help your child excel in their classwork. Music lessons can be a great way to build confidence, learn responsibility and so much more. You will have to invest some money into the activity unless you know someone that will provide lessons for free. If not, you might consider looking for people willing to offer a discount, especially if you have siblings hoping to learn. If you’re not certain your child will stick with the lessons through, then you can always rent an instrument and purchase later if your child enjoys it.

8. Neighbors
Sometimes, the people in your neighborhood are one of your greatest assets. If you have a neighbor you trust, you might have your kids check-in with them when they get home from school, so they can make sure everything is okay. For younger children, you might see if a neighbor that also has children can pick your child up and let him or her do homework until you get home. If picking your child up isn’t an issue, but you do want your child to be more social, then set up an afterschool playgroup for the kids in the community. This will definitely help your child to have some fun without costing you a penny. Plus, it helps teach your child the importance of the community.

9. Community Groups
Luckily, there are a lot of great programs available in the community that can help you out with after school care and keeping your child busy. The YMCA is probably one of the most popular options. This facility even offers a family membership, which will save you some money in the long run. The YMCA offers lots of great programs including swimming, workout classes, crafts, and other age-appropriate options. Another option is the Boys and Girls Club. This club is similar to the YMCA, but it does more along the lines of helping children after school. There are other community groups you can check out too, so make sure to shop around and take tours of the community programs in your area. This will help ease your mind while allowing you to do what is best for your child.

10. Special Projects
If you have plenty of time to spend with your child when they get home from school, then you might want to help them out by creating a special project. One fun example of this is to make a rocket with your child. You can purchase a kit at a craft shop or you can easily make one using DIY videos online. You can also work on a long-term scavenger hunt that will help everyone get some exercise while ensuring your bond and have fun. Of course, your special project can be based entirely on what your child is interested in as well as what they are learning in school.

Taking care of your child after school can be a real challenge at times. However, these ten ideas will help you find the proper balance to ensure they don’t sit on the sofa as soon as the last school bell rings. With any luck, your child might find some passions to pursue as they grow older.

Family Fun Ideas That Will Suit Your End of Summer Budget

August is family fun month, which makes sense since it is the last full month of summer that we get to enjoy. It is also the end of summer vacation for students, which means life is about to get busier than ever. Thus, you might want to plan something spectacular in order to make some last-minute memories for the summer holiday. Unfortunately, a last-minute vacation or special outing might not always be in the budget. Luckily, there are quite a few activities that you can enjoy for next to nothing. These ten ideas will help you find just what you need to make summer amazing and family fun month one for the books.

1. Water Fight
One of the easiest ways to make sure your kids have fun is to engage them in a water fight. This is an excellent way to keep the whole family cool, encourages bonding and is almost free. Best of all, you can enjoy a water fight in a wide assortment of different ways. For instance, you can start out the battle with some water guns. If you don’t have any at home, then you will probably luck out and find some at dollar stores for next to nothing. However, you can also use spray bottles and other items that might work wonders in a water bottle. Another option is to fill water balloons. This option can be a little messier, but it won’t cost you a bundle either. You can even battle in teams or everyone for themselves to add even more fun to your water battle.

2. Enjoy a Nature Trail
You can find a nature trail just about anywhere that you go, which can be a great thing for the whole family. Nature trails allow everyone to learn about the area that they live in or an area that they are visiting. They also feature plant and animal life that you might not typically see in residential areas but is native to the region. Nature trails are a great way to get some exercise too, which will help get the kids in shape for back to school activities. On top of that, you will be able to simply spend time together without the distractions from the outside world.

3. Backyard Camping
You don’t have to travel far to go on an adventure either. As a matter of fact, you can easily pitch a tent or something that resembles one, in your own backyard. Backyard camping can be even more comfortable than camping elsewhere as it allows you to have access to bathrooms, food and so much more if you need it. Plus, you won’t have to pay a fee to stay there. You can also add in a lot more details to your camping trip. For instance, you can project a movie on the wall for everyone to enjoy before bedtime. You can also grill out for dinner or use the grill’s flame for snacks before bed. There are lots of games you can set up in your backyard too. Plus, you have access to books without having to lug them around.

4. Special Days
Before everyone has to get back to the daily grind, you might sit down with each other and design a day dedicated to every member of the household. Each member of the family can plan an activity, meal, and so on that suits their interests, desires, and needs. The only catch is everyone has to participate in everyone else’s day, and you can’t complain about it. You can also set price limits on the day too, to ensure you don’t go over budget. This can also be a great lesson for kids as they will have to look at the cost of the things that they want to do and juggle to see what they can afford on their budget. Each special day will help one member of the family feel loved while also encouraging bonding.

5. Make Snacks Together
Cooking is a great way to bond with others and it won’t cost you a fortune either. If you’re hoping to have some fun as a family, then you might start in the kitchen. You can teach the kids how to make some of their favorite snacks. This is an easy project to do based on age too, so you can plan to suit your child’s favorite foods as well as what they can safely do in the kitchen. This is actually a great skill to pick up too, as it can help you and your kids out when they go back to school. Working together gets the task done faster. Plus knowing how to make their favorite snacks also gives kids a touch of independence that they can use when you’re busy or they just feel like making themselves a snack. You can also do meal-oriented snacks like nachos, which you can all share while playing games or watching a movie. There are lots of snack ideas online too, so you can try out items you never thought you’d like before.

6. Organize a Family Sports Day
Sports are a great way to bring people together. However, they’re also a great way to kill some time and make sure everyone is active before the school year begins. Sports day doesn’t just have to be about your small family though. As a matter of fact, you might consider inviting your extended family to join in on the fun. For instance, you can bring everyone together for a friendly game of baseball. You might even set up competitions for everyone to compete in. This can be the perfect way to get everyone together because you know it is going to be tough to see everyone before the madness of the holidays.

7. Grab a Treat
Bring on the fun when you take the whole family out for a nice treat. This doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune though. You might consider going out for ice cream. If you’re on a tight budget then consider buying a larger size and just sharing. Of course, if you do want to splurge then you might consider a trip to an arcade or bowling alley. This can be a great way to enjoy each other’s company while allowing everyone to have a bit of fun. If you do treat the family to an activity that requires people to split up then you might bring everyone together for a quick snack, like popcorn or pizza.

8. Explore an Entertainment Facility
If you can budget a little extra, you might want to take some time to explore an entertainment facility in your area. Your best option is to do this in a local area, so you don’t have to worry about the costs of travel and hotels. You should be able to find something in your area, even if it is a small petting zoo or a local museum. However, if you can travel further if you’re in a rural area, then you might consider a theme park, zoo, aquarium, or museum. This will allow everyone to have some fun and blow off steam before it is time for school to begin. Of course, before you invest in tickets, you might want to look around for sales, so you can plan your expenses and save more money than you ever thought possible.

9. Create a Summertime Capsule
Creating memories is a lot of fun, but so is preserving those memories. You might want to take some of the fun you had over the summer and add the memories to a special container. You can throw in pictures, movie ticket stubs, lyrics to songs you loved and so much more. The whole family should pitch in a few items to help make the capsule complete. You might also write down memories you shared or important things that happened within your family or the world. Once you have your capsule complete, you can bury it in the yard, or place it somewhere for safekeeping. You might make a pact not to open the box for five years or maybe even ten. This will make it a nice treat for everyone when the time lock metaphorically comes off and you get to re-explore this moment in time.

10. Game Night
Nothing says game night quite like some good ole fashioned family fun. One of the best ways to bond with each other is to bring out the games and your competitive side. You can keep things old school by dusting off the board games and playing a few rounds of Chutes and Ladders or you can keep it modern and play a few rounds of your favorite video games together. If you have games that require you to get up and move, then you’ll be better off. This will definitely make the time pass because you’ll all be having lots of fun. Plus, it will show the kids that you can play at their level too, which will help cut out some of the divides.

Family Fun Month is the perfect time to make the most out of your family time. These ten ideas will help keep things simple while still ensuring the memories are unforgettable. With any luck, you will be able to enjoy more time together once you utilize these ideas into weekends and other downtimes together.

Cheap Ways to Make Your Picnic Cheaper Than Ever

Did you know that August is National Picnic Month? If not, then you might want to gather up some of your favorite picnic items and enjoy a nice meal with the people you love outside. Picnics tend to be an affordable activity, but there are always ways to make things cheaper if you’re looking to be even more frugal. These ten ideas will help you to make incredible choices that will ensure your picnic is not only delicious but will cost you next to nothing. So, get ready to have some fun with the rest of the month, because picnics are bound to be all the rage in your household thanks to these tips.

1. Reusable Water Bottles
When it comes to packing a drink for a picnic, most of the time we’re fast to pack something that can just be thrown out easily. This seems like the easiest option in most cases, but it isn’t always the most frugal of options. You might consider ditching prepackaged drinks if at all possible. Instead, pack a reusable water bottle. This will afford you more space for water, which can help keep your family hydrated in the hot August sun. On top of that, you can refill them at a water fountain or other source of water if you do run out of drinking water. You don’t have to keep things strictly water, either. Instead, you can add some fruit to make the water taste better than ever. If you aren’t feeling water for the meal, then store tea, lemonade or just about anything else in the water bottle. You’ll still save money this way and will produce less trash.

2. Pick a Free Location
Part of the battle with picnicking is choosing where you want to host yours. In most cases, you can find a place that is free, but you might be surprised by how many places will charge you a fee. One of your best options is to choose a public park. These destinations tend to have plenty of places for you to enjoy your meal and dispose of your garbage. You might even be able to use their barbecue pits and other supplies for free. If you have another destination in mind that isn’t public, then you might contact the facility that owns it. Sometimes, facilities don’t mind guests as long as they clean up after themselves. National parks also host free days, so you can always save money by going on days that won’t cost you an entrance fee.

3. Go for Appetizers
Picnics don’t have to be all about meals. In fact, you can pack finger foods that are just as satisfying. This might be even better if you plan on playing games and enjoying other activities in the summer sun. Appetizers can help ease hunger while also ensuring you don’t overdo it while eating. Some simple ideas for appetizers would be finger sandwiches, chips and salsa and lettuce wraps with fillings of your choice. Of course, you can also keep it simple and tasty with a vegetable and fruit platter that will satisfy everyone. Appetizers help to slow down eating which can help with the bonding experience that picnics create.

4. Stick With Sandwiches
Of course, if you do plan on packing a meal for dinner, you should keep it cheap and simple with sandwiches. You can do so much with sandwiches too, which will make it simple to satisfy everyone. From the classics like peanut butter and jelly or cold cuts to more extravagant items, you won’t have to bust your budget just to make this dish. You can even make items like burgers or chicken sandwiches if you want things to be even more filling. No matter what you choose to do, the sandwiches will certainly be a hit with everyone, which will make life so much easier.

5. Use Materials You Own
A lot of people think that they need to go out and buy things to enjoy a picnic. This isn’t exactly the case though. Instead of spending money on a picnic basket and blanket, you can easily use items that you already have. For instance, instead of taking a blanket, you might want to take a hot/cold bag. This will help to keep the food at the perfect temperature for your meal. It is also perfect for drinks, desserts and more. Plus, these bags zip, so you won’t have to worry about wind catching your items or bugs getting into them when you’re playing games or enjoying other activities. A picnic blanket is of no use either. Instead, just grab a blanket from home. This will probably offer a much softer option too. Plus, all you have to do is toss it in the washer and you’re good to go.

6. Think About Shade
One of the key elements of a comfortable picnic is staying cool. This might be tough to do in most areas in August, so you’ll have to take some extra precautions. For instance, you’ll need to look for shade as soon as you get to your destination. If you can find tables beneath an awning or a shady tree, then you’ve most likely found the prime spot for your picnic. However, if you know you’re going to be going somewhere that doesn’t have any shade then you might consider bringing your own to the table. For instance, you can use a large umbrella or bring a tent to help keep the space cool.

7. Consider Games
Picnics might be a bust if all you plan on doing is eating. So, instead of just packing food, you might pack some games too. If you’re trying to keep things simple, then slip a pack of cards into your picnic bag and play a few rounds of age-appropriate cards. Another option is to bring a ball along, which will open up a multitude of different games that the whole family can enjoy. If you’re not sure how to make the task fun then look online for ideas, as there are more than you probably thought possible.

8. Protect Your Skin
There’s one thing about picnics that can really ruin everything and might even cost you some money in the long run. That is the elements. It is important to protect your skin when you spend long periods of time outdoors. This means you should wear clothes that will help block UV rays if you have them. Sunscreen is also a must when you go out. A day without sunscreen can cost you a hospital visit as well as many problems in the future. The sun isn’t your only issue though. You should also bring bug spray along for the ride, as you’re definitely going to be hit with mosquitos and other pests as you try to eat. By protecting your skin, you’ll be able to enjoy your time at the picnic more without dealing with aftereffects.

9. Skip Plastics
Another aspect of picnics that can add to the price tag and the frustration is plastics. You can find plastics in more than just drinks too, so try to avoid them as much as you possibly can. One of the easiest ways to do this is to avoid wrapping your foods in plastic wrap. Instead, wrap items in a napkin. This will ensure everyone has a napkin and will save on the number of things you have to throw away. You should also pack foods in reusable packaging where you can. If you don’t want to cook, try to avoid foods that are covered in plastic as this can force you to spend too much on the items you serve and will leave you with lots of garbage that could end up harming animals.

10. Make it a Potluck
Picnics don’t have to be small either. Instead of keeping your picnic private, you might want to ask others to join in on the fun. Simply have everyone bring a dish that they can share and the party should be exciting. This is a great way to try new foods, meet new people and learn how to play exciting games. Potlucks are great too because it means no one is really burdened by the cost of the event. All you have to do is show up with the food or drink that you promised to and you’re in store for some fun.

National Picnic Month is a great time to enjoy the last days of summer. They can also bring a touch of nostalgia to your day, which will make you want to enjoy them more often. No matter how or why you picnic, these ten tips will help you keep the event cleaner, frugal and more fun. So, don’t let the month pass you by, as you might miss out on some good old-fashioned fun before school begins.

Ten Breakfast Ideas to Make the School Mornings As Pleasant as Possible

Let’s face it, getting a groove when it comes to early mornings can be hard in the first few weeks of school. No one really wants to be up that early and breakfast seems to be the last thing on everyone’s mind. However, breakfast is incredibly important for young minds, as going to school on an empty stomach can cut back on learning and the joy of being at school. Luckily, there are a few tricks that you can enjoy in order to make your mornings smoother without forcing anyone to go without breakfast. These ten ideas are healthy, tasty and will make leaving in a hurry possible. So, up your breakfast game and keep your budget frugal with these easy ideas.

1. Oatmeal
Oatmeal has been a classic choice for breakfast for some time now. However, actually cooking it on the stove top might leave you short on time. You can always cut corners with the premade packages, but these tend to be packed with sugar and unnecessary ingredients. Luckily, there is a way to make oatmeal that can help save you a lot of time. The first way is to use your crock pot. Before you head to bed, add the ingredients you want and place it on low. When you wake up in the morning, you’ll have a piping hot meal for everyone. You can even save the leftovers by freezing them and microwaving them when you need another meal. The second way is to embrace overnight oats. This just requires you to add the ingredients to a jar and then place it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, microwave the contents and you have a hearty breakfast. You can even make individual options to suit everyone’s taste buds.

2. Frozen Burritos
Without a doubt, frozen burritos are a great option when it comes to easy meals on the go. This dish can be made in so many fun and innovative ways too, so you can mix things up or cater to specific tastes. Best of all, the ingredients for burritos are extremely affordable and can even be purchased in bulk so you can make even more burritos. Best of all, these items are so easy to freeze and reheat that you’ll feel like they’re your favorite part of meal prepping. You might try classic combos like eggs and cheese or bacon and eggs, but you can also spice it up with vegetables for family members that might be more adventurous. This dish can be eaten on the go too, so it makes the perfect options for days when you’re running late.

3. Yogurt Bark
Kids that have a bit of a sweet tooth won’t be able to resist pigging out on yogurt bark. This healthy dish can be eaten on the go and is perfect for the first and last weeks of school due to the hot weather. All you need to make yogurt bark is yogurt, honey and toppings of choice. Some of the best items to add to the mix are nuts, fruits and granola. You can even add oats as a filler. Once you’ve mixed everything up, spread it thin on a cookie sheet and freeze it. After the mixture is frozen, you can break it up and store it in the freezer. This bark also makes a great after school snack, so it definitely won’t go t waste.

4. Breakfast Sandwiches
Sandwiches are another easy item to throw together in a hurry and eat on the go. Much like burritos, these items can also be frozen and eaten whenever the mood arises. Best of all, you can make a wide assortment of options. For instance, you can use regular toast, croissants, English muffins and anything else that strikes your fancy. Breads can be filled with eggs, meats, cheeses, vegetables and more. You can even offer sweet option by using waffles as bread and stuffing them with jams, fruits and so on. This gives everyone a bit of variety to work with, which will definitely keep mornings fresh and exciting. Plus, these dishes won’t cost a lot to make, so the only thing you’ll have to invest in is your meal prepping time.

5. Egg Muffins
Another simple option that is healthy is egg muffins. All you’ll need to make this easy breakfast is a muffin tin, eggs and anything else you want to add in. All you have to do is scramble up the eggs and then add in everything that you want to mixture. You can also make a wide variety of options to suit individual tastes, which makes this a hit with most families. You can even substitute eggs for egg whites for those looking for a healthier option. Once you have the mixture ready to go, pour it into the tin and then let it bake. These muffins can be frozen and reheated later too, so you can use them to stock your freezer for easy meals on busy days.

6. Breakfast Casserole
Breakfast casserole is another amazing way to feed the whole family with very little effort. All you have to do to make this wonderful dish is turn the crock pot to low and add all of your favorite ingredients. Egg is the most common item and it acts as an excellent binder. You can use meats, cheese, vegetables, and so much more to make the dish amazing. One of the bet things about casserole is you can use items that you need to get rid of too, so you won’t have to deal with food spoiling. Also, you can slice up the casserole and freeze what isn’t eaten.

7. Cinnamon Rolls
Cinnamon rolls will definitely help to make a morning fantastic. So, you might want to consider adding this dish to the mix on test days or days your child might be dreading, like the first day of school. This dish does take a bit more time to prep as you must mix and prep the dish. However, you can do this in bulk and freeze the dough so its easy to pull out and pop in the oven. If you prebake the rolls then you can always pull them out of the freezer and simply microwave them to get things started.

8. Breakfast Bars
Breakfast bars can be an incredibly healthy snack that is packed with lots of energy. You can do so much with breakfast bars that you might not run out of options for years. One of the easiest ways to make breakfast bars is to mix cereal with a binder. These aren’t the healthiest bars though, so you might look for alternative ideas. Another option is to make your own granola bars. There are lots of recipes online to choose from, which can definitely help you find a match for the whole family. You can also make protein bars with egg whites, dates and other healthy ingredients. The internet will definitely help guide you to try new things when it comes to this dish, so have fun with it. Kids will love the portable foods and might even want them as a snack too.

9. Homemade Pop Tarts
There’s no doubt about it, kids love pop tarts. However, the stuff you buy in stores is incredibly unhealthy. So, you might consider whipping up your own batch of pop tarts. This is actually much easier than you think as all you have to do is learn how to make the pastry dough then fill it with fruits, peanut butter or jams. You can make your own filling too, which will definitely cut back on sugar. Once you have your pot tarts stuffed, pop them in the oven and enjoy the delicious smell. These treats can be frozen and eaten as a cool treat, or you can cook them in the toaste for a meal that is easy to eat on the go.

10. Rollups
If you have a few minutes in the morning, then you might consider making some rollups. This dish is very simple as all you need is a tortilla and then whatever else you choose to place inside of it. You can use eggs, cheese and veggies or keep it sweet with peanut butter and bananas or strawberries and cream cheese. If you don’t have tortillas in the home, then you can flatten out regular bread and use it in replace of the tortilla. Rollups won’t keep as well as the other foods in the freezer, so it might be a meal that you make when you do have some time to concentrate on breakfast. All the same, it is still a cheap and irresistible option that you’ll love.

Making breakfast for the family doesn’t have to be a hassle when school begins again. These ten options won’t take you long to make and will make delicious and healthy foods that can be eaten on the go. With any luck, breakfast will soon become the joy of your family, which might make your life a lot easier.

Easy Ways To Make Your Kids Craft Supplies Last Longer

Crafting is one of the easiest ways to help your toddler learn a wide assortment of things. However, the creativity of toddlers can get out of hand at times and might even cause a bit of a disaster zone. More often than not, supplies are broken, used up quickly or lost. This can really add up if you’re continuously working to replace the items your toddler loves to use the most. Luckily, there are a few ways to get even more out of your craft supplies, even when you think they might be long gone. These tips will help cut back on how much you spend on arts and crafts while empowering you to handle craft problems without throwing out an abundance of supplies.

1. Melt Crayons
Crayons are one of the most commonly replaced items in a toddler’s craft set. These items are way too easy to lose, but they’re also fun to snap. On top of that, if they’re stepped on, washed or left outside then chances are they aren’t usable. Often, kids will also collect a big box of crayons that can hardly be gripped because they are so small. This can truly be a pain in the neck, especially when you’re working on motor skills. Instead of tossing out broken crayons, you might consider melting them into one larger piece. You can gather similar colors and then place them in a mold. You bake the crayons or even place them in the microwave. Then, let the mixture sit and dry and your child will have crayons in fun shapes that can’t be beaten. You might also find that mixing crayons in one mixture can also be a lot of fun.

2. Dried Markers
Dried markers are also a common occurrence. Most toddlers don’t think twice about putting the lid on their markers and when they do they might not put it on all of the ways. Instead of just tossing out markers that aren’t doing the trick anymore, you might consider soaking them in water that has a touch of vinegar mixed into it. The same can be done with a little rubbing alcohol. If this doesn’t work then you might inject the marker with water and see if that helps. If nothing works then don’t toss the markers out, instead recycle them with Crayola, even if they aren’t from the same brand.

3. Revive Play Doh
Play-Doh is another pesky culprit when it comes to sucking away money. This craft object always seems to dry out, which means it needs to go right into the trash in most cases. However, this isn’t quite the case as you can actually rehydrate your Play Doh. All you have to do is add some water to the dried-out play-doh and massage the water into the dough. Soon, it will have its original moistness, which will make it easy for kids to play with. Another option is to add dough to a zip lock back with a moist paper towel overnight. In the morning, kids should be able to play with the dough as if it were brand new. Of course, you can use these methods with more than just the brands, as it will help rehydrate homemade dough too.

4. Make Your Own Watercolor
Watercolors tend to dry out very quickly too, especially when a toddler is using them. So, you might consider making your own instead of continuously buying them. Making watercolors isn’t an intimidating task either. All you have to do is find something that will add some color to the water. One of your best options is to use old markers. All you have to do is place them in a jar of water overnight and you should have a wide variety of watercolors to work with the following morning. The more colors you make the longer they will last, which will save you a lot of shopping trips and quite a bit of money. There are many other ways to make watercolors too, so search around and find the method that works for you.

5. Coloring Sheets
A new coloring book can mean the world to a child. However, it isn’t uncommon for the entire book to be colored in within a few minutes of purchase. Instead of spending money on new coloring books constantly, try to preserve your child’s favorite options. You can easily scan the book and store it for later use on your computer or simply copy and print each page that your child wants to do. This will keep the book color free, so children can color their favorite images over and over again. To save money, you can even print on both sides of the paper.

6. Repair Brushes
When kids are just starting to gain motor skills, they might not be gentle with brushes. This can cause a problem if you don’t want to keep purchasing new brushes every few days. So, you might want to invest the time in learning how to repair the brushes. It actually isn’t an intimidating experience. All you have to do is remove all of the paint from the brush which can be accomplished with turpentine or boiling water. Once you’ve removed all of the debris rub the brush in an upward motion with a towel. You will then be able to see the bristles that have been pulled or broken. From there, cut the strays and put the brush back in its original cover to help recreate its shape.

7. Save Paper Scraps
Paper scraps are bound to happen when kids are learning to cut. Kids might even go through a ripping stage, which can leave a lot of scraps lying around the house too. Instead of just tossing these items out, you might want to save them for mosaics or other projects. Kids will love making new images out of paper, which can be a great lesson for them and will help with imagination and motor functions. You can also use them to create paper beads and other fun crafts. Kids can have so much fun with scraps that you’d actually be surprised what they can come up with when using them.

8. Restore Glue
Glue can also be a major problem since kids tend to not want to put lids on items. Even if you find dried up glue, you won’t have to just toss it out. Classic glue in a container can be dropped into hot water. After sitting in the heat for a while, the glue will be restored to its normal sticky state, so kids can go back to helping out with craft time. Glue sticks are another story though. For glue sticks, you’ll need to place the stick without its cap in a ziplock bag with a moist paper towel. After at least eight hours of sitting in the moisture, your glue stick will be ready to go. This can be accomplished as often as necessary too, so you won’t have to stress about missing lids and other common problems.

9. Stick with Stamps
Stickers will make a toddler happy. That is, for about five minutes and then the stickers you just purchased are placed wherever your toddler can reach. As you know, removing some stickers from hard surfaces can be a huge pain and might even end up fruitless. Plus, most toddlers end up getting upset when they find out the stick is gone. So, you might want to swap to stamps instead. You can purchase stamps and ink at a very low price. You can also make your own stamps to suit your child’s needs. Stamps can be used again and again too, so your toddler won’t be upset when their favorite image is gone, as it won’t even be a concern.

10. Use Recyclables
You don’t really have to spend an abundance on crafting supplies when you have a little one at home. Instead, you might consider using recyclables that you have around the home. For instance, toilet paper and paper towel rolls can be used for so many crafts that it’s not even funny. Another great option is to use noodles which can be used for pictures, jewelry, and instruments. Of course, this is only the beginning of the crafts you can make. If you’re low on ideas, then search around for recyclable crafts to see what you can find.

Crafting with children is an important way to help them grow and learn. However, crafting supplies can really cost a bundle during these years. So, it might help to keep this list in mind, so you can keep the items you already have for a lot longer. This will not only save you money but will reduce your carbon footprint and teach kids the joys of recycling.

Cheap Security Systems to Keep Your Family Safe

With summer vacation in full swing and the holidays rapidly approaching, you might find yourself wondering if your home is going to be safe and sound during these high crime times. If you don’t have a security system in place and want one, then you have a lot of options to mull over. However, if the price is a priority, you might find yourself grasping at straws to find a good match for you. Luckily, there are many options to choose from that won’t leave your home unprotected while you’re away. These ten options will certainly help you factor in your budget as well as your peace of mind, which will truly make life better.

1. Ring
The Ring has been buzzed about over the past year quite a bit. The system starts out with a secure doorbell, which offers a camera and speaker so you can talk with whoever is at the door without actually having to open your door. Best of all, the doorbell hooks to an app, so you don’t even have to be at home to answer the door or monitor it. If you have a Samsung smart home, then the Ring will connect to your products to make it even more efficient. The doorbell isn’t the only thing to purchase though. You can find flood lighting, motion sensors, cameras and a whole security system. This set is easy to build as you go, but also features bulk discounts. You can even find a payment plan to help you out if you can’t afford everything upfront. Best of all, the monitoring price for this system is only $10 a month, which is basically your typical weekday lunch at a bistro. Finally, you install everything yourself, so there aren’t hidden fees to deal with.

2. Adobe
Adobe home security, not to be confused with the software, is another install it yourself company that can save you big time. Plans for the security service start at $8 a month, which is next to nothing when compared with other companies. Best of all, you can purchase the items you need instead of having to deal with bundles. Each individual item is priced fairly, which will allow you to shop as you can, so you don’t stretch your budget too far. This company even offers signs, some of which are lit with solar power, to add even more security. If you do wish to bundle shop, you’ll find some great deals that will help you feel more secure from the very beginning.

3. Nest
The Nest is actually very similar to Ring only is powered by Google. You will find home security devices, a convenient doorbell, indoor and outdoor cameras as well as a smart thermostat. These products work together to offer you the peace of mind you need whenever you’re home or away. The devices connect with anything that is compatible with Google, which includes major brands like Sony, LG and Toshiba. Nest can be installed on its own too, but if you’re having trouble then you can pay for a professional to do the job for you. The only setback for Nest is the fact that they don’t offer their own monitoring. You can go through Brinks for this service, which means paying their fees and adhering to contracts.

4. Vivint Home Security
Vivint Home Security has become one of the leading names in the security business over the past few years. This is largely because the company makes it incredibly simple to get your home secured in next to no time at all. The company will also offer maintenance on your security items. Plus, you will get a sign for your yard, which will add even more security to your space. However, you do have to choose to have a contract with them. This means working with their bundle options for your home, which might not offer the right materials for you. The cost monthly can be low though, so it might be a good option if you’re okay with long term contracts.

5. SimpliSafe
If you’re looking for a company that can actually do it all, then SimpliSafe might be one of the best options. This company will give you a personalized bundle based on the description of your home and your needs. The security items can even be installed yourself, so you don’t have to worry about paying any extra. Although you do have to pay monthly for the service, about $14.99, you can end the service or pick it back up whenever you please. This service offers fast dispatching and 24/7 monitoring to suit your safety. It also alerts you when there is a fire, flooding and so much more. This service can be used with your Alexa too, which will add even more convenience. There is also an option for a duress pin, which can dispatch assistance to you in no time. The company also offers free shipping and returns as well as a 60-day money back guarantee if you are not satisfied.

6. ADT
ADT is one of the most trusted names in home security. It has been around for 140 years, so you know they must be doing something right when it comes to protecting the homes of its customers. This company doesn’t offer a simple plan that covers a wide range of customers. Instead, you’ll have to call in or look online to see a quote based on your home and your personal needs. The company also requires a contract, so you will be stuck with the service for a few years. However, there is a 6-month money back guarantee, so you can try it out to see if it will work for you. Plus, the company will pay up to $500 of your insurance deductible if a break in does happen while your home is protected by the company.

7. Brinks
Chances are, you’ve heard of this company fairly often. Brinks offers security for a wide variety of things, including moving money from stores to the bank, airport security and, of course, security for your home. It was also ranked the number one home security system just last year. This service will provide you with everything you need to monitor and protect your home from anywhere in the world. Of course, since the company is more popular and highly ranked, you are going to pay a bit more for the service. This isn’t entirely bad though, because you will know you’re going to get what you pay for. However, monthly prices for the equipment won’t run you over $20 a month, so if you don’t want to pay upfront then you won’t have to ruin your monthly budget either. Obviously, this service will cause you to stretch a bit further than some of the others, but if you’re looking for reputable coverage then this is the way to go.

8. Scout
Scout home security has been skyrocketing in popularity. This system allows you to build your own bundle, so you can choose the items that are right for you. You can also be walked through the process by a professional to ensure you will have the system you need to totally feel comfortable when you’re away from your home. You can also add new items to your security hub as needed. The company offers month to month plans as well, which will allow you to use the service whenever you need and put it on hold if you’re having trouble budgeting. You can also choose a self-monitor method as well as a police supervision method, to ensure you get the coverage you need.

9. Front Point
Front Point also has high ratings that can help you feel more at ease with your home. You can start your service out with a discount on supplies thanks to many of the offers the company provides for new customers. This service also allows you to not only protect a home you own but is perfect for anyone in an apartment hoping to find some much needed security. The plans for this company start at $99, but you will have to put in your information to receive a free quote for your own personal needs. You will also have a contract with the company, but it won’t last as long as other companies on this list.

10. DIY it all
Of course, if you really are on a tight budget, then it can’t hurt to DIY all of it. If you’re going for as cheap as possible, you can purchase faux cameras and signs claiming to be using a security system. This will help give the illusion that you’re covered at all times. This obviously won’t give you the same protection as an actual system, but it can help detour criminals from stopping by your home. Other than that, you might keep an eye out for clearance cameras to help set up a secure basis for the home. You can also look for more efficient locks, a digital doorbell and so forth. These materials can be bought as you gain the money, which will certainly make it easier to keep your home protected without throwing your budget to the wind.

Protecting your home doesn’t have to stress you out in the long fun. Instead, it can be an exhilarating experience that leaves you more at peace with your home. These ten options will allow you to shop around for the best plans for you, so you can feel safe and sound while keeping money in the bank.

Ten DIY Pool Games That Will Help Complete Your Summer Fun

August is one of the hottest months of the year, which is why preparing to spend most of your time in the pool can be very important. However, just splashing around in the pool can get a little boring if kids are doing it day in and day out. If you’re trying to spice things up during pool time, then your first response might be to spend money on the issue. However, there are several pool games you can try out if you hope to have some fun during the hot season. These games will cost you next to nothing to try out, so you can easily find the perfect combination to suit your entire family. This will definitely save you time, money, and frustration.

1. Dodge Ball
Dodge ball is a timeless game that can entertain for hours on end. However, when it comes to playing dodge in the pool, you have to be careful what kind of items you use for the game. Some balls, for instance, might hurt more in the water, which will leave the game causing more frustration than its worth. If you can find foam balls that don’t absorb water, then you’re on your way to a good start. However, one of the cheapest ways to play this game while having lots of fun is to use sponge balls. These can be made with strips of sponge fastened together with a rubber band or other item. The balls will soak up water so kids will get even more soaked as they play. Plus, the shape of the sponge will make it easier to grip for younger children.

2. Rafting
If you have a larger pool or you plan on visiting a lake, then making a raft might be a fun way to pass the time. There are numerous ways to build your own raft too, which will definitely keep things easier. One of the easiest ways to make a raft is to use pool noodles and string. However, if your children are older then they can easily come up with their own way to make a raft to add to the challenge. Then, you can compete in several ways. First, you can see which raft floats the best, then you can enjoy an old-fashioned raft race. Of course, you can also use the raft just to kick back and relax when you do grow tired of swimming.

3. Sail Boat Racing
Another fun way to race is via sailboats. The whole family can make sailboats out of a wide variety of supplies, which will make this activity frugal and will teach children just how to upcycle the items they find in the home. One of the easiest routes to take is using a cork, toothpick, and paper. However, you can go all out with bottles, wood and so much more. Once everyone has built their own sailboat, you can let everyone hit the water to see which boat is fastest, most durable and so on. This will add hours of fun and will help children learn a touch of engineering without them even realizing it.

4. Water Scrabble
It’s easy for spelling and vocabulary skills to slip through the cracks during summer break. That is why water scrabble is the perfect way to keep things going. Simply cut up a pool noodle, use old wood, buy bulk sponges and so on to work with. When you choose your material, merely write letters on it and flip it over. Kids can choose letters, spell out words and swim at the same time. Younger children can simply use the letter to find the alphabet. Of course, you can also follow this method for dominoes, memory and many other games that you’d typically play inside the home.

5. Pool Hoops
Hoops are a fairly simple way to enjoy many games in one. These hoops are easy to make too as all you really need is some pool noodles and something to fasten them down with. Once the hoops are made, kids can do all sorts of things with them. For starters, they can use them for relay races or simply jump through them. The hoops can also be used for basketball and other sports that might be played in the pool. You may even use them for synchronized swim routines. These hoops can be easily stored or dismantled too, which will add to the appeal.

6. Pool Tennis
There are a lot of great sports that you can bring to the pool. However, pool tennis can really add to the fun. All you need for this amazing game is a net, some string, pool noodles, and a ball. You can transform the pool noodles and string into a tennis racquet that is easy for all ages to enjoy. You can even set up your own rules for kids, which should help maintain interest in the game. Of course, tennis isn’t the only game you can enjoy with your pool noodle racquets. You can also play a game of badminton in the pool. Since you’ll have a net to work with, you can also add volleyball to the mix. However, if you choose not to use a net, you can still easily set up boundaries in the pool which might make the game even more challenging.

7. Marco Polo
Marco Polo is probably one of the most timeless pool games. Thus, you might introduce your kids to the game in order to kill some time. Obviously, a game like this might not be fun for hours on end every day, which is why you might throw in your own rules to mix things up. For instance, you might make the rule that everyone has to use cartoon voices whenever they speak. Another fun idea is to have the person answer back in bubbles, which will require even keener listening skills. If you’re looking to build logic skills, kids can also give directions to their location using special codes that the players will have to figure out with their eyes closed. The game can be totally based on ages, interest and more. It can also be a great way to kill a few minutes before starting another game. Best of all, this game won’t cost a cent, so you can save lots of money playing it.

8. Ball Balance
If your kids love a bit of a physical challenge, then you can easily bring in the balance game. You can use an average-sized ball or other inflatable material for the task. All you have to do is push the ball under the water, then hold it down as someone sits on it. When the person is ready, let the ball go and watch as they try to stay afloat. If your children love rodeos, then you might refer to the game as bull riding or use as an item that resembles a bull or horse. You might also do this activity in the center of the pool for safety. The challenge will truly intrigue children, which will keep them busy for hours on end.

9. Coin Toss
Another classic way to keep kids busy is to toss some items in the pool and have them retrieve them. One of the most common items to use is coins, but if you don’t keep change around then there are many other things you can try out. One option is to visit a craft or pet shop and pick up colorful stones for fish tanks. You can even come up with a point system for a variety of colors, which will allow kids to compete. If you don’t want to spend money on the game, then use some of the kids heavier toys. This is especially great if the kids have die-cast figures, as they will sink straight to the bottom. If you want to get really tricky, then fill a plastic bottle with no labels with water. The item will be hard to spot, which will make it a great item for higher points.

10. Noodle Jousting
Another fun way to keep kids busy is to bring in the jousting. This game is best performed with multiple adults present so that you can monitor the safety of the situation. The game is a lot like chicken, only you use pool noodles to defeat the opponent. The children will need to get on the shoulders of an adult with a pool noodle in hand. Then, they will try to knock over their opponent with the noodle. The game isn’t great for younger children but can be a lot of fun for everyone else as long as safety is monitored. If younger children want to join in on the fun, then you might consider turning the game into a tug of war using the pool noodle.

Pool games can be one of the best ways to make summer days bearable. These ten ideas won’t cost you a fortune and can easily be customized to suit your family’s interests. With any luck, you’ll find that the games will keep you going throughout summer break and into the cooler days of autumn. This should help slash your entertainment budget while keeping the whole family active.