toys http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/5049/all en-US How to Use New Toys to Teach Kids About Money http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000045194140_Large.jpg" alt="kids can use new toys to learn about money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Last year, my daughter asked for a hamster, and I hatched a nefarious plan. Since I really didn't need another animal in the house, I told her she'd have to pay for it herself, hoping that this would lead her to drop the topic.</p> <p>We went to the pet store and looked at the hamsters, which (to my dismay) only cost a few dollars. Then we priced cages, food, bedding, chew toys, and a hamster wheel. Once we calculated it all, she understood that a hamster costs a lot more than the price of the rodent itself.</p> <p>Instead of giving up like I'd expected (and hoped!), she saved $75 over the next several months, and proudly brought home her new pet, along with all his little hamster accessories, and several months' worth of bedding and food.</p> <p>When my daughter proved me wrong, I realized that we often underestimate kids' capacity for understanding how money works. Here are more ways to harness children's wants to help them learn financial lessons that will last much longer than any toy (or hamster). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-bad-money-habits-youre-teaching-your-kids?ref=seealso">4 Bad Money Habits You're Teaching Your Kids</a>)</p> <h2>Don't Shy Away From Discussing Cost</h2> <p>You and your child are in the toy store, and they ask for a new Lego set. Don't just say, &quot;It's too expensive.&quot; Whether you are willing to buy it or not, have the child check the price of the item. Discuss how much time you would have to work to purchase that toy, and what other things you could pay for instead with that amount of money.</p> <h2>Let Them Earn to Learn</h2> <p>Your six-year-old probably won't find a lot of job opportunities on Monster.com, so his pay is probably going to come from you. Whether you choose to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-set-an-allowance-that-wont-ruin-your-kid">pay your child an allowance</a> that is inedependent of chores or jobs they do at home, the important thing is that they get a little cash of their own, so they begin to learn that spending $1 on gum means they no longer have a dollar to put toward a yo-yo.</p> <h2>Let Them Buy Stupid Toys</h2> <p>One of the most agonizing experiences of my life was following my daughters around Chicago's huge American Girl Store, watching them try to decide how to spend a little money I had given them. My older daughter bought something sensible, a folding seat that would allow her to strap her doll to her carryon luggage. My younger daughter wanted a hair-styling set, which included sponge curlers, curling papers, and a plastic spray bottle. It killed me to watch her lay down $20 for a box of small items that would have cost $1 elsewhere, knowing they would soon be scattered all over her bedroom floor.</p> <p>But I let her do it. Just as I expected, she played with the new set for about one day, but I spent years finding the curlers and papers in odd places around the house. Now, a few years later, this daughter does put a litte more thought into how long her toy purchases might last, so &mdash; even though I am still finding those curlers &mdash; it was worth it.</p> <h2>Show Them How to Get More for Their Money</h2> <p>If your child is saving for a specific toy, introduce them to ways they can get there faster, such as using <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-great-teachable-money-moments-to-share-with-your-kids">coupons and sales</a>. Personally, I usually have my kids save enough to cover the full price, then if I have a coupon, I show it to them just before the purchase, and give them back the cash that the coupon saved. Getting cash back in their hands seems to make a big impact.</p> <h2>Practice at Yard Sales</h2> <p>Even if my kids don't have any of their own money on them, I am known to hand them each a dollar or two when we come across a garage sale, because the situation is rife with learning opportunities. It's great practice conducting sales transactions; kids often have to politely ask how much things cost. It's a safe place to make mistakes, because no matter how useless a toy they purchase might be, chances are they only blew a few bucks.</p> <p>And yard sales, of course, offer true bargains. My son recently purchased a toy space shuttle at a block sale using one week's allowance; he would have had to save for months to buy the same toy new. My 12-year-old is getting so confident shopping yard sales that she will actually negotiate with the seller.</p> <h2>Let Them Sell Their Own Used Toys</h2> <p>This tactic takes some supervision, because unfortunately, kids can seriously undervalue gifts adults have purchased for them. I cringed when my son wanted to sell a remote-control dinosaur that he had received for Christmas at our yard sale, where it might have fetched just $5 (it had cost his grandparents about $100).</p> <p>But with a little price research and some talk about the feelings of gifters, kids can resell toys and use the money for something new. Not only is this a way for them to fund their own purchases, it shows them how quickly most new items lose value.</p> <h2>Let Them Choose Gifts for Friends and Charities</h2> <p>Every time my kids are invited to a birthday party, I turn them loose in the toy shop or bookstore with instructions to choose any combination of items that totals $20 to $25. They've learned to check price tags and weigh the benefits of choosing two or three small items versus one big thing.</p> <p>At the holidays, my kids have conducted fundraisers with their service groups to buy gifts for local foster children. First, they raise the money via a bake sale or other fundraiser, then they use the earnings to buy gifts, using everything they've learned about maximizing their money to do the best they can for the kids they're helping.</p> <p><em>How do you teach your kids about money? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-season-give-your-child-the-gift-of-fiscal-responsibility">This Season, Give Your Child the Gift of Fiscal Responsibility</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big">7 Unexpected Ways Stay-at-Home Parents Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-bad-money-habits-youre-teaching-your-kids">4 Bad Money Habits You&#039;re Teaching Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-on-kids-activities">How to Save Money on Kids&#039; Activities</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-smart-ways-to-save-on-fathers-day">3 Smart Ways to Save on Father&#039;s Day</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Family Shopping kids money money lessons money lessons for kids new toys saving money toys Mon, 06 Jun 2016 09:30:25 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1723704 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Collectibles That Almost Always Become More Valuable http://www.wisebread.com/10-collectibles-that-almost-always-become-more-valuable <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-collectibles-that-almost-always-become-more-valuable" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kid_toy_cars_000060605080.jpg" alt="Kid learning which collectibles always rise in value" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Shows like <em>Pawn Stars</em>, <em>Antiques Road Show</em>, and <em>American Pickers</em> are popular because we all love to think we may have something valuable hiding in the basement or garage. Well, it's not just antique firearms, gold coins, and old paintings that rise in value. Here are 10 collectibles that you should be looking out for. They could easily make you a profit today, or some day in the future.</p> <h2>1. Sneakers</h2> <p>You may not know about the collectability of sneakers, but there is a <em>massive </em>resale market for them. In fact, people are trading sneakers much like they trade stocks, and values will only go up as time passes. Of course, not every sneaker is going to be a collectible. The ones you want to look out for are limited edition styles, most of them made by Nike. For instance, a brand new pair of original 1985 <a href="http://footwearnews.com/2015/focus/athletic-outdoor/sneakers-highest-resell-value-ebay-brand-jordan-nike-43593/">Nike Jordan 1 OG Bred</a> cost just $65. Today, they are worth&hellip;$2,715! Every week, people will stand in line for hours, or even overnight, to grab a pair of Nike or Adidas sneakers, and can literally double or triple their money in seconds. But hold onto them, and the price will soar. Even gently used sneakers can earn big money.</p> <h2>2. Comic Books</h2> <p>There are scores of websites dedicated to the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-everyday-things-that-are-surprisingly-awesome-investments" target="_blank">buying and selling of comic books</a>. Some people invest in them in the same way they buy art, or even land. Of course, the vintage comic books in pristine condition will always be worth the most; Action Comics #1, published in 1938, sold for almost $1.4 million. However, don't think that old comics are the only ones worth collecting. A mint condition copy of <a href="http://www.sellmycomicbooks.com/most-valuable-comic-books-modern-age.html">The Walking Dead #1</a>, published in 2003, can fetch you $11,000! When buying comics, even new releases, look for collectability. A #1 of anything will always be worth a lot. The first time a character is featured or introduced, that will also bag you more money. And if you see printing errors, grab it!</p> <h2>3. Board Games</h2> <p>Next time you see a stack of board games at Goodwill, or a garage sale, take a closer look. Some of them could be worth a small fortune. And, they don't have to be all that old, either. For instance, a board game called <a href="http://geekandsundry.com/ten-rare-board-games-to-snap-up-the-second-you-can/">Star Wars: The Queen's Gambit</a> is currently changing hands for between $300&ndash;$1,000, depending on condition. Most of the time, the board games that rise, and rise, are the ones that are either limited edition, or based on a cult TV show, movie, or even an amusement park ride. Another big seller is Disney's Haunted Mansion, released between 1972 and 1975. It will net you a cool $250 if you find one, and will be an investment if you hang onto it. Many current board games will also rise, too. Just keep them sealed, and in a safe place.</p> <h2>4. Not-So-Vintage Books</h2> <p>If you're a big reader, it's possible you have some hidden treasures on your bookshelf. Vintage books, especially first printings, can be very valuable. But they don't have to 18th or 19th century to be valuable. The Pulitzer Prize-winning novel <a href="http://bottomlinepersonal.com/hidden-treasures-on-your-bookshelf/">A Confederacy of Dunces</a>, by John Kennedy Toole, is one such example. First published in 1980, at a small run of only 2,500 copies, this original printing will currently bag you up to $4,000.</p> <h2>5. Video Games</h2> <p>Sadly, your typical Xbox One or PS4 game is not going to rise in value. Quite the opposite, in fact. But many video games from the 80s and 90s continue to be worth more and more. And this is not chump change, either. <em>Stadium Events</em>, by Bandai, was released in 1987. But it was pulled shortly after, and destroyed for marketing reasons. However, 200 had been sold. If you ever find one, it can be worth over $40,000! The box alone is worth $10,000. Games from the 90s that are rising in value include <em>Super Copa</em>, and <em>Nintendo Campus Challenge</em>.</p> <h2>6. Hot Wheels Vehicles</h2> <p>Like anything else on this list, but especially with toys, the condition and rarity is a factor. No one is going to give you heaps of dough for a beat up Hot Wheels car that everyone owns. BUT, if you keep them in the package (which is tough for kids to do), and hold onto them, you'll see a nice return on your money. If you're really lucky, your Hot Wheels car can be worth more than an actual car. Take this pink Volkswagen 1969 Rear-Load Beach Bomb &mdash; <a href="http://www.aol.com/article/2015/04/03/pawn-stars-see-a-hot-wheels-car-worth-more-than-a-porsche/21161028/">valued at $100,000</a>!</p> <h2>7. Maps</h2> <p>You already know why these will become valuable. As technology has advanced, and become fairly cheap, GPS maps are everywhere. You don't even need an actual GPS unit, like a TomTom or Garmin anymore. Your phone gets you wherever you need to go. So, maps are becoming extinct. And extinct means money. A site called <a href="http://www.oldmaps.com/">Old Maps</a> is a handy research tool that can let you know how valuable the maps you own are. And if they're not all that valuable now, give them 10&ndash;20 years. That foldable map of your city, or an old atlas collecting dust on a shelf, is only going to rise in value.</p> <h2>8. Vinyl Records</h2> <p>Who would have thought that vinyl would make a comeback? When CDs, MiniDiscs, and then MP3s came along, vinyl was suddenly cumbersome and annoying. But purists emphatically stood by LPs, citing their superior sound quality. Now, they're back, and getting more popular all the time. Your old vinyl collection almost certainly has a few gems in it. And new releases will rise in value over the coming years, especially limited edition pressings. Treat your vinyl well. Buy plastic vinyl sleeves to protect the art. Show the kids how to treat your vinyl with respect. It will pay off. Oh, and whatever you use to play that vinyl on, that could very easily become a valuable collectible, too.</p> <h2>9. Postage Stamps</h2> <p>Stamp collecting is something most of us know about, but consider to be something of a nerdy hobby. However, get past the name and you will uncover a world of diverse and beautiful art from around the globe. Stamps can be bought for pennies, and will almost always rise in value as the years go by; especially if they are not cancelled, and you keep them in mint condition. Over 10,000 stamps are issued around the world each year, so collecting every single one would be expensive, and take up lots of space. Focus on specific countries, or themes, and create albums. If you get lucky, you may buy a bag of assorted stamps that contains a million-dollar treasure.</p> <h2>10. Disney and McDonald's Items</h2> <p>There are many franchised collectibles that will rise in value, but these two are the most consistent, and easy to come by. Toys from McDonald's Happy Meals can fetch many thousands of dollars. There are <a href="http://amzn.to/1UCyp5Q">collectibles guides</a> and websites devoted to them, so when you buy a Happy Meal, consider purchasing an extra toy to keep in the bag.</p> <p>And then there's Disney. It's beloved by everyone, and when it releases anything, from toys and stuffed animals, to plates, posters, and jewelry, it has the chance to rise in value meteorically. Pay particular attention to the <a href="http://disneysnowglobescollectorsguide.blogspot.com/">limited edition snow globes</a>. Buy one now, you will be able to sell it for many times the retail price in a few years.</p> <p><em>Have any collections? What are they worth?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-collectibles-that-almost-always-become-more-valuable">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-5-best-thrift-store-finds-of-all-time">My 5 Best Thrift Store Finds of All Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/in-search-of-safety-a-moms-8-step-guide-to-toy-selection-and-everyday-use">In Search of Safety: A Mom&#039;s 8-Step Guide to Toy Selection and Everyday Use</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use New Toys to Teach Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-retailers-where-you-can-negotiate-a-lower-price">11 Retailers Where You Can Negotiate a Lower Price</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-ruin-an-antique-how-to-tell-if-you-should-refinish-wooden-furniture">Don&#039;t Ruin an Antique! How to Tell If You Should Refinish Wooden Furniture</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Shopping antiques collectibles comics records resale value sneakers toys Wed, 30 Mar 2016 10:00:07 +0000 Paul Michael 1679089 at http://www.wisebread.com Is Layaway Still Worth It? http://www.wisebread.com/is-layaway-still-worth-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-layaway-still-worth-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends_happy_shopping_000062183814.jpg" alt="Friends learning what&#039;s so great about layaway" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A shopping payment option that was popular decades ago has made a comeback in recent years, as some customers have shied away from the use of credit cards.</p> <p>The downturn in the economy several years back sent some shoppers looking to layaway as an alternative, especially during the holiday season. Under layaway, shoppers can set an item aside and pay for it over time; they only get to take the item home after it's paid for in full. While many stores phased out layaway in the 1990s, it's made a return at many major retailers including Walmart, Kmart, and Toys R Us.</p> <p>Layaway is often seen as a more responsible way to pay for big-ticket items and for when budgets are tight. But what are the positives and negatives of layaway?</p> <h2>1. PRO: You Don't Need a Credit Card</h2> <p>Some may see this as a downside to layaway, but it is a hugely positive thing for people who are looking to avoid racking up <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tricks-to-consolidating-your-debt-and-saving-money" target="_blank">credit card debt</a>, or otherwise can't or won't use a credit card. By using layaway, you can set an item aside, save for it, then acquire it when you have the cash in full. So you get the item and avoid debt in the process.</p> <h2>2. PRO: You Can Lock in High-Demand Items Early</h2> <p>During the holiday season especially, there are certain items that always fly off the shelves. By putting something on layaway in advance of the holiday season, you can guarantee you'll have it.</p> <h2>3. PRO: Almost Anyone Can Do It</h2> <p>In most cases, you can sign up for layaway without a credit check. All you need is some form of identification to prove you're over 18, and a down payment for the items you want to buy.</p> <h2>4. CON: You Can't Use Layaway for Many Products</h2> <p>Stores make their own determination as to what products are available through layaway. Often, very popular products are restricted, and there are often minimum dollar limits. In this way, layaway is more limiting than credit cards, which can be used to buy almost anything.</p> <h2>5. CON: Fees</h2> <p>By using layaway, you avoid potential interest payments from your credit card, but there are still expenses. Many stores charge $5 or more just to sign a layaway contract, and you may have to pay $10 or more if you change your mind and decide not to buy the item. You may also incur additional fees if you don't make payments in a timely fashion.</p> <h2>6. CON: It's Not Offered All the Time</h2> <p>Last year, Walmart only offered layaway from August 28 to December 14, to service the holiday shopping season. Other stores offer it during the holidays and the spring, but not year round.</p> <h2>7. CON: There Are Payment Terms</h2> <p>Layaway isn't quite as simple as setting aside an item and getting it when you pay for it in full. Most stores still expect you to make payments according to a schedule. Kmart, for instance, offers only eight or 12-week contracts and requires payments every two weeks. Toys R Us offers only 90-day contracts, with 40% of the total price of an item due within 30 days and 70% of the item paid for within 60 days.</p> <h2>8. PRO or CON: You're Locked Into the Price</h2> <p>If you put an item on layaway and the price drops, you can't change the terms of the layaway contract to pay less. The only way around it is to cancel the purchase &mdash; mostly likely incurring a fee in the process &mdash; and buy the item elsewhere. On the flipside, you can lock in a price on layaway if you believe a product may shoot up in price at some point.</p> <p><em>Have you ever purchased on layaway?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-layaway-still-worth-it">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-year-s-hot-toy-is-next-year-s-trash">This Year’s Hot Toy is Next Year’s Trash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use New Toys to Teach Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-collectibles-that-almost-always-become-more-valuable">10 Collectibles That Almost Always Become More Valuable</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-smart-ways-to-save-on-fathers-day">3 Smart Ways to Save on Father&#039;s Day</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-gifts-for-5-or-less">25 Great Gifts for $5 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping big ticket items Holidays layaway pay in installments payment plans toys Wed, 30 Mar 2016 09:00:12 +0000 Tim Lemke 1672229 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 More Cheap and Easy DIY Toys Kids Will Love http://www.wisebread.com/15-more-cheap-and-easy-diy-toys-kids-will-love <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-more-cheap-and-easy-diy-toys-kids-will-love" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/colorful_crayons_000051716822.jpg" alt="Creating cheap and easy DIY toys kids will love" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Looking for a great birthday or Christmas gift for your child? There are lots of toys you can DIY to give a personal touch. Check out the projects below for some major inspiration. And share your favorite do-it-yourself toy projects in the comments. (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-awesomely-fun-toys-you-can-diy?ref=seealso">15 Awesomely Fun Toys You Can DIY</a>)</p> <h2>1. Colorful Crayons</h2> <p>Melt together a bunch of <a href="http://ourbestbites.com/2012/02/how-to-make-muffin-tin-crayons-and-a-printable/">old crayons</a> using <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=silicon%20molds&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=LK2BUROPZI6ZG46O">silicone</a> molds or cupcake tins. You'll be giving new life to something that might otherwise be tossed out &mdash; and even young kids can help with this project! Just take all the broken remnants, remove the paper labels, toss them in your molds, and bake at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 20 minutes.</p> <h2>2. Drum Set</h2> <p>Have a bunch of old paint cans you need to recycle? Try assembling this crazy <a href="http://www.floridaysmom.com/paint-can-drum-set/">drum kit</a>. You'll clean your cans and then give them a coat of spray paint. Attach the cans together with bolts and screws. And don't forget to add some fancy stuff like cymbals. Grab a pair of sticks to start jamming.</p> <h2>3. Felt Food</h2> <p>Here's a quiet toy your kids will play with again and again: <a href="http://everydaydishes.com/creative-crafts/diy-felt-play-food/">felt food</a>. Find a stack of felt in assorted colors, print out the free template, and get cutting. Adhere everything together with hot glue and stuff some of the foods (like bread) will <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000YZ7G44/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000YZ7G44&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=7CMLIPMBEOLX5657">poly-fil</a>. You'll make watermelon, bacon, pizza, and more.</p> <h2>4. Sand Blocks</h2> <p>Got an old Jenga game hanging around? Use the wooden pieces to make these cool <a href="http://adventure-in-a-box.com/make-rainbow-sand-blocks/">rainbow sand blocks</a>. Glue three of your blocks into an open-ended rectangle, then do it again. You'll make the rainbow sand using cornmeal and food coloring. Then, place the sand into a plastic bag and glue the bag in the middle of your blocks. Add two more blocks on top to finish the frame.</p> <h2>5. Nature Blocks</h2> <p>For kids who would rather be outdoors than anywhere else, you can make <a href="http://adventure-in-a-box.com/how-to-make-waldorf-inspired-nature-blocks-creative-challenge/">nature blocks</a>. These blocks are inspired by the Waldorf toys and are simple to make if you have access to a hand saw. Go into your yard and find branches of different diameters. Then, let them dry someplace for a few weeks. To finish, just cut them into sections.</p> <h2>6. Kinetic Sand</h2> <p>Stop spending all that money on store-bought play sand. Try making your own with this <a href="http://gimmiefreebies.com/make-your-own-kinetic-sand/">kinetic sand</a> tutorial. You'll need plain sand, corn starch, dish soap, and water. Mix everything together and consider adding some tea tree oil to the mix to keep it fresh.</p> <h2>7. Magnetic Fishing Set</h2> <p>If you have a sewing machine, you can whip up these <a href="http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2014/09/diy-toy-fishing-pole-that-reels-in-and-magnetic-fabric-fish.html">DIY magnetic fish</a>. Buy some round magnets, cut out fish shapes using scrap fabric and batting, and then sew the magnet into the fish. Make a quick pole using wooden dowels, spools, and rope. Don't forget the magnet at the end of the line so you can catch the fish!</p> <h2>8. Fruit Stand</h2> <p>Forget the play kitchen &mdash; try making a <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/pernfors88/4212633525/">fruit stand</a>. The maker of this project used an Ikea Rast table as the base. The rest is a creative mix of scrap wood, shelf supports, fabric, and little bins. Your finished product might not look exactly like the original, but the idea is to have plenty of places to stash play fruits and veggies.</p> <h2>9. Car Mat</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.ragamuffin-baby.com/2012/09/vans-car-playmat.html">car mat</a> is absolutely adorable. The only problem is that it took the author over 20 hours to cut, sew, and embroider everything together. You can make something similar by picking up some <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00O7312OO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00O7312OO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=QLAJSUJV67RORM44">duck cloth</a> (or other thick, sturdy fabric) at the hardware store, cutting it to size, and painting on a roadway, houses, and other cool spots with craft paints.</p> <h2>10. Hideaway Tent</h2> <p>Give your children a hideaway with this simple <a href="http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2014/07/collapsible-fabric-play-tent-for-kids.html">play tent</a>. Create a foldable A-frame using 1&quot; x 2&quot; boards and dowels. Then use five yards of fabric to sew the cover that will tie onto the frame. This project takes around three hours from start to finish.</p> <h2>11. Painted Treasures</h2> <p>Don't feel like making a toy from scratch? Try finding something old and making it new again using spray paint. This <a href="http://www.justalittlecreativity.com/2011/09/pimp-that-cozy-ride-little-tikes-car.html">Little Tikes car project</a> is amazing and only took a couple cans of paint. Clean the toy well before disassembling and painting. You can try this makeover with play cars, houses, and anything else that needs freshening up.</p> <h2>12. Play Road</h2> <p>Before you toss out your old jeans, try using them in this <a href="http://www.howdoesshe.com/easy-diy-road-for-toy-cars-made-out-of-your-old-jeans/">DIY road project</a>. After you trace a pattern for both curved and straight pieces, cut out your fabric from the old jeans. Then use glue and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001IKES5O/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001IKES5O&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=Z4K4CH2V7TPJ75D5">Mod Podge</a> to fix everything together. Paint on some yellow lines and let the races begin!</p> <h2>13. Lego Table</h2> <p>Your kid will go crazy for this <a href="http://www.chaosandlove.com/targets-toy-emporium/">DIY Lego table</a>. You'll need an old table (a square works wonderfully) and some of those <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00K5W9TLY/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00K5W9TLY&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=VDJG4GHI7R2K4CI2">Lego bases</a>. Use glue to adhere the base plates to the table and give them some extra support with a few Lego bricks on the edges. Let the glue dry, and this project is done in around 20 minutes.</p> <h2>14. American Boy</h2> <p>Boys deserve dolls too! So, when I saw this <a href="http://ginadwagner.com/how-i-created-an-american-boy-doll-for-my-son/">American Boy</a> doll in my Facebook feed, my jaw dropped. The mom took a standard girl doll (new or used would be fine), cut its hair, washed off its makeup, and dressed it in some clothes she found on Etsy. You can also sew your own for a personal touch.</p> <h2>15. Doll House</h2> <p>Make a super <a href="http://turkeyfeathers.typepad.com/turkey_feathers/2006/06/in_an_old_house.html">doll house</a> using an old dresser. You'll need a relatively tall dresser as your base, and I recommended checking places like the Salvation Army and garage sales before buying new. Leave the bottom drawers on for storage. Then take the upper drawers out to make space for your rooms. Paint and fill with doll furniture to complete the project.</p> <p><em>What are your kid's favorite DIY playthings?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-more-cheap-and-easy-diy-toys-kids-will-love">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-awesomely-fun-toys-you-can-diy">15 Awesomely Fun Toys You Can DIY</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-free-or-cheap-toys-that-will-make-your-kid-smarter">14 Free or Cheap Toys That Will Make Your Kid Smarter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-homemade-child-products-that-are-cheaper-and-better-than-store-bought">10 Homemade Child Products That Are Cheaper and Better Than Store Bought</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-smart-ways-to-reuse-your-empty-glass-bottles">18 Smart Ways to Reuse Your Empty Glass Bottles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-awesome-practically-free-upcycled-craft-projects">18 Awesome, Practically Free Upcycled Craft Projects</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY children crafts gifts kids playing projects toys Mon, 16 Nov 2015 11:15:18 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1612421 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Cute Ways to Upcycle Shoeboxes http://www.wisebread.com/12-cute-ways-to-upcycle-shoeboxes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-cute-ways-to-upcycle-shoeboxes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/little_girl_diy_toy_000041049236.jpg" alt="Little girl learning ways to upcycle old shoeboxes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I wear shoes. You wear shoes. And you know what all these shoes come in? That's right, say it with me: shoeboxes. As it turns out, they can a do lot more than just house footwear. Check out of a few of these smart ideas, and feel free to share your own genius upcycling projects in the comments! (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-awesome-practically-free-upcycled-craft-projects?ref=seealso">18 Awesome, Practically Free Upcycled Craft Projects</a>)</p> <h2>1. Charging Station</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.tashachawner.com/diy-tuesday-recharge-station-for-all-of-your-devices/">DIY recharge station</a> will blow your mind. First, cut sections out of an old shoebox to thread your USB and other charging cables through. You'll connect these guys to a power board you'll place inside. Then spiff it up with paint and bookplates for a more finished look.</p> <h2>2. Wall Shelving</h2> <p>To add instant storage place to any room, try creating these <a href="http://www.cremedelacraft.com/2012/05/diy-wall-shelves-from-shoebox.html">shoebox wall shelves</a>. Just take the bottom of the shoebox, coat it in spray paint, and use patterned paper or other accents to decorate. Of course, you can't put heavy stuff in these shelves, but they'd work great for office supplies, small personal care items, and trinkets.</p> <h2>3. Play Guitar</h2> <p>Kids will love this <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/entertainment/crafts-hobbies/make-a-shoe-box-guitar">shoebox guitar</a>. You'll need your box, a paper towel tube, some rubber bands, some funky paper, and basic crafting tools. After you cut a space to thread in the tube fingerboard, carve out a sound hole, you'll add the rubber band strings, and personalize it. The <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/family/kids-parenting/toys-you-can-make/shoe-box-guitar">finished product</a> is adorable.</p> <h2>4. Ultra Organizer</h2> <p>Or try making this <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tu2pJLID0Ec">shoebox organizer</a> to keep on your desk. To get started, cut the lid off the box and save it for later. Draw a triangle on each side of the box and then cut it out. Fold everything over and use tape to secure the sides. From there, you'll make a few more cuts and attachments before covering the whole thing with pretty fabric and filling with whatever you need to organize.</p> <h2>5. Projector</h2> <p>When I first saw this project, I blurted out: &quot;No <em>way</em>!&quot; You can make a <a href="http://content.photojojo.com/diy/turn-your-phone-into-a-photo-projector-for-1/">DIY projector</a> out of a shoebox (and your smartphone) for just one dollar. All you need to do is cut a hole in the box that's big enough to accommodate a magnifying glass. Make a quick stand for your phone using a paperclip. To display your images, rotate your phone's screen, fool with focusing, and turn your brightness option all the way up.</p> <h2>6. Blackboard Art</h2> <p>Here's a project that's all about those lids. You can easily make portable <a href="http://stowandtellu.com/chalkboard-painted-box-lids-fall-decor/">blackboard art</a> using just a couple tools to help. First, paint your shoebox lids with <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0006BAEI6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0006BAEI6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=YQPWWNM424YDLUF7">chalkboard paint</a>. After it dries, draw lists, signs, art, poems, quotes, or whatever else comes to mind. I've used chalkboard paint many times, and I love how it comes in all sorts of different colors now.</p> <h2>7. Mini Foosball</h2> <p>Keep this <a href="http://www.handimania.com/diy/mini-foosball-table-kids.html">mini foosball table</a> in your office or give it to your kids. This project is super easy. Clip wooden laundry pins to small dowels. Use a hole punch to make holes all along the side of your shoebox. Give everything a coat of paint or cover it with cool paper. Then play until your wrists get tired.</p> <h2>8. Cord Organizer</h2> <p>Here's another take on a <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/TP-Roll-Organizer-Box-instructable/">shoebox organizer</a>. This project is going to help you wrangle all those rogue cords strewn about your house. Gather up a bunch of toilet paper rolls, tape them together, and place them in the box. Place once cord in each roll. Make it pretty or keep it purely utilitarian. I might just have to try this one &mdash; my phone charger recently fell prey to my cats.</p> <h2>9. Shoebox</h2> <p>Stay with me here. This project to make a <a href="http://www.ikeahackers.net/2011/06/i-love-my-shoe-boxes.html">windowed shoebox</a> is written for an IKEA box. But you can easily apply the same idea to your leftover shoeboxes. Cut a rectangle in the side of the box using an X-Acto knife. Then use double-sided tape to fill that space with a sheet of PET plastic. Decorate the box however you like. Use it to store shoes, craft supplies, toys, and other small items.</p> <h2>10. Play Oven</h2> <p>I have a preschooler at home who would play with this <a href="http://madebyjoel.com/2014/01/diy-shoebox-pizza-oven-toy.html">shoebox oven</a> for hours. You'll cut some slots in your box to accommodate a door for the pan to fit inside. Then use excess cardboard to make a pizza peel. And if you don't have a play pizza, create one out of felt with an assortment of toppings.</p> <h2>11. Jute Bin</h2> <p>Skip the storage aisle at the store and make this cute <a href="https://southernflaircrafts.wordpress.com/2012/06/10/upcycled-kleenex-box/">storage bin</a> out of a box and jute. The project is written for a tissue box, but the idea is the same. Take the base of your shoebox and use glue to adhere the jute around it. Then use some canvas fabric to finish it off with a clean look. You can use it to store towels or anything else in plain sight. The cost of this project might only be a couple dollars versus the $10 or more you'd spend for something similar at the store.</p> <h2>12. School House</h2> <p>We'll end here with yet another crazy shoebox toy. Check out this <a href="http://mollymoocrafts.com/back-school-crafts-shoebox-school/">school house</a>! Cut windows out of your box using an X-Acto knife, finish off raw edges with duct tape, and take some time to make a few accessories (blackboard, posters, etc.). By the way, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=lego%20people&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=NVIAAEGJXAXAUNS5">Lego people</a> make perfect pupils.</p> <p><em>What do you do with your old shoeboxes?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cute-ways-to-upcycle-shoeboxes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cool-ways-to-make-treasure-out-of-trash">12 Cool Ways to Make Treasure Out of Trash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-smart-ways-to-reuse-your-empty-glass-bottles">18 Smart Ways to Reuse Your Empty Glass Bottles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-awesome-practically-free-upcycled-craft-projects">18 Awesome, Practically Free Upcycled Craft Projects</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-scariest-halloween-frights-you-can-make-from-trash">13 Scariest Halloween Frights You Can Make From Trash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-creative-ways-to-reuse-egg-crates">11 Creative Ways to Reuse Egg Crates</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Green Living art projects cardboard crafts recycling shoe boxes toys upcycling Thu, 24 Sep 2015 17:00:15 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1567511 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Genius Ways to Store Toys http://www.wisebread.com/10-genius-ways-to-store-toys <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-genius-ways-to-store-toys" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/little_boy_toy_cars_000030753838.jpg" alt="Little boy learning genius ways to store toys" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your kid's toys can quickly take over if you don't have a great organization system. Sometimes all you need are a few bins or boxes to whip your place into shape. Here are a few ideas you can try in your own home to restore peace and tranquility to your living spaces. (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing?Ref=seealso">25 Cheap and Easy Fixes That Make Your Home Look Amazing</a>)</p> <h2>1. Window Seat</h2> <p>Hide your toy clutter in plain sight with <a href="http://www.thriftyandchic.com/2015/03/hidden-play-area-in-plain-sight.html">window seat</a> storage. You'll need a couple of those cube storage shelves from a big box store. Line them up under a window, fill the bins with toys, and then use some decorative throw pillows to finish off the look. Bonus points if you label the containers!</p> <h2>2. Shoe Organizer</h2> <p>Is there anything a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000HM5V0A/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000HM5V0A&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=H6BRWIEZAZYBD4KB">shoe organizer</a> can't do? We use one in the playroom to hold anything from art supplies to toy zebras. The method is pretty darned easy, too. Simply hang the organizer on a closet door and fill with whatever you need to organize. By the way, I like clear organizers best because your kids can see what's in them.</p> <h2>3. Bath Baskets</h2> <p>Scroll down a bit in the link to see this genius <a href="http://8footsix.com/2011/07/bathroom-makeover-before-after.html">bath toy storage</a> idea. Basically, you pick up one of those hanging <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00851FM22/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00851FM22&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ME3P2M3D3VUGYZFP">three-tiered baskets</a>. I've looked for them in stores, but can only seem to find them on Amazon. Then rig it up in your shower to collect rubber duckies, bath crayons, and all other fun water toys.</p> <h2>4. Puzzle Peace</h2> <p>Puzzles are seriously the bane of my existence. We used to find rogue pieces strewn about until we starting following the <a href="http://www.realcoake.com/2014/04/organizing-tips-puzzles.html">bag method</a>. Use quart or gallon zip-top bags when puzzles aren't in use. I've also seen people use pencil bags, boxes, and other containers. No matter what you choose, you won't lose that pesky last piece this way.</p> <h2>5. Storage Mat</h2> <p>We're thinking of getting our daughter her first set of Legos for Christmas this year. And I love this <a href="http://www.freshlypieced.com/2011/10/12-gifts-of-christmas-lego-storage.html">Lego storage mat</a>. You just sew fabric into a round and thread a drawstring through it for gathering. Of course, you could use the mat for storing similar blocks and trinkets. Don't sew so well? (Me neither.) Skip the fancy quilted design and stick with a single piece of fabric. A bed sheet would be an inexpensive option.</p> <h2>6. Hidden Cart</h2> <p>Make this <a href="http://www.jennaburger.com/2014/03/rolling-underbed-wood-storage-cart/">wood storage cart</a> to roll toy clutter under your child's bed. The tutorial describes how to build the low cart from scratch using wood, nails, and basic carpentry skills. I have a better idea! Find a cart at a thrift or antique store that's similar in size (even an old dresser drawer) and add wheels to it.</p> <h2>7. Car Rack</h2> <p>Place all those matchbox cars on the wall instead of in a bucket. I love this IKEA hack idea to take the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00Q4O5N6M/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00Q4O5N6M&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=4CG3TPCIJIMNOVCR">magnetic knife boards</a> and use them in the playroom. Screw them into the wall and stick up all your cars. This isn't just practical, it will also add some cool decor to the room.</p> <h2>8. Book Slings</h2> <p>I made these <a href="http://pennycarnival.typepad.com/penny_carnival/2009/02/tutorial-hanging-book-display.html">book slings</a> when I was still pregnant with my daughter. We've since moved from our old house and into a new one. I'm thinking about trying the tutorial again because I love displaying her books with the faces out versus the binding. To make one sling, just get a couple dowels, some fabric, hemming tape, and wall brackets. You'll fold over the fabric to make a channel to put the dowels through. Then use some anchors to screw your brackets into the wall.</p> <h2>9. Dollar Solution</h2> <p>If you're short on cash, you can still create a great storage system for your child's toys. Head to the Dollar Store or other discount joint and pick up some plastic bins or milk crates. Then make this awesome <a href="http://www.hometalk.com/560837/3-step-storage-solution">storage shelf</a> by mounting them all onto the wall in a straight line. You may want to use anchors for extra support.</p> <h2>10. Toy Rotation</h2> <p>Is your place a toy-explosion no matter what you do? Perhaps you just have too many things out at one time. Try these easy steps for <a href="http://handmadekidsart.com/5-easy-steps-to-toy-rotation-and-organization/#_a5y_p=1291650">toy rotation and organization</a>. Start by dumping all the toys onto the floor (no, really!). Group toys into categories. Figure out what is broken, unused, or can otherwise be purged. Then fill a couple storage containers with a variety of toys and keep them in storage until you're ready to rotate.</p> <p><em>How do you keep your kids' gear organized and out of sight?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-genius-ways-to-store-toys">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-genius-storage-solutions-for-your-kids-room">11 Genius Storage Solutions for Your Kid&#039;s Room</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-ways-to-keep-your-family-organized">8 Easy Ways to Keep Your Family Organized</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-more-cheap-and-easy-diy-toys-kids-will-love">15 More Cheap and Easy DIY Toys Kids Will Love</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-strategies-for-controlling-toy-clutter">7 Strategies for Controlling Toy Clutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use New Toys to Teach Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Organization children kids playroom storage solutions toy room toys Wed, 23 Sep 2015 15:00:25 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1561957 at http://www.wisebread.com 14 Free or Cheap Toys That Will Make Your Kid Smarter http://www.wisebread.com/14-free-or-cheap-toys-that-will-make-your-kid-smarter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-free-or-cheap-toys-that-will-make-your-kid-smarter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/child_playing_toys_000046742926.jpg" alt="Child playing with educational toys made at home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It may seem like you need to spend a fortune on educational toys for your kids these days. Heck, many stores have entire sections devoted to learning aids cleverly disguised as playthings. All that stuff is great, but you can beef up your child's smarts with some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-diy-crafts-that-will-save-you-money">awesome DIY projects</a>. You'll spend much less money making things at home, and frugality is a great lesson to teach children at any age.</p> <h2>1. Sensory Tables</h2> <p>Bring your child's preschool favorite to you own playroom with these <a href="http://www.ringaroundtherosies.net/2012/04/diy-sensory-tables.html">DIY sensory tables</a>. Construct a simple wooden base out of pallets and plop in a plastic bin. You can fill them with rice, dried beans, or whatever else you like. And if you're looking to do this project on a dime, skip the table and just place the plastic bin on a waist-high surface.</p> <h2>2. Alphabet Board</h2> <p>I love this <a href="http://nicandkate09.blogspot.com/2011/08/alphabet-board.html">alphabet board</a> project because you could take it in so many different directions. Just mount a metal oil pan on your wall to create a magnetic surface. The author cut up an alphabet poster and glued it to the pan. Then her child used magnetic letters to match. You could repeat with numbers, maps, or anything else you're looking to teach your child.</p> <h2>3. Felt Board</h2> <p>Here's a similar idea <a href="http://buggyandbuddy.com/make-your-own-felt-board-tutorial/">making a felt board</a> versus metal. Cut a piece of felt so it's a bit larger than a cork board. Then use an X-Acto knife to size it perfectly before spraying with adhesive and pressing onto the board. Once it has dried, you can use homemade felt cut-outs to explore a variety of subjects.</p> <h2>4. Emo Dolls</h2> <p>Teach your child about facial expressions, emotions, and even empathy with these <a href="http://www.danyabanya.com/diy-educational-toy-emo-dolls/">DIY emo dolls</a>. Making them couldn't be easier. Take two types of cardboard tubes that are different sizes (toilet paper and cling wrap, for example). Cut them to the same length. Then cut a circle (face) into the larger one. Draw different faces on the smaller one. Nest them together, and you're done!</p> <h2>5. Sight Word Rolls</h2> <p>Use a similar approach for these <a href="http://laughingkidslearn.com/2013/06/word-rolls.html/">sight word rolls</a>. Cut varying lengths of tubes in different diameters. On one tube, write the first part of a word. One the second, the rest of it. There are many different ways to form your words, and this author started with consonant blends and digraphs.</p> <h2>6. Sewn Letters</h2> <p>Those of you who sew will love this <a href="http://www.chicagonow.com/quilting-sewing-creating/2013/06/fabric-alphabet-toy-letters-tutorial-diy/">plush alphabet</a> project you can make using leftover scraps of fabric. Simply cut squares of fabric, sandwich in some batting, and then sew around a stencil guide. Cut out the letters using pinking shears so there's no fraying at the edges.</p> <h2>7. Sponge Letters</h2> <p>Not so crafty? Try cutting <a href="http://www.learning4kids.net/2011/08/16/alphabet-sponge-letters-bath-time-fun-2/">letters from clean sponges</a> instead. The advantage here is that you can take them into the bath. You could also use them as paint stamps. Here's a free <a href="http://www.learning4kids.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Sponge-Alphabet5.pdf">alphabet template</a> you can print off and use as a guide.</p> <h2>8. Inventor's Box</h2> <p>Older kids will go crazy for this <a href="http://www.ehow.com/ehow-mom/blog/build-stem-skills-at-home-make-an-inventors-box/">inventor's box</a>. Fill a plastic bin with old electronic items, like a flashlight, keyboard, clock, radio, or whatever else you can find at yard sales and thrift shops. Then let your child independently explore. The author suggested taking a flashlight apart and letting your kid put it back together.</p> <h2>9. Memory Game</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.dandee-designs.com/2011/05/shapes-colors-memory-game.html">memory game</a> is something fun you could scale up or down for your child depending on age. Take wooden disks (you can find them at most craft stores) and cut out wool felt shapes in all different colors. Adhere the shapes to the wood and play.</p> <h2>10. Tide Pool</h2> <p>Create your own ecosystem with this <a href="http://buggyandbuddy.com/tide-pool-science-experiment-kids/">tide pool</a> project. You'll fill a metal pan with rocks, mini plastic marine animals, and sand. Then add water to the pan, noting which animals are covered by the water as it rises. Then slowly remove water and watch the tide in reverse.</p> <h2>11. Geoboard</h2> <p>Work on fine motor skills and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning with this <a href="http://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/diy-simple-geo-board-for-fine-motor-skills-fine-motor-fridays/">homemade geoboard</a>. Grab a slab of wood at a craft or home improvement store, then mark off a grid in pencil. Hammer nails into the corner of each marked square. Then give your child some colorful rubber bands to create shapes, letters, or whatever else.</p> <h2>12. Giant Puzzle</h2> <p>Rainy days call for creativity. This <a href="http://www.two-daloo.com/diy-giant-block-puzzle/">giant block puzzle</a> will come to your rescue and challenge your child's spatial and problem-solving skills. Take shaped blocks (or other toys) and trace a bunch on a large sheet of paper. Then give your kids the blocks and let them figure it out.</p> <h2>13. Handwriting Tray</h2> <p>If your little one is just starting to write, try this <a href="http://thismummaslife.com/2013/02/28/diy-salt-tray-and-alphabet-cards/">handwriting tray</a>. The author recycled wooden toy packaging for the tray. The letter cards are made of thick watercolor paper. Once you've finished writing all the letters, fill the tray with salt or sand and let your child write using his or her finger or a q-tip.</p> <h2>14. Color Classifier</h2> <p>Work on advanced color recognition with this <a href="http://www.walkingbytheway.com/blog/shades-of-color/">shades of color</a> activity. Pick up a variety of paint chip cards at your local hardware store, cut them up, and store in a zip bag. Create a quick chart on a plain piece of paper and let you child try putting the chips in order based on gradation.</p> <p><em>Do you have a great project to share? Leave a note in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-free-or-cheap-toys-that-will-make-your-kid-smarter">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-awesomely-fun-toys-you-can-diy">15 Awesomely Fun Toys You Can DIY</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-more-cheap-and-easy-diy-toys-kids-will-love">15 More Cheap and Easy DIY Toys Kids Will Love</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use New Toys to Teach Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-money-apps-for-kids">10 Fun Money Apps for Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-ways-to-help-your-child-get-the-best-education">Frugal Ways to Help Your Child Get the Best Education</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Family educational kids learning playing toys Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:00:12 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1502076 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Cool Uses for Popsicle Sticks http://www.wisebread.com/11-cool-uses-for-popsicle-sticks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-cool-uses-for-popsicle-sticks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/popsicle_sticks_000046971446.jpg" alt="Learning a bunch of cool new uses for popsicle sticks" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Cooling off with popsicles this summer? Don't toss the sticks! There are a number of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-diy-crafts-that-will-save-you-money">arts and crafts</a> you can make with your leftovers. (And if you're not into cold desserts &mdash; don't fret: you can pick up hundreds of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001GXD6BU/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001GXD6BU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=GFF5V7IXMG7OHC6X">popsicle sticks</a> online or at your local dollar store.)</p> <h2>1. Coasters</h2> <p>These <a href="http://www.cookinglikelou.com/2014/01/diy-mini-pallet-coasters.html">pallet coasters</a> make an excellent gift for your DIY-loving friends. To make them look especially authentic, you'll cut the rounded edges off with sharp scissors. Stain or leave natural, depending on your preference.</p> <h2>2. Loom</h2> <p>Try out weaving with this <a href="http://buggyandbuddy.com/weaving-with-kids-using-ribbons-and-fabric/">homemade loom</a> project. Hot glue four popsicle sticks together in a square, then tie string across the length to get started. You can give your kids a basket with various pieces of ribbon, yarn, and string to spark their creativity.</p> <h2>3. Workouts</h2> <p>Looking for exercise motivation? Try this <a href="http://backtoherroots.com/2012/08/09/pinterest-challenge-popsicle-stick-workout-jar/">workout jar</a> full of colorful popsicle sticks that tell you exactly how to move. Quickie workouts could mean two sticks completed. When you have time for sweating, challenge yourself to do five or more!</p> <h2>4. Entertainment</h2> <p>Take this same idea and make a <a href="http://www.whilehewasnapping.com/2014/07/washi-tape-summer-boredom-buster-jars/">boredom busting jar</a>. You can use our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-cheap-fun-things-to-do-this-summer">summer bucket list</a> to get inspiration for family friendly ideas or come up with your own. Then write them down on the sticks, decorate, select your activity, and enjoy.</p> <h2>5. Journal</h2> <p>This <a href="http://inmyblueroom.blogspot.com/2014/07/popsicle-stick-notebook-with-twinery.html">stick journal</a> would make a fun book for kids and adults alike. If you're not into bookbinding, you can just adhere the popsicle sticks to a simple notebook. Then embellish anyway you like to make it personal.</p> <h2>6 Doll House</h2> <p>I'm already drafting the plans to make my daughter a <a href="http://melissagoodsell.typepad.com/day_to_day/2008/11/the-little-popsicle-house.html">popsicle stick doll house</a>. All you need are the sticks and hot glue. Older kids might be able to tackle this project by themselves. Arrange sticks to make the walls, room dividers, and then roof. Leave one side open for play.</p> <h2>7. Frame</h2> <p>Display your life's memories with this <a href="https://diyfamily.wordpress.com/2009/10/30/popsicle-stick-photo-frame/">photo frame</a> made entirely of popsicle sticks. After you download the <a href="https://diyfamily.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/photo-frame.pdf">free instructions</a>, you'll assemble the sticks and leave room for the photo. The rest is just gluing and dry time, you can orient the frame horizontally or vertically.</p> <h2>8. Wall Art</h2> <p>I cannot believe this <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/create-wall-art-from-popsicle-128336">gorgeous piece of artwork</a> is made from popsicle sticks. You can replicate the look by dying or painting sticks different colors and gluing them to a backing (styrofoam would work) for added stability. Play around with colors and patterns for a unique look. The best part? Your whole family can help.</p> <h2>9. Dolls</h2> <p>When your child gets bored of the same old toys, try making these <a href="http://mollymoocrafts.com/craft-stick-dolls/">craft stick dolls</a>. You can draw faces and clothing onto the sticks with markers. Make them even more beautiful with colorful washi tape or stickers. What a great rainy day activity!</p> <h2>10. Chandelier</h2> <p>No, really. You can make a <a href="http://boredandcrafty.com/?p=4574">popsicle stick chandelier</a>. You'll need three wooden embroidery hoops of different sizes. Then glue sticks onto each hoop and let dry before assembling. You may not want to swing by this chandelier, but it will surely be a conversation piece.</p> <h2>11. Toy</h2> <p>Here's a last-minute gift for a child's birthday party: <a href="http://www.howdoesshe.com/stick-art-kit-with-free-printables/">Stick art kit</a>. All you need are jumbo popsicle sticks and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002IXGUAQ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002IXGUAQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=C44AZVOE3YV3TUN6">round Velcro stickers</a>. Put the stickers on the sticks (25 to be exact), then package them up in a pretty bag with the free printable tag. Kids will create shapes for hours with them.</p> <p><em>What cool things have you made with popsicle sticks?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-cool-uses-for-popsicle-sticks">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-own-moon-sand-dirt-cheap">Make Your Own Moon Sand, Dirt Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-scariest-halloween-frights-you-can-make-from-trash">13 Scariest Halloween Frights You Can Make From Trash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-awesomely-fun-toys-you-can-diy">15 Awesomely Fun Toys You Can DIY</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-free-or-cheap-toys-that-will-make-your-kid-smarter">14 Free or Cheap Toys That Will Make Your Kid Smarter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-more-cheap-and-easy-diy-toys-kids-will-love">15 More Cheap and Easy DIY Toys Kids Will Love</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY arts craft sticks creative inspiration popsicle sticks toys Tue, 28 Jul 2015 17:00:13 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1505743 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Awesomely Fun Toys You Can DIY http://www.wisebread.com/15-awesomely-fun-toys-you-can-diy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-awesomely-fun-toys-you-can-diy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/child_playing_toy_kitchen_000046919258.jpg" alt="Kid playing with super fun DIY toy" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you been to a toy store lately? There are gadgets and dolls and blocks and other stuff for every age and every stage. So many options, in fact, that it can get quite overwhelming to choose something for your child. Plus, the prices on most of these toys are absolutely outrageous.</p> <p>So dig around the house for some raw materials and get back to the basics with this list of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-diy-crafts-that-will-save-you-money">DIY</a> toys will help you craft playthings your kids will enjoy for years to come.</p> <h2>1. Baby Gym</h2> <p>Cut a few boards and connect them with a dowel to make your own <a href="http://mthanded.blogspot.com.au/2014/09/wooden-baby-gym-tutorial.html">baby gym</a>. The tutorial is pretty lax because you can make it to suit your individual needs. Once the base is constructed, use links to tie up store-bought (or homemade) toys for playing. The best part? When your child grows out of it, you can sew a cute tent cover for more fun.</p> <h2>2. Kinetic Sand</h2> <p>If you haven't discovered the sand craze yet, save yourself some cash by making <a href="http://parentingchaos.com/diy-kinetic-sand/">kinetic sand</a> at home. This stuff holds shape but doesn't make a mess, so it's easy to pick up. You'll need some fine sand from a craft or pet store. After you've baked it dry, add glue and liquid starch until the mixture sticks together but not to your hands.</p> <h2>3. Rag Doll</h2> <p>So many dolls on store shelves look the same. Give your little one something unique with this <a href="http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2013/02/girl-boy-fabric-dolls-pattern-pieces-included.html">DIY rag doll</a>. You'll find patterns for both girl and boy dolls with a detailed sewing tutorial. The difficulty is up to you. The dolls might take some work, but when they're done, you'll be glad you put in the effort.</p> <h2>4. House Blocks</h2> <p>Skip the pricey block sets and make your own <a href="http://mermagblog.com/diy-stacking-house-blocks/">stacking house blocks</a> from scratch. You can cut blocks from 4x4 lumber, but I also recommend checking out your local craft store for cheap pre-cut blocks. Once they're all sanded, decorate with non-toxic acrylic paints and finish with beeswax polish.</p> <h2>5. Animal Spools</h2> <p>Or here's another stacking toy using <a href="http://www.handmadecharlotte.com/diy-mix-em-animal-spools/">wooden spools</a> instead of blocks. Download the free animal template, cut out the parts, and then tape together. Your child will play for hours making different combinations with the heads, bodies, and legs.</p> <h2>6. Play Garden</h2> <p>Grab an old box and get &quot;planting&quot; with this <a href="http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2014/03/diy-plantable-felt-garden-box.html">DIY play garden</a>. You'll use jersey fabric to make round tubes of pretend dirt filled with stuffing. The tutorial describes how to make a variety of colorful veggies from felt. When you've finished sewing, stuff everything together and let your child harvest.</p> <h2>7. Car Ramps</h2> <p>Your kid's cars will zoom faster than ever before with this super simple <a href="http://buggyandbuddy.com/make-wooden-toy-car-ramp/">car ramps</a> project. Cut a few wooden boards to around three feet long. Then paint each black like pavement. Add some yellow dashes for extra flair before placing your new roads on different level surfaces for downhill speed.</p> <h2>8. Toy Treehouse</h2> <p>My jaw dropped when I found this clever <a href="http://www.northstory.ca/dollhouse-no-way-build-your-kids-a-toy-treehouse/">toy treehouse</a> made from various found objects. The author of this project used a branch, cutting board, craft bird house, dowels, and some other thrift and Dollar Store trinkets. Better than spending nearly $200 for <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002RBWKOO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002RBWKOO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=BPYYH7MJUXL7ZLXC">something similar</a>.</p> <h2>9. Play Kitchen</h2> <p>Start combing Craigslist now! You can use an old entertainment center as a starting point for this adorable <a href="http://www.greenyourdecor.com/7042/crazy-beautiful-toy-kitchen/">play kitchen</a>. Depending on how your old furniture is configured, you can make a shelf the cooktop, the cabinet a pretend refrigerator, and add hooks for play plates or towels. Give the whole thing a bright coat of paint for looks.</p> <h2>10. Slime</h2> <p>Everyone loves oozy slime, especially in <a href="http://frugalfun4boys.com/2014/09/29/make-sparkly-gold-slime/">metallic colors</a>. Mixing it together takes just a few minutes. You'll combine liquid starch, clear glue, gold powder, and glitter. Use different powder and glitter for different colors.</p> <h2>11. Cardboard Bed</h2> <p>Here's an awesome <a href="http://www.hellobee.com/2012/10/09/diy-cardboard-bed/">cardboard bed</a> you can make with recycled cardboard and a handy PDF. In other words: It's free. You'll cut out different shapes to make the headboard, footboard, side supports, and more. Then use the slots to nest everything together.</p> <h2>12. Story Stones</h2> <p>I had never heard of <a href="http://thinkcrafts.com/blog/2013/08/27/diy-story-stones/">story stones</a>, but they seem like a genius way to get your kid's imagination going. Look around your house, backyard, or at a park for a few smooth stones. Clean them well, then paint with different pictures &mdash; preferably around a theme. For best results, paint a white background where your image will go. It will help the colors pop.</p> <h2>13. Mini Foosball Table</h2> <p>I want one of these <a href="http://www.handimania.com/diy/mini-foosball-table-kids.html">mini foosball tables</a> for myself. The idea is that cool. You just need an adult-sized shoebox, some dowels, clothespins, and paint. Once you've assembled the playing field, toss in a ping pong ball and keep score.</p> <h2>14. Rainbow Rocker</h2> <p>This <a href="http://ramblingsfromtheburbs.com/2014/01/diy-rainbow-rocker/">rainbow rocker</a> is a multipurpose toy for toddlers that gets wonderfully physical. And the author's inspiration was a toy that retails for $188! To build, you'll need some birch plywood, pocket hole screws, food coloring (to stain wood), and isopropyl alcohol. With materials and printing of plans ($7 at an office supply store), you'll only spend around $50 on this project. Just cut your pieces, sand, stain, and assemble.</p> <h2>15. Play Grill</h2> <p>You can make this <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/diy-toy-grill-116515?image_id=1411234">pretend grill</a> for around $20. The most important part is a plastic mixing bowl, so if you have one you're willing to part with, it might be even cheaper. Drill holes in the bowl, make a tripod base for it to rest on with thick dowels. The grate is also made from dowels. After a coat of spray paint, you're done.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite DIY toys?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-awesomely-fun-toys-you-can-diy">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-free-or-cheap-toys-that-will-make-your-kid-smarter">14 Free or Cheap Toys That Will Make Your Kid Smarter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-more-cheap-and-easy-diy-toys-kids-will-love">15 More Cheap and Easy DIY Toys Kids Will Love</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-amazing-board-games-you-can-diy">8 Amazing Board Games You Can DIY</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-cheap-fun-things-to-do-with-kids-this-weekend">20 Cheap Fun Things to Do With Kids This Weekend</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-toys-and-games-you-can-make-at-home">10 Fun Toys and Games You Can Make at Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Family crafts fun kids playing toys Mon, 06 Jul 2015 13:00:11 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1475752 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Affordable Kids' Gifts That Won't Rot Their Brains http://www.wisebread.com/10-affordable-kids-gifts-that-wont-rot-their-brains <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-affordable-kids-gifts-that-wont-rot-their-brains" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000043259202_Large.jpg" alt="little boy painting" title="little boy painting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I am not a big fan of overtly &quot;educational&quot; toys, especially those that take batteries and make too much noise. However, I am a big fan of simple, inexpensive toys that help kids teach themselves and one another through play. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/better-than-barbie-5-free-toys-kids-will-love?ref=seealso">Better Than Barbie: 5 Free Toys and Games Kids Will Love</a>)</p> <p>And people are always going to buy more stuff for your kids. So you might as well accept it and at least steer well-meaning aunties away from the Spongebob videos, and toward these choices that are either straight-up educational, or at least won't turn their gray matter into sponges themselves.</p> <h2>1. Art Supplies</h2> <p>This is nearly always my answer when people ask what my kids want. High-quality markers, colored pencils, paints, clay, and drawing pads are always in demand with kids, and the beauty is that they get used up, so you can give the same answer again next year.</p> <h2>2. ALEX Craft Kits</h2> <p>If art materials don't seem &quot;gifty&quot; enough, ALEX Toys sells roughly a billion kits for projects such as <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006WCN6WE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B006WCN6WE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=FC4V43VBHOGRXNTF">making jewelry</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001U0JHSA/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001U0JHSA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=NBKO3CRQBHNUEJB5">ceramic painting</a>, and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000F3V2MW/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000F3V2MW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=Y4BGWM3RLECIDZWE">sewing</a>. Remember to check the list of what is included in the box; some sets are better values than others.</p> <h2>3. 4M Science Kits</h2> <p>A lot of companies make science kits these days. I like 4M's for two reasons: They are not pricey, and the boxes are compact. Chances are, you will put this gift away in the cupboard until a snow day or other boredom emergency. The way some science kits are packed, just one or two will take up your whole cupboard. This year, Santa brought my kids <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004NEP7NE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004NEP7NE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=FS2PWKXV5IZGO7AH">4M's Kitchen Science</a>, which will let them generate electricity from a piece of fruit and make a vinegar-and-baking-soda-powered rocket.</p> <h2>4. Brain Quest Decks</h2> <p>My kids are too smart to see a workbook as a fun gift, but they don't shy away from flipping through Brain Quest's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005UYWPIQ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005UYWPIQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=WUWKA3ZHG5IGOEKK">slick and durable sets of cards</a> and calling out questions for their siblings to answer. Each card is firmly connected to the rest of the deck at the top, making them ideal for car and public transit trips.</p> <h2>5. Mad Libs</h2> <p>These classic fill-in-the-blank books may seem mindless, but on a recent long drive, our five-year-old learned the difference between a verb, adjective, and noun &mdash; all with scatalogical words, of course.</p> <h2>6. Games, Games, Games</h2> <p>Our kids have tablets, but that doesn't mean they turn down the chance to go mano-a-mano against their parents and sibs in a good old fashioned board game. Board games are a blast, they encourage family together time, and they <a href="http://www.scholastic.com/parents/resources/article/creativity-play/benefits-board-games">teach important skills</a> such as turn taking and good sportsmanship. Clue is a favorite for families where everyone can read, and our latest favorite that doesn't exclude the non-reader is <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0975277324/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0975277324&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=DNJA3HZBSPRVQKJD">Ticket to Ride</a>. Then there are tile games, like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1932188126/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1932188126&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=4P32LN6MQPZR77BS">Bananagrams</a>, and dice games. Even good old fashioned <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00000IWH6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00000IWH6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=HCFWKVL4NLO2W2CN">Yahtzee</a> teaches about math and probability.</p> <h2>7. Puzzles</h2> <p>From the chunky wood ones by Melissa &amp; Doug to <a href="/www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000UEL05U/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000UEL05U&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=OR2D2GJLHZSNKREG">3D Ravensburger</a> sets, puzzles combine <a href="http://teach.com/education-technology/the-benefits-of-puzzles-in-early-childhood-development">fine motor skills</a>, spatial skills, and problem solving like no other toy. Not only that, but like other games, they teach kids that patience and emotional control pays off.</p> <h2>8. Building Toys</h2> <p>Lego and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000CBSNRY/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000CBSNRY&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=B3T3GMVHVYXJNBMB">Magna-Tiles</a>, while delightful, don't fit into everyone's idea of &quot;affordable.&quot; But plenty of other building toys do. I have been adding to my kids' collection of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00008W72D/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00008W72D&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ECDLYTOHQZBTLUUQ">Melissa &amp; Doug wooden blocks</a> year by year, and now kids of multiple ages will sit down for hours to build elaborate structures with towers and windows. That old standby, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CTJOGOG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00CTJOGOG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=WF6ADJHAEBJ632W4">Tinkertoys</a>, is still an affordable favorite as well.</p> <h2>9. Live Bug Habitats</h2> <p>A mom friend recently told me that her kids have used their <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00000ISC5/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00000ISC5&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=M2I2XFUI25FIVFLL">Insect Lore Butterfly Habitat</a> over and over, ordering new caterpillars in order to watch them form pupae and emerge as butterflies. My kids have too, and as a bonus, they love bringing them to school to share. If that gets old, there are also ant farms and praying mantis habitats.</p> <h2>10. Books</h2> <p>Did you think I would forget those? If you are buying for other people's children, consult a good bookseller to find the perfect book for the kid's age and interests. If you know the names of some books the child already enjoys, all the better to find a new book or series that will delight him or her.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite &quot;educational&quot; toys and games for kids?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-affordable-kids-gifts-that-wont-rot-their-brains">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-meaningful-mothers-day-gifts-for-every-budget">30 Meaningful Mother&#039;s Day Gifts for Every Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/80-stocking-stuffer-ideas-for-10-or-less">80 Stocking Stuffer Ideas for $10 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-perfect-holiday-gifts-for-book-lovers">21 Perfect Holiday Gifts for Book Lovers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-valentines-day-gifts-for-10-or-less">20 Valentine&#039;s Day Gifts for $10 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-buy-and-avoid-buying-in-december">What to Buy (and Avoid Buying) in December</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living brains education educational toys gifts product reviews toys Wed, 11 Feb 2015 10:00:11 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1288486 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Genius Storage Solutions for Your Kid's Room http://www.wisebread.com/11-genius-storage-solutions-for-your-kids-room <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-genius-storage-solutions-for-your-kids-room" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000043528048_XXXLarge.jpg" alt="little girl room" title="little girl room" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you feel like your house is overrun with toys, kids' clothes, and children's books, you're not alone. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-genius-storage-solutions-for-your-home-office?ref=seealso">10 Genius Storage Solutions for Your Home Office</a>)</p> <p>I've contemplated whether we need a bigger house to accommodate all of my kids' stuff. Fortunately, there are easier (and less expensive) ways to organize your kids' clutter. These creative storage solutions will ensure your kid's room has space for everything and is well organized. At least until they tear it up again.</p> <h2>1. Spice Shelf Book Storage</h2> <p>Spice shelves aren't just for the kitchen anymore. Use <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00PNKZ0GQ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00PNKZ0GQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=TCLYIFFSSJWBK4Y3">Ikea's Bekvam spice shelf</a> to create neat, easy-to-reach bookshelves for your little ones. Leave them as-is or paint them for a customized look. Check out inspiration for <a href="http://www.pinterest.com/pin/527343437588031374/">spice rack shelves</a>&nbsp;on Pinterest.</p> <h2>2. Mobile Book Storage</h2> <p>If your kids like to carry their books all over the house, consider a <a href="http://www.landofnod.com/local-branch-library-cart-white/f7888">library cart</a> or wagon for book storage. Not only will a cart serve as a home for your kids' books, but it will also speed up clean-up time.&nbsp;</p> <h2>3. Loft Bed</h2> <p>Create more floor space in a small room with a loft bed. Younger kids can use the area underneath the bed for playing or reading. Teens and tweens can add a desk and bookshelf and use it for studying. If you want to add extra storage, use Ikea's Trofast toy organizers as steps to get into the bed. Adding a loft bed to my son's room is at the top of my to-do list. <a href="http://www.ikeahackers.net/2010/07/childs-loft-bed.html">Ikea Hackers</a> and <a href="http://www.pbteen.com/products/girls-sleep-and-study-loft/">PB Teen</a> have two good ideas.</p> <h2>4. Hooks and Pegs</h2> <p>Capturing vertical space is key to maximizing storage in kids' rooms. Hang hooks and pegs in strategic places around the room to organize everything from coats and backpacks to <a href="http://www.pinterest.com/pin/5629568257119705/">dress-up clothes</a>. And remember to hang them at kid-level. I hung a hook near the door for my three-year-old son's coat and he loves being and to hang it up and take it down himself.&nbsp;</p> <h2>5. Behind-the-Door Shelves</h2> <p>Use the space on the inside of your son or daughter's closet door for storing toys, clothes, headbands, and other often-accessed items. Hang wire shelves, spice racks, or even a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000HM5V0A/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000HM5V0A&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=5LPMTEBENLJU4HHL">shoe storage organizer</a>, depending on your needs.</p> <h2>6. Under-Bed Storage</h2> <p>If you decide not to get a loft bed, a great place to find bonus square footage for storage is under your kid's bed. Invest in a few <a href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/137500594845767088/">under-the-bed storage drawers</a> for extra toy or clothes storage space. They roll out easily and are the perfect place to store items you need to access often.</p> <h2>7. Floating Shelves</h2> <p>If you want the functionality of a bookshelf without the clunkiness, consider using <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005EV8S22/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005EV8S22&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=PCELTOV6NXX2B3WU">floating shelves</a>. I hang them high for fragile items and low for toys and books my kids play with often.</p> <p>Check out this&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pinterest.com/pin/274156696041120021/">great floating shelves idea </a>for kids books.</p> <h2>8. Multi-Purpose Bookcase</h2> <p>One of my favorite storage solutions &mdash; for my stuff and my kids' stuff &mdash; is <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;fst=as%3Aoff&amp;keywords=ikea%20expedit&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;qid=1430935191&amp;rh=n%3A10824421%2Ck%3Aikea%20expedit%2Cp_89%3AIKEA%7CIkea%20Expedit&amp;rnid=2941120011&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=GLWVHWTGIXO2JZHG">Ikea's Expedit shelving system</a>. It's great because it's so flexible. You can add durable bins made of wicker, plastic, or cloth or you can leave the shelves bare. It holds a ton of toys and books, but looks organized. Apartment Therapy has a great set of photos showing all the <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/a-photographic-ode-to-ikeas-expedit-in-kids-rooms-200503">ways the Expedit can be used</a> in a kid's room.</p> <h2>9. Closet Space</h2> <p>Most closets have one or two bars for hanging clothes, but that's not very practical for kids' rooms since kids don't have many clothes to hang. Get creative and take advantage of <a href="http://www.pinterest.com/pin/320529698451032293/">closet space for storage</a>, kid-style. Use bins, shelves, baskets, and hooks for storing everything from shoes and coats to toys and books. In my son's closet, I added shelves for shoes and blankets and hanging shoe storage for games and books.</p> <h2>10. Wire Baskets</h2> <p>For a fun look that uses vertical space in your son or daughter's room, <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/srens-sunny-with-a-chance-of-smiles-room-my-room-169396?img_idx=3">hang inexpensive wire baskets</a> on the wall to store books and toys. It's a quick project and looks more interesting than a simple shelf.</p> <h2>11. Bench Reading Nook</h2> <p>Use an under-the-window or corner space to create a comfortable reading nook that your kid will use for years. Start with a storage bench that opens up or has shelves underneath and add shelves on the wall around it. I haven't gotten to this yet, but I would love to build one of these in my daughter's room. Check out this <a href="http://cptnrin.smugmug.com/photos/i-4dh9tXf/0/O/i-4dh9tXf.jpg">amazing reading nook</a>.</p> <p><em>How do you keep your kids' rooms organized? Let us know!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-genius-storage-solutions-for-your-kids-room">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-genius-ways-to-store-toys">10 Genius Ways to Store Toys</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-downsize-and-declutter">How to Downsize and Declutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-genius-storage-ideas-for-your-bathroom">20 Genius Storage Ideas for Your Bathroom</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-genius-kitchen-storage-solutions">15 Genius Kitchen Storage Solutions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too">This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Organization closets kids storage toys Wed, 04 Feb 2015 12:00:08 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 1284845 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Homemade Child Products That Are Cheaper and Better Than Store Bought http://www.wisebread.com/10-homemade-child-products-that-are-cheaper-and-better-than-store-bought <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-homemade-child-products-that-are-cheaper-and-better-than-store-bought" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother-feeding-baby-466386317-small.jpg" alt="mother feeding baby" title="mother feeding baby" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether it's to save money, avoid harsh chemicals, or simply for the joy of creating, there are tons of good reasons to make your own baby and child products. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-homemade-pet-products-that-are-cheaper-and-better-than-store-bought?ref=seealso">7 Homemade Pet Products That Are Better and Cheaper Than Store Bought</a>)</p> <p>If you're feeling that DIY itch coming on, try these homemade child and baby products that are both cheaper, and better quality, than what you'll find at the store.</p> <h2>1. Baby Food</h2> <p>Pouches and jars of store-bought baby food are convenient, but homemade baby food tastes better and is more nutritious, not to mention cheaper (most pouches run over $1 each, which can add up with a hungry baby!). With my first baby I kept a variety of pre-packaged baby food for emergencies, but for meals at home I definitely made my own purees. Here's a great place to look for <a href="http://weelicious.com/homemade-baby-food-recipes/">baby food recipes</a>. Any fruit or veggie, cooked until soft, can be pureed, and the combinations are endless!</p> <p>Freeze extra purees in ice-cube trays for convenience. Then at mealtimes, heat up a few cubes. You can also buy <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AM5NTIS/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00AM5NTIS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=46CNNOKK67VRDHQ2">reusable baby food pouches</a> (easily cleaned in the dishwasher) for bringing homemade purees out when you're on the go &mdash; just remember to pack them with an ice-pack.</p> <h2>2. Diaper Rash Cream</h2> <p>With all the unpronounceable ingredients found in baby products these days, it's nice to know exactly what's going onto your baby's bottom. This recipe for <a href="http://wellnessmama.com/17140/natural-diaper-cream-recipe/">natural diaper cream</a> works as well or better than store bought. Although you'll have to buy all the ingredients, you'll spend less than buying the expensive organic brand diaper creams in the long run.</p> <h2>3. Baby Laundry Detergent</h2> <p>Little ones have sensitive skin that can sometimes be irritated by the chemicals in commercial detergents. It is easy and cheap to make your own with minimal and natural ingredients. Check out this tutorial on how to make your own natural <a href="http://dailymom.com/make/easy-diy-baby-laundry-detergent/">baby laundry detergent</a>.</p> <h2>4. Baby Wipes</h2> <p>If your child has sensitive skin, the alcohol in store-bought wipes might irritate his or her skin. You can make your own <a href="http://thenewlighterlife.com/homemade-baby-wipes/">homemade baby wipes</a> that don't have any irritating ingredients and that are almost as convenient as store-bought wipes.</p> <h2>5. Toys</h2> <p>If you've ever hung out with a baby or toddler, you'll have quickly realized that they can be surrounded by the most expensive, fancy, developmentally-appropriate toys, but all they want to do is play with a cardboard box. In fact, one of the most fun things to do with your child is to make things together. My daughter and I have spent hours creating furniture for her dollhouse (which was also a DIY my husband nailed together from wood boards). Cardboard beds, &quot;paintings&quot; for the walls, blankets and towels, a bathtub made from a plastic food box &mdash; all of these have inspired hours of creative play.</p> <p>Other examples of DIY toys we've tried include:</p> <ul> <li>Plastic cups and a wooden spoon for play cooking</li> <li>A hand-drawn &quot;map&quot; to drive toy cars on</li> <li>A paper gift bag and some play &quot;money&quot; made of paper for pretend shopping</li> <li>Paper crowns for dress-up</li> <li>Homemade <a href="http://fun.familyeducation.com/sculpting/recipes/37040.html">play-dough</a></li> </ul> <p>The vast majority of the &quot;interactive&quot; toys &mdash; the ones that make noises and have blinking lights &mdash; sit forgotten in the toy box. It's the toys with scope for imagination that get the most use.</p> <h2>6. Kids' Paints</h2> <p>Kids love to do crafts, and you can make your own washable <a href="http://www.allparenting.com/my-family/articles/967401/homemade-water-color-paints">watercolor paints</a>, diy <a href="http://easiepeasie.blogspot.com/2010/07/homemade-finger-paints.html">non-toxic finger paints</a>, <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Homemade-Face-Paints-31540547">face paint</a>, or washable <a href="http://www.frugalfanatic.com/diy-crafts-washable-sidewalk-paint/">sidewalk paint</a>. Paint isn't expensive to buy, but by making your own you can ensure you know exactly what is going into each paint, in case little painted fingers find their way into curious mouths. Also, since these paints are made with common household materials, you have an unlimited supply.</p> <h2>7. Accessories</h2> <p>It seems crazy to spend a lot of money on kids' accessories when they're just going to get lost under the sofa cushions, so good thing it's super easy to make your own hair clips and accessories with some basic supplies and a glue gun. Check out these tutorials for <a href="http://www.usefuldiy.com/diy-easy-double-bow/">ribbon hairclips</a>, <a href="http://loniemae.blogspot.com/2012/04/diy-baby-headbands.html">baby headbands</a>, and for the little man in your life, <a href="http://thepleatedpoppy.com/2011/04/bow-tie-tutorial/">baby bowties</a>. In my opinion, these diy accessories are cuter than store-bought ones anyway.</p> <h2>8. Baby Linens</h2> <p>If you know how to use a sewing machine, the following baby linens can be made by sewing more-or-less straight lines. You'll have the satisfaction of having your child sleep in bespoke linens right from birth.</p> <ul> <li>Baby <a href="http://www.thinkingcloset.com/2013/03/27/burp-cloth-tutorial-for-the-beginner-sewist/">burp cloths</a></li> <li>Fleece-lined <a href="http://www.cheeriosandlattes.com/easy-baby-blankets/">baby blanket</a></li> <li>Baby <a href="http://aliceandlois.com/diy-baby-bibs/">bibs</a></li> </ul> <h2>9. Bubble Solution</h2> <p>Kids love bubbles and go through bubble solution fast! Instead of buying the bottles from the store, try making your own <a href="http://www.dosmallthingswithlove.com/2014/01/homemade-bubble-solution.html">homemade bubble solution</a>, which allows you to make as much as you need with easily accessible ingredients.</p> <h2>10. Nursery Decorations</h2> <p>Decorate your child's room with some DIY art &mdash; better yet, involve your child in the creation of the room's decor. Try this cute <a href="http://modernmommyhood.com/2011/12/button-letter-nursery-artwork-tutorial.html">button monogram art</a>, a <a href="http://www.pnmag.com/baby-buzz/project-nest-nursery-diys/">yarn mobile</a>, <a href="http://aedriel.blogspot.com/2009/05/sweet-girl-deserves-sweet-wall-decor.html">embroidery hoop art</a>, or a cute <a href="http://abeautifulmess.typepad.com/my_weblog/2011/10/10-ways-to-make-a-garland.html">DIY garland</a> for your child's room. Decor for kids' rooms can get expensive if you buy it in the store, and your homemade creations will be much more special.</p> <p><em>Do you create for your child? What kids' products have you made that are better than store-bought?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-homemade-child-products-that-are-cheaper-and-better-than-store-bought">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-awesomely-fun-toys-you-can-diy">15 Awesomely Fun Toys You Can DIY</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-more-cheap-and-easy-diy-toys-kids-will-love">15 More Cheap and Easy DIY Toys Kids Will Love</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use New Toys to Teach Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-free-or-cheap-toys-that-will-make-your-kid-smarter">14 Free or Cheap Toys That Will Make Your Kid Smarter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cute-ways-to-upcycle-shoeboxes">12 Cute Ways to Upcycle Shoeboxes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Shopping babies crafts kid stuff kids toddlers toys Thu, 02 Oct 2014 17:00:06 +0000 Camilla Cheung 1225627 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Cheap Ways to Play Video Games http://www.wisebread.com/8-cheap-ways-to-play-video-games <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-cheap-ways-to-play-video-games" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/video-game-78772043.jpg" alt="men playing video game" title="men playing video game" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You don&#39;t have to drop $400 on a console and then $60 per game to enjoy a video game. There are tons of ways to get your video-game fix without breaking the bank &mdash; and without having to break the law with sketchy downloads and cracks. From playing vintage games for nearly nothing to going the freemium route, it&#39;s easier than ever to play video games without shelling out the big bucks. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-save-money-on-entertainment">Ways to Save Money on Entertainment</a>)</p> <p>Here are eight cheap ways you can play video games.</p> <h2>1. Steam</h2> <p>Never heard of <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/">Steam</a>? From the Makers of &quot;Half Life&quot; and &quot;Portal,&quot; Steam is basically an online video game store. You download the Steam client, and then you have access to all kinds of Indie and mainstream games. Not all the games are cheap, but Steam has sales going on all the time, so if you&#39;re paying attention you can grab some great games at rock-bottom prices.</p> <p>A few weeks ago, I nabbed &quot;Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines&quot; and &quot;Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty&quot; for $3. Score!</p> <h2>2. GOG.com</h2> <p>Love classic games like King&#39;s Quest and Fallout? Then <a href="http://www.gog.com/">GOG</a> is the place for you. The games you used to play, obsess about, and pay $60 for are back at dirt-cheap prices. And they&#39;re all available to download anytime you want them.</p> <p>Want to relive &quot;Baldur&#39;s Gate&quot;? GOG has it for 9.99. What about &quot;Sid Meier&#39;s Alpha Centauri&quot;? Yours for just $2.39. But they don&#39;t just have old games &mdash; you can also try newer hits like &quot;Hotline Miami&quot; ($9.99).</p> <h2>3. Gamefly.com</h2> <p>The Netflix of the video-game world, <a href="http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-2822544-10195038" target="_blank">Gamefly</a> is a subscription service that send you the games you want in the mail. Gamefly charges $16 for one game out at a time and $23 for two out at a time. Your monthly payment not only gets you one or two games out at a time, they also offer unlimited download playing time for certain PC games. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-netflix-and-hulu-to-play-on-your-tv">How to Play Netflix and Hulu on Your TV</a>)</p> <h2>4. Goozex</h2> <p>Where Gamefly is like Netflix, <a href="http://www.goozex.com/trading/asp/welcome.asp">Goozex</a> is more like a book exchange &mdash; Goozex lets you get new (to you) games in exchange for sending out games you no longer want to play.</p> <p>Sure, you may have to wait a while to get what you want, but at least you&#39;ll have access to some of the latest games out there.</p> <h2>5. FatWallet</h2> <p>True to its name, <a href="http://www.fatwallet.com/?referral=kaaff">FatWallet</a> is a site where deal seekers gather and post the best deals on everything you can possibly imagine. If there&#39;s a really good deal out there, these guys (and gals) will find it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/all-the-savings-under-the-sun-12-essential-daily-deal-sites">12 Essential Daily Deal Sites</a>)</p> <p>For gamers, that means you might find a coupon for a discount, certain games on sale, or even a game being offered for free for a limited time.</p> <p>Either way, staying tuned to FatWallet will ensure no good deal passes you by.</p> <h2>6. The Cheapskate</h2> <p>CNet is one of the best tech sites around, and Rick Broida writes the fantastic <a href="http://news.cnet.com/cheapskate/">Cheapskate blog</a>, where he posts a fantastic deal every day of the week (sometimes two&hellip; and he usually posts a bonus deal as well).</p> <p>I&#39;ve scored all kinds of crazy deals through Rick&#39;s blog, including getting the classic &quot;Bioshock&quot; for free.</p> <h2>7. Free/Freemium Games</h2> <p>The latest trend in mobile gaming (we&#39;re talking apps here, where your phone is your console) is something called freemium. That means you get the game for free but if you want to unlock additional features or don&#39;t want to wait to keep playing, you have to pay. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-smartphones">Top 5 Smartphones</a>)</p> <p>Forget about how they make money off this model&hellip; all I care about is that you can play some great games for free. Games like &quot;Fifa 14,&quot; &quot;Real Racing 3,&quot; &quot;Temple Run,&quot; &quot;Bejeweled,&quot; and &quot;Candy Crush Saga.&quot;</p> <h2>8. Go Old School</h2> <p>Technology is great and everything, but there&#39;s something to be said about hooking up the system you grew up playing games on and reliving the olden days.</p> <p>You can pick up an old Nintendo NES on eBay for $40-$60 with a bunch of games. Heck, you might even get one for even cheaper at a yard sale or something.</p> <p>Either way, you can&#39;t beat this option when it comes to cost and the nostalgia factor.</p> <p>Video games don&#39;t have to cost a lot, you just have to know where to look.</p> <p><em>Let me know in the comments where else readers can find a great deal for their gaming fix.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carlos-portocarrero">Carlos Portocarrero</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-cheap-ways-to-play-video-games">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-convince-a-store-clerk-to-give-you-a-deal">6 Ways to Convince a Store Clerk to Give You a Deal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-things-you-should-buy-at-costco">15 Things You Should Buy at Costco</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-never-buy-at-the-dollar-store-and-10-you-should">10 Things You Should Never Buy at the Dollar Store (and 10 You Should)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-ways-to-save-money-on-clothes">101 Ways to Save Money on Clothes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-never-pay-full-price-for">25 Things to Never Pay Full Price For</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment bargains discounts toys video games Fri, 06 Dec 2013 11:36:07 +0000 Carlos Portocarrero 1098641 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Strategies for Controlling Toy Clutter http://www.wisebread.com/7-strategies-for-controlling-toy-clutter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-strategies-for-controlling-toy-clutter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/toys.jpg" alt="7 Strategies for Controlling Toy Clutter" title="7 Strategies for Controlling Toy Clutter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="155" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Any parent of young children can tell you that keeping up with the toy clutter is an ongoing &mdash; and losing &mdash; battle.</p> <p>Before I had my daughter, I swore that my home would not become overrun with primary-colored bits of plastic, but reality was a different story. While the chances are slim of your living room being the pristine, perfectly accessorized space you dream of (at least until the kids outgrow their toys), these strategies for controlling the toy clutter can help give you a little visual relief. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-rid-of-your-junk" target="_blank">How to Get Rid of Your Junk</a>)</p> <h2>1. Rotate and Limit Toys</h2> <p>I&rsquo;ve found that my daughter quickly gets bored of new toys, so I try to rotate them out to keep them fresh.</p> <p>When she receives a bunch of new toys for holidays or her birthday, I let her play with one new toy and keep the rest in the guest room closet. Fewer toys out in the family room means less daily clutter. When I notice my daughter neglecting her toys, I switch them out. My plan is to bring the old toys back when she has forgotten about them, although since my daughter is the only grandchild on both sides, I think she&rsquo;ll have enough new toys to last for years.</p> <h2>2. Baskets and Bins</h2> <p>Having a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-space-survival-strategies" target="_blank">variety of large baskets and bins</a> to corral loose toys makes cleanup faster and easier. After all, they&rsquo;ll be played with and messed up the next day, so who cares if they&rsquo;re stored in a big pile in a basket or box? My toddler enjoys putting things in boxes, so I try to make cleanup a game for her &mdash; hopefully she&rsquo;ll learn some good habits along the way!</p> <p>If you want to organize toys a little better, you can label the baskets and bins &mdash; all dolls in one bin, for example, or all cars in another. Having everything in its own bin makes it easier for your child to find the toy he or she is looking for.</p> <h2>3. Purge</h2> <p>This might be the best way to control the toy clutter &mdash; just don&rsquo;t keep so many toys! Whether you put them in storage, give them to friends, or donate them to the local thrift store, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-rid-of-all-your-crap" target="_blank">get rid of the toys your child no longer plays with</a>. Alternatively, swap them with another child&rsquo;s toys so you&rsquo;re not storing useless clutter.</p> <p>Having fewer toys might actually help your child to focus better on his or her play instead of getting distracted by another toy within reach.</p> <h2>4. Store Toys in Every Room</h2> <p>Having just one storage area in the entire house can make it difficult to put all the toys away at the end of the day. Instead, designate toy storage areas in several rooms, whether it&rsquo;s a drawer in your child&rsquo;s bedroom, a box in the pantry, or a mesh bag for the bath toys in the bathroom. That way, there&rsquo;s always a storage spot within easy reach so you can tuck away the clutter.</p> <p>However, don&rsquo;t let toys get strewn all over &mdash; designating one room for primary play and toy storage helps to prevent the chaos from reaching the rest of the house.</p> <h2>5. Store Toys at Grandma&rsquo;s</h2> <p>It&rsquo;s hard to control the continuous flow of toys into our home, as both sets of grandparents have made it their mission to shower my daughter with every piece of pink plastic known to humankind. To prevent my home from being overrun, I tactfully suggest that my daughter&rsquo;s grandparents keep some toys at their home for her to play with when she comes over. That way, my daughter gets super excited to visit her grandparents, and I can always rotate the toys from their house to mine if needed.</p> <h2>6. Clean Up Every Night</h2> <p>Don&rsquo;t wait for the clutter to pile up and drive you crazy before cleaning up. Keep the toy <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-one-month-guide-to-spring-cleaning" target="_blank">clutter manageable by cleaning up frequently</a>, such as every evening before your child goes to bed. That way, the mess won&rsquo;t be as intimidating and you can de-stress a little before heading to bed yourself.</p> <h2>7. Discover Hidden Storage</h2> <p>Storage ottomans, closed cabinets, and bins under the bed can keep toy clutter out of sight and help you feel like you&rsquo;re a little more in control of your home.</p> <p><em>How do you control toy clutter at home?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-strategies-for-controlling-toy-clutter">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-genius-ways-to-store-toys">10 Genius Ways to Store Toys</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-ways-to-keep-your-family-organized">8 Easy Ways to Keep Your Family Organized</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use New Toys to Teach Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-bad-money-habits-youre-teaching-your-kids">4 Bad Money Habits You&#039;re Teaching Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Organization children declutter toys Fri, 05 Apr 2013 10:24:32 +0000 Camilla Cheung 971638 at http://www.wisebread.com Better Than Barbie: 5 Free Toys Kids Will Love http://www.wisebread.com/better-than-barbie-5-free-toys-kids-will-love <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/better-than-barbie-5-free-toys-kids-will-love" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5534081949_973cc3698a_z_0.jpg" alt="bubble wrap" title="bubble wrap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I have three kids, and they'll often abandon an expensive toy for something else that we have in the home. Instead of trying to fight their natural curiosity, it's time to go ahead and embrace the fact that kids LOVE around-the-house items as much as they enjoy expensive gifts. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-cool-diy-christmas-gifts-for-the-under-6-crowd">5 Cool DIY Christmas Gifts for the Under 6 Crowd</a>)</p> <h2>1. A Huge Cardboard Box</h2> <p>Moms and dads are sort of strange because we buy our kids gifts so they'll have fun, and then we get upset when the kids decide to write or color all over the new toy. We'll say, &quot;Haven't I told you not to write with markers on your toys?&quot; Now the problem is solved. Give them a gift that they can write and color all over. &nbsp;Don't be a parent who stops all the fun by telling them not to write and color on something. Encourage it.</p> <p>I think that's why our kids love it when we give them a big cardboard box and let them write all over it with crayons, markers, pencils, and pens. They've made castles, forts, and sleds out of old cardboard boxes.</p> <p>Best gift ever.</p> <h2>2. A Big Bag of Bubble Wrap</h2> <p>For a kid, there's nothing sweeter than the &quot;pop&quot; sound that bubble wrap makes when you pinch it, step on it, or squeeze it.</p> <p>We old geezers think the gift is the item wrapped in the bubble wrap, but kids know better.</p> <p>A trip to a department store could yield a whole box of bubble wrap. &nbsp;If they don't have bubble wrap, they may be able to spot you a box of Styrofoam shells. It will make a huge mess, but the kids will smile all day long.</p> <h2>3. A Bag Full of Anything That Can Be Cut</h2> <p>The other day we opened up a piece of furniture, and it had thin, paper-like Styrofoam padding. We gave each of the kids a pair of scissors and let them set up home base in the kitchen. Before we knew it, our kitchen turned into a crafts room. &nbsp;</p> <p>In fact, when it was bed time, the kids protested because they wanted to keep cutting. We eventually came to a verbal contractual agreement whereby mom and dad would leave the supplies scattered across the kitchen floor and the kids could pick up their playing in the morning.</p> <h2>4. Empty Margarine Containers</h2> <p>Yes, I know. If we really loved our kids, we'd give them butter instead. The only problem with butter is you don't get the cool containers.</p> <p>When <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-book-an-amazing-cheap-vacation-package">we went to Hawaii</a> for a week in September, guess what we packed for beach toys? Yup, margarine containers (empty and washed).</p> <p>When it's time for the kids to have a bath, do you want to know what they fight over? Yes, empty margarine containers.</p> <p>They are also great for building towers.</p> <p>Go on, I dare you. Give them empty margarine containers for Christmas. I will if you will. They might like them more than grandma and grandpa's $100 gift.</p> <h2>5. Empty Christmas Wrapping Paper Rolls</h2> <p>With the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-handmade-and-green-wrapping-ideas">wrapping paper</a> roll in hand, your kids can be transported to a time long ago. A time when knights fought for valor and for the hand of the fair princess.</p> <p>Be forewarned, your kids will probably figure out how to hurt each other with the empty rolls.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/craig-ford">Craig Ford</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/better-than-barbie-5-free-toys-kids-will-love">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-amazing-board-games-you-can-diy">8 Amazing Board Games You Can DIY</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-own-coupons-20-great-free-gift-ideas">20 Great, Free Gift Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-own-moon-sand-dirt-cheap">Make Your Own Moon Sand, Dirt Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/60-halloween-costume-ideas-that-can-save-you-money-and-time">60+ Halloween Costume Ideas That Can Save You Money and Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-unique-holiday-gifts-you-can-bake">15 Delicious Gifts You Can Bake</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Entertainment free fun gifts for children holiday gifts toys Wed, 12 Dec 2012 11:24:31 +0000 Craig Ford 959634 at http://www.wisebread.com