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Spending time with your kids is always a joy, but keeping those young, curious, restlessly-imaginative minds properly entertained can be a feat. For parents with limited time and budgets, those countless toy store runs add up too. Finding things to do with kids that tap into their natural excitability and enthusiasm doesn’t always have to mean buying the newest trending toy or game. That same childlike lack of mental limits means that DIY activities at home can occupy hours at a time while staying within the entertainment budget. Check out these four cheap DIY activities for kids, most of which you can make happen pretty quickly after reading this list.
Build paper dream catchers
Dream catchers are amazing for kids. The mere concept of them — small, hanging items that keep nightmares away — is likely enough to captivate most kids in and of itself. Building paper dream catchers is tons of fun for the little ones, who will love having something to prevent nightmares. Once you’ve gathered some basic art supplies — paint brushes, construction paper, glue — you’ll be all set for hours of fun. Find the instructions here.
Build a fort
Building forts is a classic way to keep kids entertained without buying anything new. Any blankets, pillows, couh cushions, and other furniture items around the house can go a long way towards hours of fun spent building forts with the family. Encourage your kids to visit your fort and their siblings’ forts to teach them how important it is to go out of your way to see the people they care about, and have them keep adding to their fort without stealing from other forts to teach them innovation, sharing, and respect of others’ property.
Create glow-in-the-dark jellyfish
There are some jellyfish that glow in the deep, dark waters of the ocean, and you can let your kids imagine the beauty of these fish without taking them to the shore. All you need is neon yarn and paint, paper bowls, scissors, and paintbrushes. Your kids will love getting crafty to turn an ordinary paper bowl into a jellyfish head and the yarn into tentacles. Let your kids paint everything in neon colors so they can see for themselves how these fake jellyfish light up at night. Find the instructions here.
Feed the birds
If you have a backyard, even if it’s not one full of trees and grass, you likely get bird visitors pretty often. Your kids might be at an age where they’re really curious about birds and all sorts of animals, so have your kids spend some time building a bird feeder. There are virtually no limits to the sorts of bird feeders you and your kids can make. Have the kids use bread, old milk cartons, or even their favorite Lego set to build a little birdhouse full of bird feed. Find some ideas here.
Parents, what are some of your favorite affordable DIY ways to spend time with kids? Share your favorite activities in the comments!