It’s the time of year where spirits soar, there’s planning to be done, and little ones have so much energy that it’s hard to keep them preoccupied while other preparations are underway. Not only that, but budget concerns can definitely put a crimp in what activities are available. Here’s a few ideas on how to curb the cost and keep kids occupied for hours with a fun project that they can be proud of.
Build a Backyard Feeder for Wildlife
Wintertime can be a scarce time for mother nature’s children as well. A simple woodworking project can provide a bird or squirrel feeding platform to get them through the tough days while providing a fun activity for children of all ages. With proper supervision older children can use a hobby saw to cut out the necessary pieces, while children of any age can assemble and then paint the finished pieces.
Prefab birdhouses and feeders are also available at most hobby stores for parents wanting to bypass having to cut out patterns for the kids. There are precut wooden shapes available that are perfect for painting. Precut ornament shapes can also be found for fun painting and decorating projects. After completion hang them on the tree or over windows.
Another fun project is building toad houses. These creative little amphibian homes can be made out of just about anything and requires only glue and paint to complete. Use left over odds and ends like buttons or sea shells to add a special decorative touch and it’s ready for use. Save money on any of these projects by salvaging wood from old projects to create new ones.
Mining for Gems
Yes, it’s true, gem mining can be accomplished at the kitchen table with just a bucket of gem gravel, a bowl of water, and a small strainer. This is a treasure hunt that will have them sifting eagerly in search of hidden gems that can be used for jewelry projects. Gem dirt is available for purchase at many gem & mineral mines, and some will even offer to ship it straight to the customer. Choose from “rainbow” buckets that contain a variety of gemstones or keep it natural for a more authentic experience.
Have a lot of old seashells lying around in drawers or boxes? Round them up and put them to use in a seashell project. Build a wind chime or use them to decorate other items. Spruce up an old jewelry box or plain wooden box by gluing the shells to it in creative designs. Drill holes in them and use colorful ribbon to create unique holiday ornaments to hang on the tree.
Inspire Children to Help Others
During tough economic times, other families are feeling the punch as well. Why not design a hobby that helps others? Ask the kids to help create a “Make Someone’s Day” gift basket by having each child select a DVD, book, or toy that is still in good condition. Make plans to donate it to a local charity or give it to someone else who might also enjoy it. It’s the little things in life that can make the bright spot in someone’s day.